Kern County Animal Services dedicates staff to enforcing illegal breeding in Bakersfield

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Effective March 1, a Kern County ordinance that makes it illegal to operate a pet store raising puppies or kittens without a license will be much more enforced.

Kern County Animal Services announced in a social media post that beginning in March, they will be assigning a staff member to enforce this order.

Nick Cullen of KCAS said when people break this rule it often goes unnoticed.

Kern Order 7.08.040 states that “No person shall own, operate, manage, or maintain a commercial pet store without first obtaining a license as directed by the Director.”

The Kern Ordinances define a commercial pet store as “any premises in which a person engages in the business, in relation to dogs or cats, of buying or selling, boarding, breeding more than one litter per year, rental for rental, or paid training to perform work except an animal shelter.

“The police only know how many times they have taken people driving under the influence, not how many times it happens,” Cullen said in an email. “Compared to other animal control officer responsibilities, such as law enforcement aids, cruelty or neglect complaints, aggressive or vicious dogs on the loose, CAPE’s appeals are in the minority of call types we handle.”

“A lot of times we’re on someone’s property for something unrelated and notice they’re selling dogs or cats and it’s sorted out at that time,” he added.

Anyone caught violating this order could face misdemeanor charges and up to $1,000 in fines.

“In enforcement practice, most cases will be dealt with by a notice requiring a person to obtain the CAFP. If a failure to obtain occurs, further actions would result in a misdemeanor citation,” Cullen said.

To obtain a permit, an application is submitted, an inspection takes place, a permit fee is paid and a permit is issued. However, requests may be refused, suspended or revoked if certain conditions are not met, including:

  • There are measures to prevent dogs or cats from leaving the property
  • The facilities are healthy, safe, hygienic and humane and will not become a nuisance for the neighborhood;
  • Applicant has not violated any federal, state, or local law or ordinance that, in the Director’s opinion, would constitute animal cruelty;
  • The applicant agrees that the director may make surprise inspections at any time
  • The app can show proof that all dogs have been vaccinated
  • The number of animals in the facilities will not endanger the health or safety of the general public, nor contribute to creating a nuisance or create inhumane conditions for animals.

There are no breed restrictions for permits and applicants can operate from home as long as all requirements are met.

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