CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County could become one of the first counties in the state to require permits for certain dog breeders under a state law passed earlier this year.
County commissioners directed the planning commission to study such a requirement at a meeting Tuesday night.
The new state law allows counties to charge commercial dog breeders fees based on the number of dogs they own. Breeders who have 11 to 30 dogs over 1 year old and used for breeding are considered Class I breeders. Those with more than 30 are considered Class II.
Counties many now charge up to $250 for a Class I permit and up to $500 for a Class II permit.
Breeders who have fewer than 10 dogs are exempt, as are registered greyhound breeders and those who breed dogs for herding, hunting, tracking or for participation in dog shows or other performance events.
The state law also imposes other regulations for Class I and II dog breeders.
Before the law, there was little to no regulation, and it is unknown how many dog-breeding operations exist in the state, much less the county.
"We don't think it will affect a lot of people," County Fiduciary Supervisor Andrew Gunnoe said.
Gunnoe said if the county passes an ordinance to require permits, "the average breeder will not be affected" because the county won't be able to require breeders with fewer than 11 dogs to obtain permits.
Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association President Roger Wolfe and Interim Director Chelsea Staley attended the meeting and voiced support for the measure.
"It's a start," Wolfe said. "It sends a message."
Members of the planning commission will take up the measure, and Commission President Kent Carper said the county would hold public hearings once a bill is drafted.
■ Continued discussion on delinquent property taxes owed to the county, which total more than $12 million. The county is beginning to pursue legal action against the top 10 worst offenders.
County Manager Jennifer Sayre said a lawsuit has already been filed against Kentucky- based Martin Twist Energy. That company owes more than $3 million for debts incurred from 2008 to 2012.
Martin Twist, the company's owner, has also been indicted on federal tax evasion charges.