Dog Kennels & Other K-9 Facilities

Dog kennels offer a vitally important service.  While most kennels provide nothing but benefits, occassionally they can be difficult to live near.

CEDS surveys, such as the example below, of those living in the vicinity of dog kennels indicates that noise is the most significant quality of life impact.  Guiding proposed kennels and other K-9 facilities to locations distant from homes is one way to gain facility benefits without forcing area residents to suffer excessive noise.  Other options are available such as sound-reduction treatments for outdoor runs or designing a facility with only indoor runs.  CEDS can assist you in ensuring that a proposed kennel or other K-9 facility does not jeopardize the value of your home or quality of life.  For assistance contact CEDS at 410-654-3021 or

How noisy are dog kennels?

One study documented that noise levels in animal shelters regularly exceeds 100 decibels (dB).  To put this in context, a motorcycle emits noise at 95 dB and a chain saw 110 dB.  A daytime noise level of 65 dB is generally considered the maximum acceptable in residential areas with no more than 55 dB at night.

Can a dog kennel affect the value of nearby homes?

If barking is continuous and loud enough to be disturbing, then it can affect the amount a prospective home buyer is willing to pay.  While there do not appear to be any property value impact studies specific to dog kennels, there is a large body of research showing that excessive noise reduces property value.  Here are several  examples of these studies:

How far must a kennel be from homes to resolve the noise impact?

Noise declines an average of six decibels for every doubling of distance.  If the noise level is 100 dB at a distance of 50 feet from an outside dog run, then the level from an outside run with no noise abatement measures would be 81 dB at the outside of a home 400 feet away and 74 dB at 1,000 feet.

How to prevent kennel noise?

Eliminating outside runs is the most effective option for preventing kennel noise from disturbing nearby residents.  There are methods for reducing the noise from outside runs though these are dependent upon kennel owners installing and maintaining abatement measures.  There’s also research showing that options such as animal conditioning can reduce barking noise.  Again, though, the effectiveness of conditioning is dependent upon proper application over the life of the facility.

What to do if a dog facility is proposed near your home?

To answer this question consider the following questions to assess the likelihood that the proposed facility will have a significant effect on your quality of life and that of your neighbors:

  • Will dogs be allowed in outside runs or other areas where barking is likely to be an issue?
  • If dogs are not allowed outside then will the building be designed to prevent barking from being heard outside?  Consider factors such as the need to leave windows open and the ability of exterior walls to contain noise.
  • Do those living near similar, existing facilities report excessive noise?
  • If the applicant operates an existing facility then have nearby residents ever experienced excessive noise or other issues?

How to ensure a proposed dog facility will not impact your quality of life?

Following is the approach CEDS uses to ensure our clients are not harmed by proposed activities such as dog facilities.  Following is sufficient detail so you can pursue this approach on your own or we can do it for you.  Our fee for this service is a fraction of what an attorney would charge and frequently results in a successful outcome at no further expense.  To learn more contact CEDS at 410-654-3021 or

Like all land uses, dog facilities are only allowed in certain zoning districts established by your local (town, city, county) government.  And in many places conditional use, special use, or special exception permits are required.

Your first step must be to determine if a change in zoning is needed and what other permits-approvals are required.

If you’re convinced a proposed facility will excessively impact you and your neighbors then is a change in zoning required?  If yes, then visit our Zoning, Rezoning & Sprawl webpage.  Blocking the zoning change is usually the easiest way to prevent land near your home from being put to incompatible uses.

If you find that measures such as no outside runs and other noise abatement measures would resolve your concerns, then see if a conditional use, special use, or special exception permit is required.  These permits are designed to allow local officials to impose noise and other impact abatement measures as legally, enforceable requirements.  For further detail visit the CEDS Special Exception, Conditional Use & Special Use Permits webpage.

For guidance on negotiating a win-win solution with the applicant or planning-zoning officials visit the CEDS Equitable Solutions webpage.

If you feel you need an attorney our Smart Legal Strategies webpage can greatly increase the likelihood of success and minimize legal expenses.

Lastly, we literally wrote the book on How To Win Land Development Issues.  You can download this 300-page CEDS book for free from our Publications webpage.

Survey Example: Existing Kennels & Compatibility

One of the best ways to determine if a proposed dog kennel will adversely affect your quality of life is to survey those living near similar existing kennels.  Following is an example of such a survey CEDS conducted ampong those living near existing dog kennels in Northern Virginia.

CEDS compiled a listing of all the existing dog kennels in Northern Virginia.  We visited each to determine if dogs were allowed outside and how far they were to the nearest home.  Of the 13 existing kennels we concluded that only two were suitable candidates for the survey, as shown in the attached table.

We sent the following letter to people living near the two candidate kennels.

In the letter we asked folks to tell us about their experience living near a dog kennel by taking an online survey:

As shown in the table above, of the 13 kennels two are out of business.

We assumed it would only be kennels with an outside pet area that could have a negative effect on area residents.  Of the remaining 11, six have outside pet areas.  And of these six only two are close enough to homes to potentially cause a negative impact.  For an aerial view of the eleven operating kennels click on:

We received only one response from those living near the two existing kennels.  The neighbor wrote that the kennel has not adversely affected nearby residents.  Usually such a low response indicates that a use, like a kennel, is causing few problems for nearby residents.

Based on this survey CEDS recommended the following measures to reduce the likelihood of a dog kennel causing an adverse effect to area residents.

  1. New dog kennels should be guided to nonresidential areas.
  2. If a kennel is proposed in a residential area and dogs are allowed outside then:
    • It should be at least 400 feet from the nearest home; further if a noise analysis indicates that a greater separation is needed,
    • Dogs should only be allowed outside for the time required for relief, and
    • Only during daylight hours.