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It depends on how "kennel" is defined in the zoning by-laws. Typically on Cape Cod it means commercial kennels, where boarding for dogs owned by others is offered for payment, as opposed to for use by homeowner with only one or two dogs.

Ask Town Planner, Daniel Fortier.

Best wishes.

No attorney-client relatonship is created in responding to this question, and advice provided is based solely on very limited facts presented, and therefore may not be correct. You are advised that it is always best to contact a competent and experienced with the practice of law in the county in which you reside, particularly as it relates to family law, child support, custody and visitation (a/k/a "parenting time") issues, including 209A abuse-prevention restraining orders (a/k/a "ROs" in legal-speak), regarding un-emancipated children, under the age of 22.

Julie Court Molloy

Julie Court Molloy


I realize you sent me an email, but when I attempted to respond, the email came back as undeliverable. There are some twelve (12) zoning districts in the Town of Dennis, so I would not hazard a guess as to the answer. However, the zoning by-laws for Dennis also define an "animal kennel" only as one operated for COMMERCIAL use. Your question seems to indicate the kennel in question is for residential, not commercial, use. There may be other town by-laws other than zoning which require licensing but that fact does not necessarily make such a kennel "commercial" under zoning. The zoning by-laws may be found at:


Another thing to look for if under the chart is whether the use is an "N" or an "SP". If an N, meaning no, and the operation meets the definition Atty. Molloy describes, no it can't, unless the use pre-dates the zoning and is thus grandfathered. If an SP use, it could be allowed by obtaining a special permit from either your Planning Board or Zoning Board, which would have had to find after a public hearing with notice to abutters that the use was not substantially more detrimental to the neighborhood .

To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.


Agree with Ms. Molloy and Mr. Cavanaugh and would offer a third "exception" to the "no" answer your question implies: is this a "prior non-conforming use" which antedates the zoning ordinance iteself or the changes in allowable uses in R-40 to prohibit kennels entirely or only with a "Special Permit"?

If so, the use can usually continue because of longstanding zoning and constitutional legal doctrines (e.g., prohibiting "ex post facto" laws or governmental "takings" of private property for public use without just compensation).

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Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz


Sorry, Mr. CALLAHAN! (wish we could edit Avvo answers!).

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