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New Rules for Doggy Daycares

If you run a dog daycare—or take your dog to one—the rules just got easier. The Iowa Department of Agriculture approved new rules that recently took effect for dog daycares, providing regulatory relief across the state for these small businesses.

A coalition of dog daycare owners hired Wandro & Associates to change a set of rules the Department of Agriculture implemented in 2019 that were overly restrictive. Daycares had to have 75 square feet of play space for each dog, and the playgroup size was strictly limited to 15 dogs—even if more people could supervise a bigger playgroup. The old rules made it difficult for daycares, especially those in urban areas, to operate. Some were turning away customers because their space was simply too small.

Wandro & Associates attorneys Dane Schumann and Brian Lalor worked with the Department to devise new rules that lowered the play space requirement to 50 square feet per dog, and playgroups can now have between 16 and 30 dogs if at least two people are supervising. These changes make it easier to operate, and the incentive for additional supervision provides more safety. The rules also make it possible for daycares to provide “cage-free boarding,” a popular new service where dogs can sleep in groups overnight with human supervision.

You can read the new rules here. They took effect July 21, 2021.

Changing a department’s rules is often harder than changing the state’s laws in the Legislature. The process is complex and takes time. But the attorneys at Wandro & Associates are willing and able to help navigate the process with you.

This post has been reviewed and endorsed by Wandro & Associates' office dog, Moose.


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This Wandro & Associates Update is intended to inform firm clients and friends about legal developments, including recent decisions of various courts and administrative bodies. Nothing in this Practice Update should be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion, and readers should not act upon the information contained in this Update without seeking the advice of legal counsel.

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