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UPDATE: June 14

This week there was yet another large-scale rescue of dogs from an unlicensed breeder in NH!  This case involves over 100 dogs and puppies.  Our friends at Pope Memorial SPCA of Concord-Merrimack County and the Humane Society of Greater Nashua are currently caring for these dogs until they can be placed into loving homes.  Similar cases in recent years have resulted in over $3 million in animal care costs to nonprofit animal organizations and New Hampshire towns and the suffering of hundreds of dogs. This case is a stark reminder of why New Hampshire’s weak laws regulating breeders need to be updated for the health and safety of animals and the public. Our animals, towns, and taxpayers can’t afford New Hampshire’s current breeder laws.

Members of the NH House and Senate Finance Committees are considering a budget amendment that requires all pet vending entities that transfer over 25 animals per year be held to the same reasonable standards of animal care – and they need to hear from you! Please send an email urging them to keep an enforceable “pet vendor” definition in the budget. Please take action by Monday, June 17th. Thank you for your advocacy!

Email: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

Subject Line: NH Citizen Supports Enforceable Pet Vendor Definition in HB2

Body: Keep it simple and, if you have been impacted by a recent animal cruelty case, share your story. Legislators need to understand why we desperately need to increase oversight of breeders.

 


 

UPDATE: May 6

On Thursday, May 9th, the NH House of Representatives will vote on Senate Bill 77, a bill that would create a preliminary hearing after animals are rescued from cruelty to urge a speedy trial, helping to ensure animals do not need to wait months or years for a cruelty case to be completed before finding loving homes.

Senate Bill 77, sponsored by Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), has broad bipartisan support and passed the NH Senate unanimously in February.Unfortunately, while it passed the House Environment & Agriculture Committee last week, it has been altered to include a provision that prevents the Department of Agriculture from inspecting all but eight dog breeders in the state – a provision we cannot support considering the most expensive cruelty cases over the past two years have involved six unlicensed dog breeders and impacted hundreds of dogs.

Please call, and then email, each of your state Representative(s) by Wednesday and urge them to vote down the committee amendment and pass the Rogers-Marsh floor amendment, which would maintain the strong policies in Senate Bill 77 while removing the exemption for commercial dog breeders.

ACTION STEPS:
The Senate Bill 77 floor amendment will have strong opposition and the animals need your voice!
1. Look up your state Representative(s). You may have one or up to 11 Representatives, and it’s important to contact each one. Calls are better and have more impact than emails. Remember, you are contacting legislators on their home or cell phones, so please only call between 9:00 am and 7:00 pm.
2. Introduce yourself and state the purpose of your call. “My name is X from X (town), NH and I’m calling to urge you to vote down the committee amendment and pass the Rogers-Marsh floor amendment to Senate Bill 77 on Thursday.”
3. Explain the issue and repeat the purpose of your call. “This bill, sponsored by Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), would help ensure animal cruelty trials are completed as quickly as possible so taxpayers and nonprofit animal organizations are not left with hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs and animals are not forced to wait a year or more to find loving homes. This bill would also ban someone convicted of purposeful animal torture from owning an animal for a minimum of five years. This bill is the result of many years of discussions and it passed unanimously in the Senate. The House Environment & Agriculture Committee voted in favor of the bill after additional amendments were made.
The committee amendment maintains New Hampshire’s current law which only requires a commercial dog breeder to be licensed and inspected by the Department of Agriculture if he/she transfers 10 litters/50 puppies a year – a threshold that is both much higher than our neighboring states and unenforceable. That is why a floor amendment will be introduced on Thursday to remove the existing definition of a commercial breeder.
Over the past two years, New Hampshire has seen six large-scale animal cruelty cases involving unlicensed breeders, costing nonprofit animal shelters and taxpayers millions of dollars to care for the animals for the months and years it has taken for the cases to be decided by the Courts. It is critical that Senate Bill 77 be signed into law to address the costs to care for animals rescued by law enforcement from cruelty and not to become a vehicle to maintain a carve-out for commercial breeders. On Thursday, please vote down the committee amendment and pass the Rogers-Marsh floor amendment to Senate Bill 77. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
 PLEASE CALL before Thursday! 
AFTER CALLING PLEASE EMAIL YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE
Email Addresses:
Subject Line: Senate Bill 77 – NH Citizen Supports the Rogers-Marsh Floor Amendment
Greeting: Dear Representative X
Body: Request that your legislator(s) vote down the committee amendment and vote for the Rogers-Marsh floor amendment. State the reasons you believe New Hampshire needs stronger laws regulating commercial dog breeders.
Closing: Be sure to list your name and town so they know you’re a NH citizen

Thank you for your continued advocacy! 


UPDATE: April 29 

Senate Bill 77 continues to move through the legislative process. On Tuesday, the House Environment & Agriculture Committee will vote on this important bill. The bill, sponsored by Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), would help ensure animal cruelty trials are completed as quickly as possible so taxpayers and nonprofit animal organizations are not left with hundreds of thousands of costs and animals are not forced to wait a year or more to find loving homes.

While the New Hampshire SPCA supports SB 77, the committee has introduced an amendment that has both positive and negative impacts on New Hampshire’s animals. We support a provision that would create a state fund to offset the costs to care for animals who have been rescued from cruelty. However, we oppose two provisions in the amendment:

 

1) the first would maintain the existing definition of a commercial dog breeder at 10 litters/50 puppies per year, a threshold that is both much higher than our surrounding states and unenforceable.

2) language that weakens an existing law by not requiring forfeiture of the animals if a post-conviction bond is not paid.

 

Over the past two and a half years, there have been six large-scale animal cruelty cases involving unlicensed breeders. We strongly believe that these cases could have been mitigated if New Hampshire’s definition of a commercial dog breeder was in line with other states. We need to create a fair regulatory process in which animal shelters, rescue organizations (including home-based rescues), pet stores, and breeders are held to the same animal care standards if they transfer 20 or more animals in a year, ensuring appropriate oversight of animal care and disease prevention.

Please let committee members know you support SB 77 but oppose maintaining the carve-out for commercial breeders before Tuesday’s vote.

 

Subject Line: NH Citizen Supports SB 77 & Opposes the Commercial Breeder Definition
Greeting: Dear Madam Chair Gourgue & Members of the Committee
Body: State your reasons for supporting SB 77 and opposing the commercial breeder definition.
Closing: Be sure to list your name and town so they know you’re a NH citizen!
Thank you for your advocacy!

UPDATE: April 4

Senate Bill 77 

Is being heard by House Environment and Agriculture Committee. 

Public Hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 17 at 10am at the State House in Concord, NH.

ACTION STEPS:

CALL, EMAIL, WRITE AND MAIL A LETTER  to the Committee Members and ask them to pass SB77 as is without any amendments prior to hearing on Wednesday, April 17.

House and Environment and Agriculture Committee Members are listed here

Committee Members and Contact Mailing List

You can also send an email that will reach ALL Environment and Agriculture Committee members at:

[email protected]

 

ATTEND PUBLIC HEARING: You can…

1) Simply sign in to support the bill

2)Submit written testimony to the committee

3)Testify verbally ( note: if you plan to speak, you are limited to three minutes and should bring 20 printed copies of your comment for the committee.)

If you are not testifying, you do not need to stay for the duration, you can simply stop by and sign in. Please plan to arrive by 9:30am or earlier if you intend to stay for the entire hearing. If you are planning on speaking, please note that you may be waiting a few hours to do so.

Download Fact Sheet

 


UPDATE: March 7
Senate Bills 77 & 161 have passed the NH Senate with full bipartisan support! This is a crucial step forward in our work to protect dogs in unlicensed breeding facilities and to address the enormous costs to care for animals rescued by law enforcement from cruelty.

Next step: both bills will move to the House of Representatives where they will receive a public hearing in the coming weeks.

Sign up for action alerts to stay informed on when and how to contact legislators to urge their support.

Vote Count:
Senate Bill 77 passed unanimously 24-0!
Senate Bill 161 passed 23-1

Please take a moment to thank your Senator for her/his support if they voted in favor of these anti-cruelty measures. Thank you for your advocacy!

Find Your State Senator


Over the past two and a half years, there have been six large scale animal cruelty cases involving unlicensed breeders and dozens of other cases in which animals were neglected in NH. New Hampshire has the weakest commercial breeder regulations in the Northeast but you can help change that.

Your Support of Senate Bills  77 & SB 161 will help prevent animal abusers from owning animals and ensure that rescue organizations, animal shelters, pet stores and commercial breeders all meet basic animal care standards.


Support Senate Bill 77: Prevents Convicted Abusers  from  Owning Animals & Considers the Welfare of Animals Held for Cruelty Cases in Court Proceedings

  • Current law requires that animals legally seized by law enforcement in an animal cruelty case be held for the duration of a trial, which can take months or years. The costs to care for the animals, which legally falls on the towns and taxpayers, can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the number of animals and the length of court proceedings.
  • SB 77 sets up a preliminary court hearing for cases in which animals are required to be held. This hearing will allow for a discussion of the immediate medical needs and long term care and safety.
  • SB 77 closes loopholes in the existing ban on ownership by allowing Courts to prohibit convicted animal abusers from owning, residing with, or working with animals. It also establishes a minimum ban on ownership for egregious cases of purposeful animal cruelty.
  • SB 77 clarifies longstanding NH law which allows the Court to order a convicted defendant to post a bond in order to retain ownership of the animals during an appeal process. SB 77 simply adds a 14-day deadline for the posting of the bond so that animals are not left in limbo.
  • Recidivism rates among animal abusers is staggeringly high – near 100% for certain types of crimes. State legislatures, in response to this proven cycle of cruelty and the link between animal cruelty and violence against people, are passing laws to prohibit future ownership of animals to protect people and animals

Support Senate Bill 161: Clarifies the Definition of a Pet Vendor to Ensure Basic Standards of Care

Under current NH law, a “pet vendor” is an animal shelter, rescue organization, pet store or commercial breeder which is required to be licensed and inspected by the Department of Agriculture. This bill creates an enforceable and equitable definition across all entities by defining a pet vendor as any entity that transfers 20 or more animals in a year. Over the past two and a half years, there have been six large scale animal cruelty cases involving  unlicensed breeders in the state. Costs to care for the animals from these cases has exceeded $3 million.

  • SB 161 simply creates an enforceable and equitable definition of a pet vendor as any entity that transfers 20 or more dogs, 20 or more cats, or 30 or more ferrets in a year. This would apply to animal shelters, rescue organizations, pet stores and breeders
  • Pet vendors are licensed by the NH Department of Agriculture, whether home based or within a facility, and whether non-profit, for profit or for hobby. Through licensure, pet vendors would be required to meet basic animal care standards and comply with a return policy to protect buyers and adopters.
  • Under current NH law there is a broad exemption for any breeder that sells fewer than 50 puppies or 10 litters. This threshold is more than twice as high as our neighboring states and therefore makes NH an attractive place for breeders who want to avoid inspection. Only seven breeders in NH are currently licensed by the Department of Agriculture. NH’s licensing requirements are not onerous, as demonstrated by the fact that over 80 rescue organizations, including many home-based rescues, are currently in compliance and licensed by the Department of Agriculture.
  • Over the past two and a half years, there have been six large-scale animal cruelty cases involving unlicensed breeders in NH. These cases involved over 200 animals. The costs of care for those that survived have exceeded $3 million and continue to grow.

Both bills will go a long way to preventing the horrific cruelty we’ve seen in the Granite State. We hope that we can count on you to raise your voice for the animals at the State House this year.  Contact your legislators and urge support of these bills.

Find my State Senator

Find my State Representative 

List of Legislators Sponsoring/Supporting these Bills

Download Fact Sheet

Download Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions: SB77 & SB161

  • What is the problem SB 77 will help solve?

    Animals are property under the law and when they are seized by law enforcement per a search warrant for animal cruelty, they are legally required to be held for the duration of the criminal proceedings if the owner does not relinquish their ownership. This brings many unique challenges as court proceedings can drag on for many months or over a year. The expense of holding animals for so long as well as the medical and behavioral challenges to the animals are two significant problems that SB 77 aims to address.

  • How does SB 77 do this?

    SB 77 creates a preliminary hearing within 14 days of the legal seizure of animals to ensure a conversation occurs in front of a Judge about the long-term care of the animals and to advocate for a speedy trial under existing NH law, which currently mandates that cases in which animals are held, receive priority.