UPDATE: July 30, 2019
Today, NH animals and advocates celebrated two victories for animal protection legislation in New Hampshire! Governor Chris Sununu signed into law two crucial policies to address animal cruelty: House Bill 459 and House Bill 605.
Championed by Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) and Representative Katherine Rogers (D-Concord), collectively these laws help address the enormous costs to care for animals who are rescued from neglect, prevent someone convicted of felony cruelty from owning or living with an animal for a minimum of five years, and ban the paraphernalia used in animal fighting. We are grateful to Governor Sununu, these legislative leaders, animal shelters, law enforcement, and countless advocates for their commitment to preventing the suffering of animals in the Granite State.
“I would like to thank the advocates at the Humane Society of the United States, Senator Jeb Bradley, and Representative Katherine Rogers for their hard work, advocacy, and leadership in getting these two bills done,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “Together, these two bills build upon the progress made last term in strengthening animal cruelty laws in New Hampshire by reducing costs associated with animal cruelty cases, preventing animal suffering, and protecting animals from cruelty.”
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!
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.
Thank you for your continued advocacy!
UPDATE: April 29
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:
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.
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.
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
You can also send an email that will reach ALL Environment and Agriculture Committee members at:
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.
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.
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!
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
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.