Updated: March 29, 2018

The Animals Still Need Your Voice! 

The most impactful animal cruelty prevention bill that NH has ever seen, SB 569-FN, passed the NH Senate with strong bipartisan support. The bill will now move to the House Environment & Agriculture Committee and the hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 4th at 10:00am in the Legislative Office Building (directly behind the State House) Room 301 (3rd floor), 33 North State St., Concord.

Senate Bill 569-FN: Relative to Animal Cruelty, sponsored by Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), will 1) strengthen regulations for commercial dog breeders ensuring they meet basic animal care standards through mandatory, unannounced inspections and licensing requirements, 2) clarify that felony animal cruelty penalties be applied to purposeful cruelty that results in the death or serious bodily injury of an animal, and 3) pass a cost of animal care law to address the enormous financial burden placed on New Hampshire taxpayers and non-profits to care for animals who are seized lawfully as part of an animal cruelty investigation.

We will need everyone’s voice to ensure its passage. Here’s how you can help:

ATTEND THE PUBLIC HEARING 

You can 1) sign in to support the bill, 2) submit written testimony to the committee or 3) testify verbally (note: if you plan to speak, you are limited to three minutes and should bring 18 printed copies of your comments 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. We will have volunteers on hand to direct you to the room and show you the process. Please plan to arrive by 9:30am or earlier if you intend to stay for the entire hearing. The room for the hearing will be larger than the Senate hearing but seating will still be first come-first serve. Dress is professional, however, we recommend wearing comfortable shoes. Note: the Senate hearing lasted ~5 hours. You do not need to stay for the duration and, in fact, can stop by during your lunch hour to sign in to support the bill. If you are planning on speaking, please note that you may be waiting a few hours to do so.

For information on parking in Concord, go to http://www.concordnh.gov/?nid=844. You can enter the Legislative Office Building from the front doors and then take the elevator to the 3rd floor.

REVIEW the fact sheets which include examples of cruelty from New Hampshire and how this bill seeks to prevent future cases of neglect.

You can find them at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0330rwswt97j0m4/AADA3vEqz1TbFZFkFar8CN72a?dl=0.

CONTACT THE HOUSE ENVIRONMENT & AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE and urge their support of SB 569-FN.This committee is comprised of 18 Representatives and they all need to hear from you. Please make a polite phone call to each member of the committee (yes, all of them) and urge their support. Representatives receive thousands of emails and yours may not be read prior to the vote. Calls are the most effective way to ensure your voice is heard. 

Chairman O’Connor – (603)434-8393
Vice Chairman Darrow – (603)523-4678
Rep. Bixby – (603)749-5659
Rep. Gordon – (603)642-7252
Rep. Comtois – (603)776-8989
Rep. Verville – (603)247-9005
Rep. Ellis – (603)332-5266
Rep. Richards – (603)219-0038
Rep. Copp – (603)425-8646
Rep. Francese – (603)778-1726
Rep. Frost – (978)255-3924
Rep. Sofikitis – (603)465-8163
Rep. Scruton – (603)941-4956
Rep. Pearl – (603)231-1482
Rep. Turcotte – (603)485-2349
Rep. Gourgue – (603)397-0505
Rep. Dyer – (603)417-0897
Rep. Khan – no contact information available

Then follow-up with an email:

Subject Line: Support SB 569-FN: Relative to Animal Cruelty

Greeting: Dear Chairman O’Connor and Honorable Members of the House Environment & Agriculture Committee

Body: State your reasons for requesting their support and be sure to include your name and your town.

If YOUR state Representative(s) sit on this committee, be sure to indicate that you are their consitituent. All others, indicate that you are a NH resident. You can find your state Representative(s) at https://bit.ly/1ie2DXw and the committee makeup at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H06. You could have only one Representative or up to 12.

Thank you for your advocacy!

 


UPDATED: MARCH 8, 2018

Both Senate Bill 451 to ban the trade of parts from 12 imperiled wildlife species AND SB 569-FN to protect dogs in commercial breeding kennels and pass a Cost of Animal Care law have passed the NH Senate! Senate Bill 451 passed unanimously and SB 569 passed 19-5 showing the strong bipartisan support for this animal cruelty prevention bill. Thank you for your advocacy and to Senator Bradley & Senator Watters for their leadership! This is the first major step for both bills and we’ll be calling on you to take action to ensure they make it to Governor Sununu’s desk at the end of session.

How did your Senator vote on SB 569-FN? (A ”yes” vote is the animal-friendly vote):

Senate President Morse – Yes
Senator Woodburn (cosponsor) – Yes
Senator Guida – (cosponsor) – No
Senator Bradley – (prime sponsor) – Yes
Senator Watters – (cosponsor) – Yes
Senator Hennessey – Yes
Senator Gray – (cosponsor) – Yes
Senator French – No
Senator Ward – (cosponsor) – Yes
Senator Sanborn – No
Senator Kahn – (cosponsor) – Yes
Senator Daniels – No
Senator Avard – Yes
Senator Lasky – Yes
Senator Carson – (cosponsor) – Yes
Senator Feltes – Yes
Senator Cavanaugh – Yes
Senator Reagan – (cosponsor) – Yes
Senator Soucy – Yes
Senator Birdsell – No
Senator D’Allesandro – (cosponsor) – Yes
Senator Fuller Clark – Yes
Senator Gannon – (cosponsor) – Yes
Senator Innis – Yes (cosponsor)


 

UPDATED: March 7, 2018

Urge Your NH Senator to Support Senate Bill 569-FN (Relative to Animal Cruelty) and SB 451 (Ban on Wildlife Trafficking)

Crucial votes for animals will take place this Thursday. Please take action by contacting your state Senator and urge their support of Senate Bills 569-FN and 451. Here’s how:

  1. Look up your state Senator here : http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/wml.aspx
  2. Senators receive thousands of emails so calling is the most effective thing you can do. You can simply say, “My name is X from X (town), NH and I’m calling to urge your support of Senate Bill 569-FN & SB 451. (see below for specific points)
  3. Follow-up with an email using the subject line “Support SB 569-FN & SB 451
  4. Short on time? Simply fill out our action alert! (Courtesy of HSUS
  5. Check out  these fact sheets for more information!

Senate Bill 569-FN: Relative to Animal Cruelty

  • There have been four large-scale animal cruelty cases involving unlicensed breeders here in New Hampshire over the past 18 months. In each situation, the existing definition of a commercial dog kennelis the problem with enforcement as it requires the Department of Agriculture to prove that someone has sold ten or more litters of puppies in a year. Many states, including Maine, define commercial kennels based on the number of breeding female dogs, which is a much more enforceable mandate.
  • SB 569-FN would only require licensing for dog breeders that have seven or more breeding female dogs. A “breeding female dog” is further defined in the bill as “an unspayed female dog, 12 months of age or older, kept or maintained for the purpose of breeding and selling the dog’s offspring”. None of the responsible, hobby breeders who testified on SB 569 testified that they bred seven or more female dogs and therefore, would not be impacted by the legislation or regulated in any way. The definition proposed in SB 569 for a breeding female dog ismorespecific than in most other states. (ex. Maine’s definition is “a female dog capable of breeding”)
  • The state has always licensed commercial dog kennels and SB 569-FN does not add any new regulations, but it does ensure the existing standards can be enforced by adjusting the definition of a commercial kennel. There are only four commercial kennels currently licensed in the state, out of 267 licensed animal facilities, highlighting the issues with enforcing the current definition. The rest are animal shelters, pet stores and rescues. A commercial dog kennel would need to abide by the exact same animal care standards (Agriculture Rules 1700) that are currently in place for animal shelters, rescue organizations and pet stores. All of these “pet vendors” are treated the same under current NH law, including home-based rescue organizations that are currently subjected to inspections by the Department of Agriculture and SB 569-FN does not change this mandate
  • SB 569-FN includes an appropriation for the Department of Agriculture of $200,000 to hire two additional inspectors.
  • Currently, the towns in which a cruelty case occurs, and by extension its taxpayers, are legally responsible for the costs to care for animals that are seized by law enforcement.
  • Over 30 states have similar laws, which simply creates a civil hearing process in which a Judge determines a reasonable amount for a defendant to pay on a monthly basis toward the care of the animals while the case makes its way through the court system.
  • SB 569-FN does not, in any way, change the ways in which cruelty investigations are conducted. In NH, law enforcement must secure a search warrant based on probable cause of animal cruelty in order to lawfully seize animals and remove them from an inhumane situation.
  • On average, NH spends $300,000-$500,000 per year just caring for animals seized in cruelty investigations. This is not a new issue for the state and has been studied for over a decade by the legislature, the Governor’s Commission on the Humane Treatment of Animals and many stakeholders. The Governor’s Commission has issued two separate reports analyzing the issue of cost and recommended a cost of animal care law to help offset hefty costs on taxpayers and non-profits. The NH Municipal Association is in support of SB 569-FN.
  • Cost of Animal Care laws have been challenged ~20 times and upheld each time in which the law was written as it is in SB 569-FN. The ACLU has reviewed SB 569 and is neutral. These laws are endorsed by the American Bar Association.
  • SB 569 exempts livestock from requirements of cost of animal care proceedings.

SB 451: Relative to Wildlife Trafficking

  • SB 451 prohibits the sale of parts of 12 imperiled wildlife species including elephants and rhinoceros (ivory), sharks (fins), cheetahs and lions.
  • Existing federal laws have significant loopholes and do not prevent the sale of parts within state borders. The United States is a major contributor to wildlife trafficking ($20 billion trade).
  • After committing last fall to prohibit the import of elephant and lion trophies, President Trump this week has lifted the existing bans making it imperative that states stand up to ensure they aren’t playing a role in the wildlife trafficking trade.
  • The wildlife trafficking trade is the 4th largest transnational crime and directly funds African armed militia with terrorist connections.

UPDATED: February 20, 2018

Today, the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee voted 4-0 to pass both Senate Bill 569-FN (animal cruelty prevention bill) AND Senate Bill 451 (wildlife trafficking ban)! Special thanks to Chairman Avard (R-Nashua), Senator Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), Senator Fuller-Clark (D-Portsmouth) and Senator Feltes (D-Concord) for their support.

The full Senate will now vote on both bills on Thursday, March 8th. Here’s how you can ensure their passage:

1. Look up your state Senator http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/wml.aspx

2. Call her/him and ask for their support of SB 569-FN and SB 451. Calls are more effective than emails and you can simply say, “My name is X from X(town), NH and I’m calling to urge Senator X’s support of Senate Bill 569-FN & Senate Bill 451.”

3. Follow-up with an email

Thanks for your continued advocacy!


UPDATED: FEB 16, 2018

Please contact your senators and urge support of SB 569.  Groups that are opposed to this bill have already begun contacting senators even though the bill has not been voted out of the Senate Energy Committee. We must do the same! Sen. Energy is expected to vote on Tuesday, February 20 which would mean the full Senate vote will fall on March 8.

New Hampshire lawmakers will be voting on legislation to crack down on animal cruelty and the excessive financial burden it puts on taxpayers and animal shelters.

Currently, the town in which cruelty occurs, and by extension its taxpayers, are legally required to pay for the costs to care for the seized animals while criminal cruelty charges are prosecuted. These costs can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ultimately, the financial burden is passed down to the shelters and protectors that have rescued the animals. The courts order restitution at times from the those found guilty of animal cruelty. Unfortunately, in our experience, most restitution is never paid, or paid so slowly that it would take decades to pay off. Additionally, the definitions found in the current law for ‘commercial breeder’ and ‘felony cruelty’ are too broad to ensure that commercial breeders are providing appropriate animal care and that acts of cruelty are penalized accordingly.

SB 569-FN will strengthen regulations for commercial dog breeders, pass a cost of animal cruelty law and ensure felony penalties for purposeful cruelty that results in the death of an animal. This legislation will also require mandatory, unannounced inspections by the Department of Agriculture.

TAKE ACTION  

Calling is the one of the most effective actions you can take. Please make a brief, polite phone call to your New Hampshire state senator to urge their support for SB 569-FN. Look up your legislator’s phone number. You can say, “As your constituent, I urge you to support SB 569-FN to address animal cruelty in New Hampshire and to ease the taxpayers’ burden of covering the cost of care for seized animals.”

After your call,  please email a  follow-up message. Find your state senator’s contact info here:http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/Senate/members/wml…

Sample Email:

YOUR MESSAGE

Support SB 569-FN to address animal cruelty in New Hampshire

Dear Senator,

As your concerned constituent, I urge your support of SB 569-FN.

The cost of care for animals seized in animal cruelty cases creates an enormous financial burden on taxpayers. Additionally, the definitions found in the current law do not ensure adequate state regulation and enforcement.

This legislation will strengthen regulations for commercial breeders, ensure appropriate penalties for heinous acts of cruelty and address the enormous financial burden this abuse puts on New Hampshire tax payers.

Please support SB 569-FN to prevent local towns and their taxpayers from incurring huge costs, to redefine what constitutes a commercial breeder and to expand the definition of ‘cruelty’ to include penalties for behavior that results in the death of, or serious bodily injury, to an animal.

Thank you.


UPDATED: FEB 7, 2018

The hearing room on February 6 was packed with concerned citizens! After four hours of testimony, the Committee has scheduled a continuation of the hearing for next Tuesday, February 13th at 9:15am in the State House Lobby, Room 103 giving citizens an extra week to submit their comments in support and offers an opportunity for those who couldn’t attend today to sign in to support the bill next week. 

Please contact your senator and members of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee and ask them to give their support to SB 569-FN.

Senate Bill 569-FN is a comprehensive animal cruelty prevention bill that will receive its first public hearing with the Senate Energy & Natural Resources THIS TUESDAY, February 6th at 9:15am in the State House, Room 103, 107 North Main St., Concord. The public is welcome to attend. We will need everyone’s voice to ensure its passage and this is the first important step for this legislation.

Summary of Senate Bill 569-FN

Relative to Animal Cruelty, sponsored by Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), will 1) seek to strengthen regulations for commercial dog breeders ensuring they meet basic animal care standards through mandatory, unannounced inspections and licensing requirements and clearly defines what constitutes a commercial breeder 2) clarify that felony animal cruelty penalties be applied to purposeful cruelty that results in the death or serious bodily injury of an animal, and 3) pass a cost of animal care law to address the enormous financial burden placed on New Hampshire taxpayers and non-profits to care for animals who are seized lawfully as part of an animal cruelty investigation.

Here’s how you can help:

BEFORE TUESDAY, PLEASE CONTACT THE SENATE ENERGY & NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE and urge their support of SB 569-FN.

This committee is comprised of five Senators including the bill’s sponsor, Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) and one of the bill’s many co-sponsors, Senator Dan Innis (R-New Castle). Please email the committee’s aide, Griffin Roberge at [email protected] with your comments prior to Tuesday.

Subject Line: Support SB 569-FN: Relative to Animal Cruelty

Greeting: Dear Chairman Avard and Members of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee

Body: State your reasons for requesting their support and be sure to include your name and your town.

If YOUR state Senator sits on this committee, follow-up with a phone call.

You can find your state Senator at https://goo.gl/3HEA5h and the committee makeup at https://goo.gl/3HEA5h

This is the beginning of the legislative process for this bill and we will be calling on citizens to voice their support each step of the way. Please keep your written comments handy!

IF YOU ARE ABLE TO ATTEND THE PUBLIC HEARING ON FEBRUARY 6TH:

You can: 1) sign in to support the bill; 2) submit written testimony to the committee; or 3) testify verbally (note: if you plan to speak, you are limited to three minutes and should bring six printed copies of your comments 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. HSUS will have volunteers on hand to direct you to the room and show you the process. Please plan to arrive by 9:00am or earlier if you intend to stay for the entire hearing, which may take a few hours, as there will be limited seating. Dress is professional, however, we recommend wearing comfortable shoes as it is likely to be standing room only.

NEXT STEPS FOR THIS BILL

February 6th – Senate Energy Committee public hearing

Mid-February – Full Senate Vote

March 28th – Humane Lobby Day – A Chance to meet your legislators and encourage their support

April – Date TBD – House Committee public hearing

Thank you for your advocacy!