2016 Legislative Round-up

This is a bit late.  My only excuse is summer!

DOGS’ legislative advocacy program is made possible by contributions from our members and local dog and cat clubs. We are grateful for the continuing support of the Seacoast Cat Club, the New Hampshire Mushers Association, the Granite State Shetland Sheepdog Club of South East New Hampshire, the Lakes Region Kennel Club, the Merrimack Valley Kennel Club, the Newfoundland Club of New England, the Souhegan Kennel Club, German Shepherd Dog Club of Southern New Hampshire, and the contributions of our supporters.

Many thanks to everyone who has helped out this year. If you can, please go to our website and make a contribution. We really couldn’t do this without your involvement.

Final Round-up of 2016 bills

This year out of the 10 bills DOGS followed, only one was signed into law.  Some we supported; others we opposed or requested amendments to make them acceptable.  Members of DOGS testified at public hearings, contacted legislators and shared DOGS legislative information with local clubs and friends. Our efforts made a difference in the outcome of several bills.  If you would like to get more actively involved, we can be reached at dogs.nh@gmail.com 

Signed by the Governor

HB1547 – prohibiting bestiality. DOGS opposed the bill as written due to concerns about common animal husbandry practices being included in the definition of bestiality.  DOGS’s members testified in the House against the veterinary/animal husbandry exceptions being only for commercial breeders or licensed veterinarians as well as our other issues with the bill. The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee amended the bill to address our concerns.  The final version moves the crime of bestiality to being under the Animal Cruelty statutes as suggested by the Farm Bureau and the Department of Agriculture.

Supported by DOGS

HB661 – relative to record keeping for sold or transferred animals and making certain technical corrections to the law governing the sale or transfer of animals. Killed in the Senate at the request of the sponsor.

HB1230 – relative to information on dog licenses. Killed in the House.   This bill was introduced at the request of DOGS.  It would have added emergency contact information to the dog licensing records. While the Municipal and County Government Committee appreciated the intent, it was felt that changing the Town Clerks software would be too expensive.

HB1567 – authorizing friends of animal number plates. Killed in the House. The Transportation Committee was concerned with the costs of producing a specialty license plate.

HB1615 – regulating the transfer of dogs from out of state.  The House Environment and Agriculture Committee kept this bill for Interim Study. This bill licenses and regulates out of state transporters of dogs and cats who deliver pets for transfer into New Hampshire from out of state.  The committee felt that this bill, while good, could be improved.

Opposed by DOGS

HB1499 –  relative to certificates for rabies vaccination of dogs, cats, or ferrets. Killed in the House.  This bill would have eliminated the requirement that veterinarians send copies of certificates of rabies vaccination which they generate to town and city clerks. The House Environment and Agriculture Committee felt that eliminating this central repository puts our citizens at risk. 

HB1576 – repealing the licensure of dogs. Killed in the House.  Although the minority of the Municipal and County Government Committee felt that dog licensing was a tax, the majority thought “Without licensing, strays would be almost impossible to identify, the requirement for rabies vaccinations could be largely ignored and many programs of benefit to the public would go unfunded. Testing for rabies at the State Diagnostic Lab would be curtailed as well as other animal related programs and even the office of the State Veterinarian would suffer.”

HB1571 – prohibiting the possession, purchase, or sale of equipment used for animal fighting. Killed in the House. In the House Calendar, the House Environment and Agriculture Committee stated: “The committee overwhelmingly agrees that animal fighting is inhumane. This bill attempts to use various types of paraphernalia found in the possession of a person, even without the evidence of any animal being present, as a basis for finding the person guilty of animal fighting and subject to a class B felony. Many legitimate animal handlers could be subject to this vague interpretation of law. This bill would presume that they are guilty and now are required to prove their innocence with no recourse. currently, there are sufficient laws in statute to regulate any animal fighting that may occur. There have not been any instances of animal fighting in NH for many years.”

SB415 – requiring appropriate hydration be made available to certain animals and establishing a committee to study harmful weather conditions for dogs. Killed in the House.  Although DOGS supported changing the original bill’s requirement for having water available 24 hours a day to “appropriate hydration,” the House Environment and Agriculture Committee felt that the current law which requires providing adequate sustenance, which includes hydration, was sufficient.  Also, they cited the testimony of members of DOGS that it would be impossible to set a standard about harmful weather conditions due to the variability in dog breeds and acclimatization.

SB505 – relative to the transfer of animals and birds. Killed in the Senate. This was a constituent requested bill which would have remove the requirement that Health Certificate be issued by a NH veterinarian, made a dog or cat Health Certificate valid for 30 days, removed facilities inspections prior to the issuance of a state license, removed the mandatory quarantine. The bill only required a 48 hour quarantine if the dog or cat show sign of sickness.. The Senate Executive Departments and Administration agreed with the testimony of DOGS members against this bill.

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2016 Legislative Update #12

 

DOGS’ legislative advocacy program is made possible by contributions from our members and local dog and cat clubs. We are grateful for the continuing support of the Seacoast Cat Club, the New Hampshire Mushers Association, the Granite State Shetland Sheepdog Club of South East New Hampshire, the Lakes Region Kennel Club, the Merrimack Valley Kennel Club, the Newfoundland Club of New England, the Souhegan Kennel Club, and the contributions of our supporters.

Many thanks to all our supporters.  We really couldn’t do this without your help.


Our last two bills!

SB415  – (New Title) requiring appropriate hydration be made available to certain animals and establishing a committee to study harmful weather conditions for dogs.

The House Environment and Agriculture Committee voted SB415 “Inexpedient to Legislate” unanimously and it will be on the Consent Calendar on April 20.  From the House Calendar:

 “Rep. Peter Bixby for Environment and Agriculture. This bill would have added a requirement for hydration for domestic animals to statute, and would have created a committee to study harmful weather conditions for dogs. Current law requires that sustenance be provided, which includes hydration, making this change in law redundant. The Governor’s Commission on the Humane Treatment of Animals has studied and continues to study all aspects of animal welfare and provides a manual of standards and training for local police. A study committee is unnecessary. We also heard testimony that the variability in dog breeds and acclimatization makes it impossible to a develop a blanket statement concerning weather that is harmful to dogs.”

HB1547prohibiting bestiality  –The Senate Judiciary Committee has recommend Ought To Pass with Amendment.  The amendment moves the language of the bill into the animal cruelty statutes as suggested by the Farm Bureau and the Department of Agriculture and requires anyone convicted of bestiality to register as a sex offender.  It preserves the exceptions for

  • (a) Accepted veterinary medical practices.
  • (b) Insemination of animals for the purpose of procreation.
  • (c) Accepted animal husbandry practices that provide necessary care for animals.
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2016 Legislative Update #11

**** Upcoming Hearing ****

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The House Environment and Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on SB415  – (New Title) requiring appropriate hydration be made available to certain animals and establishing a committee to study harmful weather conditions for dogs.

When: 1 p.m.  Where:  Room 303, the Legislative Office Building.


SB415  – (New Title) requiring appropriate hydration be made available to certain animals and establishing a committee to study harmful weather conditions for dogs.

SB415 adds “appropriate hydration” to the definition of animal cruelty in RSA 644:8, III(a).

Additionally, the original commission has now been changed to a legislative study committee which will “review the publication entitled, “Animal Cruelty Investigation and Prosecution:  A User Manual for New Hampshire Law Enforcement” from the governor’s commission on the humane treatment of animals in order to identify if research dictates temperatures above or below which dogs should be brought inside or any other weather conditions which could be harmful to dogs.  The committee may solicit the advice or testimony of any organization with information or expertise relevant to its study.”

 DOGS POSITION: While DOGS supports the addition of appropriate hydration, we do not support a legislative study committee to determine what weather conditions should mandate that dogs have to be brought inside.

A dog’s ability to deal temperature extremes is based on many factors including age, health, physical conditions, metabolism as well as acclimation. Dogs who live outside full time adapt to temperature ranges much the same as humans do.  Adequate shelter, ventilation and shade (already covered by New Hampshire law) are much more important to a dog’s ability to withstand weather conditions than a citing a specific temperature. 

Please email the House Environment and Agriculture Committee asking that the study committee be removed from the bill.

Update on Recent Bills

At the Senate Judiciary Committee a hearing on HB1547prohibiting bestiality, both the Farm Bureau and the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food asked for bestiality to be moved into the Animal Cruelty statutes and for the exceptions to be changed to mirror Maine’s law. The committee is considering the bill and the testimony.

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2016 Legislative Update #10

Legislative season is winding down.  There are only two bills left that we are following. Please check in with web site and Facebook page  to get the latest updates.

The Senate has a page about testifying before their committees.  They also encourage people to email their testimony to the committee staff.  You can attach a copy of your testimony and the staff will make sure it gets to senators on the committee. Please remember to copy DOGS (dogs.nh@gmail.com ) on your emails so we are aware of them.

**** Upcoming Hearing ****

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on HB1547prohibiting bestiality

  • When: 9:40 a.m. Where:  Room 100, the State House.
  • Letters should be sent to the committee aide, Susan Duncan

DOGS POSITION: Watch

HB1547 was amended by the House to address our concerns.  DOGS members will attend the Senate hearing to make sure that the exemptions for animal owners will stay in the bill.

Update on Recent Bills

SB415relative to the standard of care for dogs outside.

The Senate has passed SB415 and it will go The Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee listened to DOGS concerns and amended the bill so that RSA 644:8, III(a) will now say Without lawful authority negligently deprives or causes to be deprived any animal in his or her possession or custody necessary care, sustenance, or shelter, including appropriate hydration” Additionally, the commission has now been changed to a legislative study committee which will “review the publication entitled, “Animal Cruelty Investigation and Prosecution:  A User Manual for New Hampshire Law Enforcement” from the governor’s commission on the humane treatment of animals in order to identify if research dictates temperatures above or below which dogs should be brought inside or any other weather conditions which could be harmful to dogs.  The committee may solicit the advice or testimony of any organization with information or expertise relevant to its study.”

Please thank the Committee for listening to our concerns.

HB661relative to record keeping for sold or transferred animals and making certain technical corrections to the law governing the sale or transfer of animals was voted Inexpedient to Legislate at the request of the sponsor.

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2016 Legislative Update #9

**** Upcoming Hearing ****

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee will hold a hearing on HB 661relative to record keeping for sold or transferred animals and making certain technical corrections to the law governing the sale or transfer of animals.

  • When: 9:30 a.m. Where:  Room 101, the Legislative Office Building.
  • Letters should be sent to the committee staff, Deb Chroniak.

 

HB 661 relative to record keeping for sold or transferred animals and making certain technical corrections to the law governing the sale or transfer of animals.

DOGS POSITION: Support

HB 661 was retained by the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee last year.  Over the summer, a sub-committee worked on the bill with the input of all the interested parties including the shelters.  From the House Calendar:

Over the summer, a subcommittee worked on the bill and got agreement by all interested parties that NH would use a standard grid sheet for reporting as is used in many other states. The amendment adds this to the law and also places the responsibility for the custody and storage of reports submitted to the state with the Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food as part of the license renewal process.

 The reporting requirement will be similar to the requirements in other states.  You can see Maine’s results here.  In 2015, stray dogs made up 31% of the Maine shelter population, owner surrendered dogs were 26% and dogs transferred into the shelters from elsewhere were 43%.

Action required: If you can’t attend the hearing, please email a letter of support for HB661 to the Senate Executive Department and Administration staff  Deb Chroniak asking her to share it with the senators.

Update on Recent Bills

SB415 relative to the standard of care for dogs outside.

DOGS would like to thank the members of the mushing community who came to the hearing to support our position.  Their testimony was eloquent and informative and it was obvious how much they value their dogs.  The hearing was a long one.  This bill was introduced at the request of constituents who were unable to get satisfaction on their complaint about a dog who was kept outside.  Those who testified against the bill included the Commissioner of Agriculture, members of the NH Mushers Association and members of DOGS.  The senators seemed active and engaged, asking questions about hydration versus requiring access to water.  We explained the possible medical reasons for withholding water and the problems with attempting to set standards based solely on breeds.

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