HB 2 is known as the Budget Trailer bill.  In it, the legislature makes changes to the law to allow for changes in the budget.  This year, the Department of Agriculture submitted the following request for changes to the RSA 437.

Our only chance for public input is on Monday at 3p.m. in Representative’s Hall of the State House. Everyone affected by the budget  will be attending and testifying so it will be hard to present a case against the changes.

We need for all of you and all your friends, your club members, etc. to write and call the members of the House Finance Committee Division I  as well as the members of the full Finance Committee and tell them you oppose the rewrite of the RSA 437 as included in HB2, Sections 11 and 12.   A simple short letter or postcard will do.  Something along the lines of:

As a (dog or cat) owner I oppose the changes being made to RSA 437 – Transfer of Animals and Birds in HB 2, Section 11 and 12 (pages 5 – 10) .

If you like, you can add one of the changes mentioned below. Please remember to copy your own representatives.  You can find their names, addresses and phone numbers here –http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/wml.aspx

Because it is a total rewrite, one doesn’t have the normal cues, such bold italics, to tell one what is new.

We found four major changes: 

  1. It adds this policy to statute and removes animal health in and of itself or consumer protection as a reason for regulation.
     437:2 Declaration of Policy. This subdivision establishes standards for the regulation of animal health that are consistent with the pattern established throughout statute by the general court. Animal health regulation shall focus either on those conditions that pose a threat to public health or that would require regulatory intervention to protect the economy of the state, or both.
  2. There would be no requirement for the Department to do an initial inspection of the premises before issuing a license to pet vendors and any future inspections by the Department would be complaint driven.
  3. It adds feline leukemia virus or feline immunodeficiency virus to the  exceptions for transferring sick animals.  According to Cornell Veterinary College, feline leukemia is contagious between cats; it is the most common cause of cancer in cats; and the median survival time for cats after FeLV is diagnosed is 2.5 years.  (http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/Health_Information/brochure_felv.cfm )
  4. It removes the requirement that a copy of the health certificate be sent to the state vet’s office. So there will be no way to determine the number of cats and dogs sold in NH or if someone is selling large enough numbers to require a state license.

There are other changes such as the addition of voluntary microchips  to the health certificate, it provides no exception for hobby cat breeders, it leaves enforcement to local authorities which will produce inconsistent enforcement though out the state, and removes brokers from having to be licensed.

The health certificate section is a mess.  For example,  at one point, it refers to “dog, car, or ferret”  It says that  a copy of the health certificate shall be given to the transferee upon transfer as provided in paragraph II” but paragraph II is about animal shelters being exempt from giving health certificates.


When the Department of Agriculture submitted its budget request, this was included in FORM E NECESSARY STATUTES OR RULE CHANGES

RSA 437 should be amended to reflect that the department no longer inspects premises used “in the business of transferring…to the public, live animals or birds customarily used as household pets” rather focuses solely on animal health regulation. Every entity transferring a dog/cat/ferret would still need to: keep thorough health records; have a veterinarian develop, implement, and supervise animal health programs; provide at least one vaccine prior to transfer; adhere to certificate of veterinary inspection standards for imports; have the animal examined for a post-importation health certificate from a NH-licensed veterinarian; adhere to the existing return guarantee, enforced by administrative fines. Statute should be re-organized to be more consistent with livestock dealer licensing, RSA 427:38-47, where licensing is required of any entity “in the business of”. In this statute, the focus is on animal health regulation, while premises, buildings, and conveyances “may be” inspected. In a re-organized RSA 437, premises inspections could still be conducted by local officials should they choose to do so. Local officials should also have the autonomous authority to sanction and/or shut down premises based on poor premises inspections. Animal welfare complaints are responsibility of law enforcement by existing statute, so any concerns about animal welfare would still be covered under RSA 644:8. Animal health regulation would still be left to the department. The department does not believe once-per-year premises inspections, as currently required in RSA 437, contribute substantively to maintaining or improving animal health or welfare though they consume enormous resources that will be re-directed to other work that is currently languishing for lack of resources.


The proposed new version of RSA 437 contained on HB 2:

HB 2-FN-A-LOCAL – AS INTRODUCED

– Page 6 –

Transfer of Animals and Birds  (PDF)

437:1 Definitions. In this subdivision:

I. “Animal shelter facility” means a facility, including the building and the immediate surrounding area, which is used to house or contain animals and which is owned, operated and maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other nonprofit organization devoted to the welfare, protection and humane treatment of animals, and also a public pound for the housing of strays or a pound operated by any person, excluding veterinarians, who contracts with a municipality to serve that function.

II. “Commercial kennel” means any person, business, corporation, or other entity that transfers 10 or more litters or 50 or more puppies in any 12-month period.

III. “Commissioner” means the commissioner of the department of agriculture, markets, and food.

IV. “Pet vendor” means any person, firm, corporation, or other entity engaged in the business of transferring live animals or birds customarily used as household pets to the public, with or without a fee or donation required, and whether or not a physical facility is owned by the licensee in New Hampshire, when transfer to the final owner occurs within New Hampshire.

V. “Transfer” means transfer of ownership of live animals or birds from any person, firm, corporation, or other entity to a member of the public.

437:2 Declaration of Policy. This subdivision establishes standards for the regulation of animal health that are consistent with the pattern established throughout statute by the general court. Animal health regulation shall focus either on those conditions that pose a threat to public health or that would require regulatory intervention to protect the economy of the state, or both.

437:3 Requirements. No pet vendor shall transfer animals or birds without a license. A pet vendor shall apply to the commissioner for a license, giving such information as the commissioner shall require. The application shall include proof that the zoning enforcement official of the municipality wherein any facility is to be maintained has certified that the facility conforms to the municipal zoning regulations. The application shall be accompanied by a non-refundable $200 fee. All licenses shall expire on June 30 of each year and be subject to renewal upon submission of a new application. No licenses shall be transferable. A pet vendor licensed under this subdivision shall:

I. Maintain in a clean and sanitary condition all premises, buildings, and other enclosures used in the business of dealing in live animals or birds customarily used as household pets.

II. Submit premises, buildings and other enclosures to unannounced inspection by department employees or local animal control, law enforcement, or health officials at reasonable times.

III. Maintain, subject to inspection by the commissioner, his or her agent, local officials, law enforcement, or any member of the public, a proper record in which all live animals or birds customarily used as household pets obtained or transferred shall be listed, giving the breed, date the animal was obtained and transferred, and from whom the animal or bird was obtained and to whom the animal was transferred. Such record shall also show the microchip, leg band, or tattoo number of each animal or bird, where applicable. Animals or birds that do not bear such identification shall be identified by recording markings, a physical description and any other information as the commissioner deems necessary to identify such animals or birds.

IV. Keep records of all animals or birds intended for transfer indicating identification, point of origin, and recipient, and shall submit said records to the commissioner upon request.

V. Abide by such other rules as the commissioner may adopt to control disease.

437:4 Refusal to Issue; Revocation of License. The commissioner, after notice to the licensee and opportunity for hearing, as set forth in the rules adopted under RSA 437:10, may deny anapplication or revoke a license for any of the following reasons:

I. The applicant or licensee violated the statutes of the state of New Hampshire or of the United States or any rule adopted by the commissioner pursuant to this chapter;

II. The applicant made false or misleading statements in his or her application for a license; III. The licensee knowingly transferred any animal affected with a communicable disease except as allowed under RSA 437:5 and RSA 437:8, IV;

IV. The licensee ceased to operate the business for which the license was issued; or

V. The applicant or licensee held any similar license issued in another jurisdiction, revoked or suspended by that jurisdiction as a result of engaging in conduct prohibited by RSA 437, during the preceding 5 years.

437:5 Prohibition. No licensee under this subdivision shall transfer, other than to a qualified veterinarian or licensed animal shelter facility, any maimed, sick, or diseased animal or bird other than as permitted under RSA 437:8, IV nor shall any licensee treat inhumanely any animal or bird in his or her care or possession or under his or her control.

437:6 Health Management; Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets.

I. Medical treatment and use of controlled drugs on any animal or bird under the care or possession or under the control of any licensee other than a veterinarian may be administered only under the direction and supervision of a veterinarian for the purposes of this subdivision.

II. Within 14 days of transfer, the transferee of a dog, cat, or ferret from a licensee may have the dog, cat, or ferret examined by a licensed veterinarian selected by the transferee and, unless said examination indicates the dog, cat, or ferret to be free of disease, the transferee shall be entitled to substitution or, at the transferee’s option, a full refund of the purchase price of the dog, cat, or ferret, if applicable, upon return of the dog, cat, or ferret to the licensee within 2 business days of said examination, accompanied by the veterinarian’s statement that the animal is not free of disease.

437:7 Exceptions. The license provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to breeders of dogs that do not meet the definition of commercial kennel in RSA 437:1, veterinarians, or the transfer of livestock or poultry.

437:8 Health Certificates for Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets.

I. No dog, cat, or ferret shall be transferred by any person, whether or not they hold a license under this subdivision, to a member of the public without the dog, cat, or ferret first being inoculated against infectious diseases using a vaccine approved by the state veterinarian. No dog, cat, or ferret shall be transferred by any person, whether or not they hold a license under this subdivision, to a member of the public unless the dog, car, or ferret is accompanied by an official health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian within 14 days. Said certificate shall be in triplicate, one copy of which shall be retained by the issuing veterinarian, one copy of which shall be  for the licensee’s records, and one copy of which shall be given to the transferee upon transfer as provided in paragraph II. If an official health certificate is produced, it shall be prima facie evidence of transfer.

II. An animal shall be exempt from the health certificate requirement in RSA 437:8, I when such animal is relinquished by a New Hampshire resident or municipality to an animal shelter or rescue registered with the department of justice, charitable trusts unit that owns, operates and maintains the premises on which the animal will be housed in New Hampshire; a public pound operated by a New Hampshire municipality; or a facility operated by any person, excluding veterinarians, who contracts with a New Hampshire municipality to serve that function. In order to qualify for the exemption, the facility:

(a) Shall have on premises a microchip scanner and shall maintain a file of recognized pet retrieval agencies including but not limited to national tattoo or microchip registries.

(b) Where an owner is not known, shall inspect for tattoos, ear tags, or other permanent forms of positive identification and shall scan for a microchip upon admission of an abandoned animal as defined in RSA 437:18, IV and prior to transferring ownership of an abandoned animal.

(c) Shall comply with all other provisions of RSA 437.

III. For purposes of this chapter, an official health certificate means a certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian, containing the name and address of the entity transferring ownership of the dog, cat, or ferret, the age, gender, breed, microchip number, tattoo number, ear tag number, or physical description of the dog, cat, or ferret, and the certification of the veterinarian that the dog, cat, or ferret is free from evidence of communicable diseases or internal or external parasites. A list of all vaccines and medication administered to the dog, cat, or ferret shall be included on or attached to the certificate.

IV. The original of the official health certificate accompanying the dog, cat, or ferret offered for transfer by a licensee shall be kept on the premises where dogs, cats, and ferrets are displayed, and made available for inspection by the department, local officials, or a member of the public upon request up to one year after the animal has left the facility. The public shall be informed of their right to inspect the health certificate for each dog, cat, or ferret by a sign prominently displayed in the area where dogs, cats, or ferrets are displayed. Upon transfer of a dog, cat, or ferret, that animal’s health certificate shall be given to the transferee in addition to any other documents which are customarily delivered to the transferee. The transferee may accept a dog, cat, or ferret that has a noncontagious illness, or feline leukemia virus or feline immunodeficiency virus, which has caused it to fail its examination by a licensed veterinarian for an official health certificate under paragraph I. The transferee shall sign a waiver that indicates the transferee has knowledge of such dog, cat, or ferret’s noncontagious medical condition and then submit such waiver to the licensee who shall send a copy to the state veterinarian.

V. No person, firm, corporation, or other entity shall ship or bring into the state of New Hampshire, to offer for transfer in the state of New Hampshire, any cat, dog, or ferret less than 8 weeks of age. No person, firm, corporation, or other entity shall offer for transfer any cat, dog, or ferret less than 8 weeks of age.

VI. Once a dog, cat, or ferret intended for transfer has entered the state, it shall be held at least 48 hours at a facility licensed under RSA 437 or at a facility operated by a licensed veterinarian separated from other animals on the premises before being offered for transfer.

437:9 Enforcement. The commissioner of agriculture, markets, and food, local animal control officials, law enforcement officials, or local health officials shall independently have authority to enforce the provisions of this subdivision and any rules established thereunder.

437:10 Rulemaking Authority. The commissioner may adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to:

I. The information required from an applicant for a license as a pet vendor;

II. The health and sanitation standards to effectuate the purposes of this subdivision;

III. Information required to be maintained in records of pet vendors regarding identifying features of animals or birds obtained and transfered;

IV. Notice and hearing on the refusal to issue or the revocation of a license; and

V. Any other matter the commissioner may deem necessary to carry out the provisions of this subdivision.

437:11 Penalty.

I. Any pet vendor who transfers live animals or birds customarily used as household pets in this state without having a license to do so as required by this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

II. In addition to the penalty under paragraph I, any pet vendor who violates any of the provisions of this subdivision or rule adopted under it may be subject to an administrative fine levied by the commissioner, not to exceed $1,000 for each violation.

12 Department of Agriculture; Pet Vendors; Cross Reference Changed. Amend RSA 437:22, I to read as follows:

I. It shall be unlawful for any agent acting on behalf of an animal shelter facility as defined in [RSA 437:2, I] RSA 437:1, I, or an animal care center as defined in RSA 437:18, III, to give, release, sell, trade or transfer with or without a fee any live animal brought, caught, detained, obtained or procured by any means, to any association, corporation, individual, educational institution, laboratory, medical facility, or anyone else, for the purpose of experimentation or vivisection.


Mailing List for  Finance – Division I
Lastname Firstname Street Address2 City/Town State Zip Code
Ober Lynne 3 Heritage Circle Hudson NH 03051-3410
Emerick J. Tracy 207 North Shore Road Hampton NH 03842-1468
Kurk Neal RR 1 Weare NH 03281-5412
Spanos Peter P.O. Box 102 Winnisquam NH 03289-0102
Twombly Timothy 120 East Hobart Street Nashua NH 03060-5337
Leishman Peter 39 Birch Road Peterborough NH 03458-1900
Hatch William 79 Promenade Street Gorham NH 03581-1600
Walsh Robert 114 Weston Street Manchester NH 03104-5263
Griffin Gerald PO Box 183 Mont Vernon NH 03057-0183
Lovejoy Patricia 21 Coach Road Stratham NH 03885-2258

Mailing List for  Finance
Lastname Firstname Street Address2 City/Town State Zip Code
Kurk Neal RR 1 Weare NH 03281-5412
Ober Lynne 3 Heritage Circle Hudson NH 03051-3410
Weyler Kenneth 23 Scotland Road Kingston NH 03848-3232
Allen Mary 39 Pond Street Newton NH 03858-3415
Umberger Karen PO Box 186 Kearsarge NH 03847-0186
Byron Frank 8 Mallard Court Litchfield NH 03052-2439
Danielson David 9 Darby Lane Bedford NH 03110-4517
Emerick J. Tracy 207 North Shore Road Hampton NH 03842-1468
Spanos Peter P.O. Box 102 Winnisquam NH 03289-0102
Wallner Mary Jane 4 Chestnut Pasture Road Concord NH 03301-7900
Nordgren Sharon 23 Rope Ferry Road Hanover NH 03755-1404
Smith Marjorie 100 Piscataqua Road Durham NH 03824-3326
Eaton Daniel 43 Shedd Hill Road Stoddard NH 03464-4423
Leishman Peter 39 Birch Road Peterborough NH 03458-1900
Rosenwald Cindy 101 Wellington Street Nashua NH 03064-1616
Buco Thomas PO Box 3149 Conway NH 03818-3149
Hatch William 79 Promenade Street Gorham NH 03581-1600
Rogers Katherine 804 Alton Woods Drive Concord NH 03301-7857
Walsh Robert 114 Weston Street Manchester NH 03104-5263
McKinney Betsy 3 Leelynn Circle Londonderry NH 03053-2326
Twombly Timothy 120 East Hobart Street Nashua NH 03060-5337
Bates David 12 Range Road Windham NH 03087-2005
Hennessey Erin 88 Lilac Lane Littleton NH 03561-4502
Vaillancourt Steve 161 Faith Lane Manchester NH 03103-7156
Griffin Gerald PO Box 183 Mont Vernon NH 03057-0183
Lovejoy Patricia 21 Coach Road Stratham NH 03885-2258

 

ALERT – NH BUDGET BILL MAKES CHANGES TO PET SALES LAW!!