DOGS Voices Are Being Heard
Numerous members of DOGS have testified at public hearings and sent letters to legislators. These efforts are providing valuable information about pet ownership and breeding that helps legislators make informed votes on bills. Over the past two weeks, the success of your efforts has been evident in the votes on two key bills that DOGS opposed. The House Criminal Justice Committee voted 15-0 to recommend HB 526 (animal abuse registry) “Inexpedient to Legislate” (ITL) and recommended the same on HB 57 (study committee on vicious dogs). Upcoming House floor votes on these bills are expected to affirm the committees’ recommendations to kill the bills.
UPDATES ON PRIORITY BILLS
HB 57: Establishing a committee to study the penalties for menace, nuisance, or vicious dogs. DOGS opposed the bill. A copy of HB 57 is available at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2011/HB0057.html
STATUS: Awaiting a House floor vote. The House Criminal Justice Committee voted “inexpedient to legislate” (ITL) in accordance with the subcommittee recommendation.
HB 325: Defining & Licensing “Pet Vendors” HB 325 was requested by the NH Department of Agriculture, State Veterinarian’s office. The bill sets out requirements for “pet vendors”. The bill defines “pet vendor” as anyone who transfers ownership of 10 or more litters of dogs or cats or more than 50 animals or birds customarily used as household pets during a 12 month period. Hobby breeders and animal rescues/shelters that do not meet the “pet vendor” definition are not required to be licensed as such, nor are they included in requirements. The bill only makes a few changes from the current law for those who were previously defined as “conducting a business” and will come under the new definition as “pet vendors”. The major change that the bill makes is removing the exemption for animal shelters.
At the subcommittee meeting, animal shelter representatives opposed the shelters having to provide health certificates and comply with a 7 day quarantine period (they prefer 2 days). They maintained that having to secure health certificates and abide by the quarantine adds burdensome costs for a nonprofit operation. A copy of the bill is available at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2011/HB0325.html
STATUS: Awaiting full committee vote. The subcommittee recommended that the bill be retained for further study.
HB 398: Defining service animals (including search & rescue dog), guide animal trainer and service animal trainer as well as the access to facilities that must be provided these animals.
DOGS opposes the bill. The bill repeals the law allowing restaurant owners to have their dogs in certain areas of their establishments. The bill prohibits other dogs from wearing orange colored items. It also has other provisions that are not in compliance with Federal ADA provisions. A copy of the bill is available at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2011/HB0398.html
STATUS: Awaits House Commerce Committee recommendation.
HB 406: Allows a local governing body to make additional regulations concerning the licensing (including fee increases of up to $2 per license) and restraining of dogs as well as affix penalties. DOGS is monitoring the bill. The current $1 fee was increased from 50 cents in 1994 and has not been increased since to fund localities’ processing and license tag costs. A copy of the bill is available at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2011/HB0406.html
STATUS: Killed. House Municipal Committee voted 15-0 for ITL and was affirmed by the House on 2/23/11.
HB 526: Requires those convicted of animal abuse in NH or another state to register on a public animal abusers list. DOGS opposes the bill as abuse registers have not proven effective but are costly to maintain. A copy of HB 526 is available on line at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2011/HB0526.html
STATUS: Awaits House floor vote on 3/2/11. House Judiciary Committee recommended ITL in a 15-0 vote.
SB 55: Requiring certain engine coolants and antifreeze to include an aversive agent so that they are rendered unpalatable. DOGS supports this requirement. A copy of the bill is available on line at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2011/SB0055.html
STATUS: Passed the Senate. Awaiting assignment to committee in the House.