2012 NH Legislative Session Begins with a CALL TO ACTION
On January 4th, the NH 2012 Legislative Session begins. During the upcoming 6 months, DOGS will be sending our members information, analysis and opportunities to have input into the legislative process. Sharing our knowledge with legislators is by far the best way to keep NH laws and regulations “pet/breeder/sport/ trainer friendly.”
Thus far, DOGS has identified 20 bills that raise issues of concern to our members. Next week, the DOGS Legislative Update will provide an overview of the roster of bills introduced thus far and those carried over from last session. Meanwhile, this week there is a bill that requires our immediate attention – HB 1498.
CRITICAL CALL TO ACTION REQUESTED
HB 1498 – Repealing dog licensing requirements.
PUBLIC HEARING: Thursday, January 12th at 11:35am
House Municipal & County Government Committee, Room 301, Legislative Office Bldg.
A COPY OF THE BILL CAN BE OBTAINED AT : http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2012/HB1498.html
HB 1498 BILL SUMMARY
HB 1498 removes the requirement for municipalities to license dogs and the option to license cats. It retains the rabies vaccination requirement and requires veterinarians to pay $4 for each rabies certificate. The monies collected from rabies certificates would fund the spay/neuter program and the veterinary diagnostic laboratory.
DOGS’ concerns about the onerous impact of HB 1498 includes:
- HB 1498 repeals the protection that no dog registration records, information, or lists can be made available in any form to another person except in response to a court order, government or law enforcement need (RSA 466:1-d). This critical privacy protection was enacted in 2008 (HB 71) to keep dog ownership information from being sold or transferred to advertisers, fundraisers, or others who could harass dog owners. Even though no recent licensure list would exist under HB 1498, there would still be a log of which dogs were vaccinated based on the forms submitted by veterinarians.
- HB 1498 repeals group dog licensing. The group dog licensing provision designates breeders who are exempt from the requirements and standards imposed upon commercial kennels and pet shops. This is an important designation which if removed could impose costly kennel requirements and business licensing costs on hobby breeders as well as possible zoning difficulties for dog owners. Many towns require kennels to be in commercial districts and not in residential districts.
- HB 1498, according to the fiscal impact analysis, will substantially decrease funding for the state’s spay/neuter program. The spay/neuter program has been very successful in controlling the dog and cat population and, annually, the funds are depleted. Moreover, during these tough economic times, it is unwise to decrease this program’s funding.
- HB 1498 creates a public health risk. The requirement to license dogs increases the likelihood that dogs are vaccinated for rabies and other communicable diseases. The bill retains the requirement that veterinarians submit a copy of the vaccination certificate to the town clerk and the vaccination tag be attached to the dog’s collar. While that identifies who has vaccinated their dog, it does not aid in ensuring that others do so. Additionally, the municipality would have no record of a dog which was purchased out of state until such time as the rabies booster was due which could be 3 years from the date it entered New Hampshire.
- HB 1498 removes the most expedient way to identify the owner of a stray dog and return it to the owner. Licensing helps ascertain dog ownership. Under HB 1498, if the dog received its rabies shot from out of state, the municipality will have no record of the dog’s ownership.
You are encouraged to attend the public hearing on January 12th and sign in opposing the bill or to testify. BEFORE January 12th, it is important that you email or send a note to the members of the House Municipal and County Committee (see list below) asking them to vote HB 1498 “inexpedient to legislate”. Choose one or two of the points noted above and rewrite it in your own words explaining how the bill would impact you and your community. Do not copy the points verbatim as it will have little impact if everyone’s note looks the same. Also, don’t forget to send a note to your local state representative(s) asking them to oppose the bill. Please copy us on your notes and emails. Yvonne Nanasi, DOGS Legislative Coordinator, is available to review your letter if needed. Email Yvonne .
You can email the entire House Municipal and County Government Committee: Email the committee .
Individual Committee member’s email addresses can be found by clicking on their name at: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H18
Mailing List for MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE
- Beverly Ferrante, 68 Chester Rd, Derry, NH 03038-3901
- Franklin Sterling, 63 Monadnock View Dr, Jaffrey, NH 03452-6416
- Betsey Patten, 46 Patten Hill Road, Moultonborough, NH 03254-2657
- Priscilla Lockwood, PO Box 1, Canterbury, NH 03224-0001
- Harry Accornero, 18 Sanborn St, Laconia, NH 03246-2846
- James Belanger, 32 Plain Rd, Hollis, NH 03049-6248
- John Burt, 7 Bay Street, Goffstown, NH 03045-2634
- James Coffey, PO Box 343, New Ipswich, NH 03071-0343
- Timothy Copeland, 17 Raeder Drive, Stratham, NH 03885-2314
- Robert Moore, 49 River Road, Westmoreland, NH 03467-4409
- Philip Munck, 4 Woodchuck Lane, Somersworth, NH 03878-2821
- Jeffrey Shackett, 85 Ten Mile Brook Rd, Bristol, NH 03222-3388
- Kathleen Stroud, 38 McQuestion Road, Merrimack, NH 03054-3544
- Stephen DeStefano, 7 Sharon Drive, Bow, NH 03304-4325
- Kris Roberts, 58 Grove Street, Keene, NH 03431-4206
- Dorothea Hooper, 84 Katie Lane, Dover, NH 03820-4583
- Bruce Tatro, 208 Old Richmond Rd, Swanzey, NH 03446-5522
For another viewpoint, read this