**** Upcoming Hearing ****
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
The Senate Public and Municipal Affairs will hold a hearing on
- SB415 – relative to the standard of care for dogs outside.
- When: 10:15 p.m. Where: Room 102, the Legislative Office Building.
- Letters should be sent to the committee staff, Jennifer Horgan
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org ) on your emails so we are aware of them.
SB415 – relative to the standard of care for dogs outside.
DOGS POSITION: Oppose as written
This bill has two parts. The first part amends the Animal Cruelty statute to include “access to drinking water at all times.” in the definition of shelter for dogs. The second part creates an advisory committee of 3 veterinarians and 2 law enforcement officials with animal control experience to “to determine if there is an appropriate standard of weather and temperature in which various breeds of dogs should not be left outside and identify if enforcement for this purpose is made clear in statue.”
While all animals, not just dogs, should have access to water, there are certain medical conditions such as Diabetes Insipidus, uncontrollable Cushings Disease, or Primary Polydipsia where it may be medically necessary to limit a dog’s access to water. Additionally, withholding water can necessary when a urinalysis is being run.
DOGS believes that a better wording would be to require that all animals should have available “a sufficient quantity of fresh water to maintain hydration.” (This is the the phrase used in RSA 435:13 under Treatment of Horses.)
The proposal for a commission seems to want to create a list of breeds that may be kept outside and those that may not. What about the tens of thousands of mixed breeds which live in New Hampshire?
The ability to withstand cold temperatures is a question of acclimation not of breed. A dog that spends most of its time out of doors will develop a winter coat that protects it when the temperature drops while a dog, no matter what its breed, which lives indoors most of the time would be endangered if it were suddenly to be put outside for long periods in frigid weather.
Additionally, the proposed commission does not include any dog breeders. Although veterinarians are experts on medical conditions, they are not experts on dog breeds and their requirements. At this time, there are 189 different breeds of dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club and over 300 breeds recognized by the United Kennel Club.
Update on Recent Bills
Several of the bills we have reported were voted on by committees this week. The full House will vote on their recommendations March 9 and 10.
HB 1547-FN – prohibiting beastiality.
DOGS POSITION: Support as amended.
DOGS, the Farm Bureau and the Commissioner of Agriculture testified against the bill and offered suggestions to clarify that that normal animal husbandry practices would not be considered a crime and that the exclusion applied to all animal owners not just commercial breeders. The committee was open to our concerns and incorporated them into the amendment. We were thanked for our testimony by several of the sponsors. Please thank the Committee for listening to our concerns.
HB1571– prohibiting the possession, purchase, or sale of equipment used for animal fighting.
STATUS: The House Environment and Agriculture Committee voted Inexpedient to Legislate (20 – 0) on the Consent Calendar.
DOGS POSITION: Oppose
From the House Calendar – Rep. John O’Connor for Environment and Agriculture: 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.
HB1499 – relative to certificates for rabies vaccination of dogs, cats, or ferrets
STATUS: The House Environment and Agriculture Committee voted Inexpedient to Legislate (16 – 3)
DOGS POSITION: Oppose
From the House Calendar – Rep. John O’Connor for Environment and Agriculture. This bill would eliminate the requirement that veterinarians send copies of certificates of rabies vaccination which they generate to town and city clerks. Eliminating this central repository puts our citizens at risk. Whenever a domestic animal bite occurs, the first responders reach out to this central location to determine whether or not the animal has been vaccinated. The bipartisan majority of the committee agreed that it is important to keep this capability in place.
HB1615-FN – regulating the transfer of dogs from out of state.
STATUS: The House Environment and Agriculture Committee Refer to Interim Study (10-3) on the Consent Calendar.
DOGS POSITION: Support
From the House Calendar – Rep. Robert Haefner for Environment and Agriculture. 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. Some of these transfers are under the radar such that the state does not know how many animals are delivered to New Hampshire, where they go, their health or behavior. Those transfers that are done following the rules are known about, whereas others are not, such as the dogs sold in parking lots in our state. We are hearing of health and behavioral problems that may not be reported. While the committee believes we need to get a better handle on out of state transporters as some of neighboring states have done, we do not think the bill is ready for passage. We also have a problem with the fiscal note that says a new hire is needed, which the bill does not fund. The committee recommends unanimously that the bill be studied further to better prepare legislation for passage next term.