NH LEGISLATIVE ACTION UPDATE
On April 28th, SB 365 was voted 279-54 as inexpedient to legislate (killed) after a lively floor debate on the bill. You can listen to the floor debate at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/media/live_media.htm
Highlights of the floor debate include Representative Rausch explaining how the bill would allow humane societies to use the state spay/neuter fund for imported animals. Rep. Skinder notes that feral tom’s rape their female counterparts and Representative Vaillancourt quotes Bob “Price is Right” Barker. At the same time, the significant issue of dogs being personal property is raised to explain why the bill needed to be killed.
HB 1417: allowing companion dogs in certain areas of restaurants at the owners’ discretion. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Butler, owns an Inn and the new health inspector maintains that the owner’s dogs having access to the dining room is a violation of the state regulations. DOGS is supporting the bill. Several disabled persons with service dogs oppose the bill primarily because it would interfere with their access rights. They were concerned that companion dogs would disrupt their service dog.
ACTION NEEDED: If you support restaurants/coffee house being permitted to allow well-behaved pet dogs to accompany their owners, then please contact the Senate Commerce Committee. This would be a voluntary decision on the part of the restaurant owners.
Raising Pet Store Licensing Fees (SB 450-FN, Amendment 1311, Section 99) The most recent amendments to the state budget include raising the pet store, animal shelters and commercial breeder annual state licensing fees from $200 to $350. The money will go toward licensing, inspections and investigating complaints. The fees were last raised in 2004 when they went from $50 to $200. Agriculture Commissioner Lorraine Merrill said she has spoken to an advocacy group representing those licensees and they had no problem with the increase.
While DOGS does not have a position on the fee increase, we are watching closely to insure that it is not expanded to include hobby breeders. The House Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee are currently deliberating the bill.