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Tomorrow, January 31, 2023, the New Hampshire Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hear public testimony on SB 164, relative to biodiverse environments and land-use requirements.  In addition, per Section 11, this bill would insert a new section in law formalizing the creation of private contracts between animal owners and willing “guardians” who would be responsible for preserving animal rights listed in the contract.  Failure of the owner to meet their obligations would result in the guardian being granted “legal standing” in a court of law to enforce those obligations.  Section 11 of SB 164 intends to change the legal status of animals.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the New Hampshire Dog Owners of the Granite State (NH DOGS) strongly oppose this proposed section because the term “guardian” may in fact reduce the legal classification and value of animals (including dogs) as property, and thereby restrict the rights of owners, veterinarians, and government agencies to protect and care for dogs.  It may also subject them to frivolous and expensive litigation.  AKC and NH DOGS will be expressing strong concerns with the bill’s text at the public hearing.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:  New Hampshire residents are strongly encouraged to electronically register your opposition by emailing members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

  1. Click on the Senate standing committee list here.
  2. Scroll down to “Energy and Natural Resources” Committee
  3. Select “Email Entire Committee”
  4. Your email will populate with members’ email addresses
  5. In the subject line, type “Oppose Section 11 of SB 164”

Consider including the following talking points:

  • This is a radical push to give animals the legal rights and privileges of humans.
  • It would assign “guardians” for animals, but this word is used by courts for appointing lawyers to represent those with legal rights who lack capacity, such as children.
  • Under NH law, pets are considered property. This makes it clear who is responsible for the animal’s care and well-being while protecting the ability to use current criminal law regarding penalties for theft of a pet.

In addition, you may speak in person at the January 31, 2023, Senate Committee hearing in Room 103 of the State House, 107 North Main Street, Concord, NH 03301.  Sign in to testify when you arrive.  The hearing on SB 164 starts at 9:45 AM.

For more information on these or other legislative issues in New Hampshire, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at 919-816-3720 or; or the Dog Owners of the Granite State at