The New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a public hearing on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, during which it will consider three bills of concern to dog owners. The American Kennel Club (AKC) is tracking more than 25 New Hampshire bills filed this session that could impact breeders and responsible dog owners. We strongly encourage those who reside in New Hampshire to contact the House Judiciary Committee to express significant concerns with HB 1381, HB 1542, and HB 1164.
HB 1381 and HB 1542 would add dogs to the list of “victims” under a law that authorizes any person who believes it necessary to rescue children and vulnerable adults due to extreme temperatures in a motor vehicle to do so without liability.
New Hampshire already has RSA 644:8-aa (“Animals in Motor Vehicle”), which prohibits confining an animal in a motor vehicle or other enclosed space in which the temperature is either so high or so low as to cause serious harm to the animal. The AKC believes that adding dogs to the state’s “victim protection” laws is redundant and an inappropriate attempt to impact the legal status of animals in New Hampshire.
HB 1164 allows volunteer lawyers and law students to serve as special advocates for animals in animal cruelty cases when appointed by a court from a list maintained by the Dept of Agriculture. The special advocate may be appointed to continue to serve after the final disposition of the case.
AKC abhors any type of cruel treatment of or negligent injury to animals and supports full enforcement of existing law. Providing third-party advocates in a legal dispute is usually reserved to protect the interests of minors or other people lacking legal capacity. Providing similar advocates for animals may fundamentally impact the legal status of animals in the state. Furthermore, those already empowered to work in New Hampshire’s justice system, like judges, prosecutors, and social service personnel, are better situated to address problematic behavior. As part of judicial procedure that reacts to criminal behavior, we believe that animal advocates as provided for in S.3322 would play no part in preventing animal cruelty or negligence.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: New Hampshire residents are strongly encouraged to express their concerns to the members of the House Judiciary Committee members before January 28, 2020. All members may be contacted at HouseJudiciaryCommittee@leg.state.nh.us.
New Hampshire residents are strongly encouraged to the hearing on January 28, 2020, and testify in person. The hearing is expected to start at 10:30 in Room 301 of the New Hampshire Legislative Office Building, 33 North State St., Concord, NH. Be sure to sign in to speak.
For more information on these or other legislative issues in New Hampshire, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at 919-816-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or the Dog Owners of the Granite State at email@example.com.