Earlier this week, the New Hampshire House Environment and Agriculture Committee amended and passed Senate Bill 569. The Committee addressed many of the concerns expressed by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Dog Owners of the Granite State (DOGS), and many breeders and owners. Because the bill is expected to be voted on by the House next week, all New Hampshire breeders and owners are strongly encouraged to contact their elected members of the New Hampshire General Court and urge them to support the amended version of SB 569.
Click here to view the newly amended version of SB 569.
Both AKC and DOGS have expressed considerable concerns with SB 569 since its introduction in January. As now worded, SB 569 includes:
- A significantly amended definition of “breeding female”. Originally, SB 569 over-broadly defined breeding female as any unspayed female dog kept or maintained for the purpose of breeding and selling the dog’s offspring. After several amendments, the definition of “breeding female” now reads as “an unspayed female dog kept and maintained for the demonstrated purpose of breeding and selling or transferring the dog’s offspring, and which is in whelp or has produced a litter any time in the preceding 12 months. An unspayed female dog which has not produced a litter in 18 months shall not be considered a breeding female dog.”
- A definition of “commercial breeding kennel” carried over from previous versions of the bill. “Commercial breeding kennel” is defined as a person that keeps, maintains, or owns 7 or more breeding female dogs [as defined above] OR transfers 10 or more litters or 50 or more puppies in any 12-month period. It includes a person that keeps, maintains, or owns dogs on the same property as another person who also keeps, maintains, or owns dogs and the total number of breeding female dogs on the property is 7 or more. The term shall not be taken into consideration for any zoning purposes.
- Specific exceptions from licensing requirements for breeders of dogs to be used for field work, drafting, guarding, working, herding livestock, or hunting; or for participating in any lawful dog event, including conformation shows or obedience trails, field trials, agility events, hunting, or mushing, and that have not transferred 10 or more litters or 50 or more puppies in any 12-month period.
- A new commission to study the cost of care associated with confiscated animals and the appropriations needed by the Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food to inspect pet vendors. The AKC remains steadfast in believing that those convicted of animal cruelty must be held accountable, including paying for the costs of caring for the animals they mistreated, while ensuring that Due Process and property rights are protected for co-owners not in possession of animals at time of seizure and for indigent defendants.
The AKC believes that the definitions of “commercial breeding kennel” and “breeding female” as now worded, along with the specific exemptions for most breeders of conformation, performance, and companion dogs, provide a more appropriate scope of state oversight. Additionally, the AKC supports the development of a new study commission to best understand certain animal and enforcement issues in New Hampshire as well as to develop pragmatic and constitutional cost-of-care requirements for owners of seized animals.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
All New Hampshire breeders and owners are strongly encouraged to contact their elected members of the New Hampshire General Court. First, contact your State Representative and ask them to support the Environment and Agriculture Committee’s amended version of SB 569. Second, contact your State Senator and ask them to vote to “Concur with House changes” to SB 569.
Go to http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/wml.aspx to find your New Hampshire State Representative and State Senator.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
AKC’s Government Relations Department (AKC GR) will continue to provide updates on Senate Bill 569 as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org; or the Dog Owners of the Granite State at www.nhdogs.org.