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RECAP OF THIS WEEK: For specifics on bills that were considered during the week of February 9, 2021, click here.

CONCERNING AN ANIMAL RECORDS DATABASE
The American Kennel Club Government Relations Department (AKC GR) and the Dog Owners of the Granite State (NH DOGS) expressed concerns to the Senate Finance Committee about the original animal records database language included in SB 127.  The House Environment and Agriculture Committee has already approved an amended version of the language to address AKC’s and NH DOGS’ concerns.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:  AKC GR recommends that New Hampshire residents email the Senate Finance Committee at debra.martone@leg.state.nh.us asking for support of amended HB 532 instead of SB 127.  Let them know it (1) clarifies what data is being collected by the Department of Agriculture, (2) strengthens the privacy protections of the database, and (3) avoids duplicating the dog rabies vaccination oversight being paid for by municipal dog license fees

SUPPORT TOUGHER PENALTIES FOR WILLFUL HARMING OF SERVICE DOGS
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on SB 122, which seeks to increase the penalty for anyone willfully harming a service animal or willfully allowing their animal to injure a service animal, from a misdemeanor to a class B felony.  AKC strongly supports the training and use of dogs by humans, whose lives are enriched by dogs’ performing essential services.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: No action is needed at this time.

SUPPORT TOUGHER PENALTIES FOR DOG THEFT, DOG POISONING, REMOVING/DESTROYING COLLARS
HB 338 would increase the crime of dog theft and poisoning a dog from a misdemeanor offense to a class B felony. It would also expand the misdemeanor offense for wrongfully removing a dog collar, to include damaging or destroying a collar, tracking collar, electronic tracking device, or microchip.  AKC GR was joined by staff from the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation and a member of NH DOGS who personally experienced her dog being taken in testifying in support of HB 338.

The committee shared that 25 individuals had registered their support of HB 338, while only five opposed.  After a motion to pass favorably was made, committee members continued to discuss whether the proposed penalties were appropriate, whether all pets ought to be included, and whether to the bill should feature graduated penalties for repeat offenders.  The motion to pass was withdrawn.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:  New Hampshire residents are encouraged to express support for HB 338 by emailing the House Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety at HouseCriminalJusticeandPublicSafety@leg.state.nh.us.  Anyone with personal knowledge of a dog being stolen or a collar being taken in New Hampshire, please contact AKC GR at 919-816-3348.

NEXT WEEK:

The House Environment and Agriculture Committee is scheduled to consider four bills impacting dogs on Wednesday, February 17, 2021:

PREPAYMENT OF DOG LICENSING FEES FOR THE DURATION OF A RABIES VACCINATION
9:00am – HB 585  would allow dog owners to pay for a 3-year municipal dog license that runs concurrently with the duration of a rabies vaccination.

RABIES VACCINATIONS FOR DOGS
10am – HB 387 would require that a rabies antibody test be done 30 days after initial vaccination to confirm the dog’s immunity. Results of the test would be discussed with a veterinarian who to determine what action be taken to ensure immunity and public safety. Any dog considered a non-responder would be maintained in strict rabies isolation until proof of adequate protection can be documented.  AKC GR is concerned with the reasonableness and costs associated with this added requirement, and whether it adheres to the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control Committee’s Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2016.

REQUIRING AN ANIMAL’S COLOR PHOTO ON A RABIES VACCINATION CERTIFICATE
11am – In addition to information already required to be included on rabies vaccination certificates for dogs, cats, and ferrets, HB 322 would require each veterinarian to include a color photograph of the vaccinated animal.

HEALTH CERTIFICATES AND QUARANTINE REQUIREMENTS FOR ANIMAL IMPORTS
1:30pm – HB 367 would require a dog, cat, or ferret imported into New Hampshire to receive a health certificate and be isolated for a 7-day quarantine period.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: New Hampshire residents may submit their comments on any of these bills to the House Environment and Agriculture Committee at HouseEnvironmentandAgricultureCommittee@leg.state.nh.us.  Please include the bill number in the subject line and identify where you live in New Hampshire in your message.  If you are interested in testifying in person, visit http://gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/remotetestimony/default.aspx.  First, select February 17, 2021.  Then select the House Environment and Agriculture Committee from the drop-down menu.  Finally, select the bill you want to comment on and complete the required information.

The House Commerce and Consumer Affairs committee will meet at 1:30 PM on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, to consider HB 92:

STUDY BEST PRACTICES FOR COMPANION ANIMAL GROOMERS
HB 92 would establish a committee of legislators to study best practices for companion animal groomers in New Hampshire, including safety and facility standards; certification, licensure, and liability; waste and chemical disposal; and education, continuing education, and best practices.

Click here to learn more about AKC’s S.A.F.E. Grooming Program.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you are or know a groomer in New Hampshire, please share this opportunity to comment.  Email the committee at HouseCommerceCommittee@leg.state.nh.us.

AKC GR will continue to provide updates on pending dog-related legislation in New Hampshire.  For more information on these or other legislative issues in the state, contact AKC GR at 919-816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org; or the Dog Owners of the Granite State at dogs.nh@gmail.com.

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