On Tuesday, April 12, 2022, at 1pm the New Hampshire House Environment and Agriculture Committee is scheduled to hear testimony on SB 368, as amended. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the New Hampshire Dog Owners of the Granite State (NH DOGS) have significant concerns.
New Hampshire residents are strongly encouraged to use the information below to express your concerns to the committee TODAY.
SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND:
In January, AKC issued an alert for SB 368 as introduced, “relative to pet vendor licenses”. The bill was requested by the Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food (the Department). In part, it required the ownership of all animals housed in the licensed portion of a pet vendor’s premises be transferred to another person within 30 days of the revocation of a pet vendor’s license to prevent seizure by a law enforcement agency.
AKC and NH DOGS testified before the New Hampshire Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that this was a serious legal matter that invoked constitutional protections missing from the bill. After, the Department agreed that SB 368 needed a re-draft.
During March, the Senate Committee released SB 368, as amended, with a new title and text. “An act relative to the unlicensed sale of live animals and establishing the agricultural hearings officer revolving fund,” unanimously passed the Senate despite a joint opposition letter to all Senators from AKC and NH DOGS. SB 368, as amended, would:
- Increase the fines to any pet vendor who violates any of the law’s provisions a second or subsequent time from “not to exceed $1,000” to “up to $5,000”.
- Authorize all fines collected by the Department be directly deposited into a new revolving fund, without further appropriation by the legislature, for the compensation of hearing officers responsible for performing disciplinary tasks.
- Each quarter, require the Department send any unpaid fines to the attorney general for collection and any fund balance over $10,000 to the state’s general fund, for appropriation by the legislature.
TALKING POINTS: The Department says it needs tools to address limited situations where a person continues to transfer live animals after their pet vendor license has been revoked. However, SB 368, as amended, is seriously flawed because it:
(1) imposes significant fines for “any pet vendor who violates any of the law’s provisions”, instead of “any person who transfers live animals without a license”;
(2), deposits fines into a fund that directly pays the salary of hearing officers who decide, if, and how much to fine someone, which creates a serious conflict of interest, and
(3) assigns hearing officers paid with pet vendor fines to cases inall 4 of the Department’s divisions-animal industry, pesticide control, regulatory services, and weights and measures.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: New Hampshire residents are strongly encouraged to immediately register your opposition to the bill by filling out this “online testimony submission” form.
- Submit your name, town and email address
- Click on the bill hearing date, April 12, 2022.
- Under the drop-down menu, select “House Environment and Agriculture” and 1PM, “SB368”.
- Select I am “A member of the public” representing “myself”.
- Indicate you are opposed to this bill.
You may also upload a PDF file to this form specifically identifying your concerns or email all committee members at HouseEnvironmentandAgricultureCommittee@leg.state.nh.us. If using email, consider sending it with a “read receipt” request. If available, please consider speaking in person at the April 12, 2022, House Committee hearing in Room 303 of the Legislative Office Building, 33 N State St, Concord, NH 03301. Sign in to testify when you arrive. The hearing starts at 10 AM. SB 368 is scheduled to be taken up at 1 PM.
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.