Yesterday, the New Hampshire House Environment and Agriculture Committee took testimony on three dog bills and delayed testimony for two weeks on HB 1389. AKC’s prior alert and details on bills scheduled for this hearing can be reviewed here.
Updates from the Committee hearing: American Kennel Club Government Relations (AKC GR) testified with the New Hampshire Dogs of the Granite State federation (NH DOGS) and multiple club members who took great care to educate committee members about their breeding programs, the value of responsible breeders to the state and how breed standards were developed and why. The committee members listened intently throughout the entire day. AKC GR expresses its admiration to the President of NH DOGS who has organized an incredible grassroots movement and sincere appreciation to all the New Hampshire dog owners who commented.
- HB 1389 would amend the state’s animal cruelty law by making it a crime to not provide sufficient food, water, or shelter; and to leave a dog outside and unattended, regardless of access to an outdoor shelter, for more than 15 minutes during any period in which the temperature is below 32-degrees Fahrenheit or above 90-degrees Fahrenheit. This would apply to dogs kept in a securely fenced-in yard, dogs in a kennel, or dogs humanely tethered. At the end of the day, the bill sponsor testified that she has now filed an amendment to exempt dogs owned by local or state authorities; and dogs “actively engaged” in hunting, or sporting activities. AKC’s concerns with the bill have not been satisfied. The committee has extended the hearing on HB 1389 for two weeks and will announce shortly when members of the public can appear again in person to testify.
- HB 1627 seeks to establish a statewide database of all health certificates issued for any dog, cat, or ferret for which it is required, upon transfer. The cost and complexity of establishing an effective database resulted in mixed testimony of support and opposition with requests for multiple changes. A priority concern expressed was the need for privacy protections of information kept in the database. The bill sponsor noted he intended to include these provisions and would draft language for consideration. The Commissioner from the Department of Agriculture testified in support requesting the tools to enforce recent changes to law enacted by the legislature.
- HB 1683 prohibits any person from performing or permitting the docking of dog tails, removal of dewclaws, debarking and the cropping of dog ears – unless medically necessary. It categorizes these as cosmetic procedures of convenience and would impose criminal penalties. In addition to HSUS, a handful of state representatives testified in support of this bill expressing dismay that this mutilation could be allowed and offered that AKC does not require these procedures be done. After addressing the misinformation about who AKC is and how breed standards are developed for working dogs and others, multiple breeders testified convincingly about their breed histories and how these procedures result in the breed’s ability to safely perform the tasks they were bred to perform. Breeds represented included, but were not limited to Rat Terriers, Great Danes, Dobermans, Giant Schnauzers, Rottweilers and bear hunting dogs.
- The committee heard support with suggested minor amendments for HB 1117. AKC GR is grateful Rep. Brian Sullivan filed this legislation and will work with him to address those minor concerns.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
AKC strongly encourages those who reside in New Hampshire and have not yet done so to contact the committee and express your concerns with HB 1389. You can contact all members of the committee by sending your concerns to HouseEnvironmentandAgricultureCommittee@leg.state.nh.us.
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.