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Do you support legislation that requires more oversight of dog breeders, and requires individuals charged with animal cruelty to pay for the costs of caring for confiscated animals?

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SB 569 was filed by state Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) and others for consideration in the 2018 Legislature. The bill was written in response to an animal cruelty case involving a Wolfeboro breeder of Great Danes.

Christina Fay was charged and ultimately convicted of 10 counts of animal cruelty and neglect in the care of almost 100 Great Danes at her Wolfeboro home. She is appealing the conviction. The judge found she “did not provide proper care, substance or shelter” for the animals, who were seized and handed over to the New Hampshire Humane Society.

Her widely-publicized case prompted lawmakers to review standards of care for dog breeders.

Current breeder regulations

Current New Hampshire law requires a license only if a breeder transfers 10 or more litters or 50 or more puppies in any 12-month period.

The law also requires proof that the facility conforms to local zoning requirements and mandates the need for a “clean and sanitary” facility that is subject to unannounced inspections.

Proposed breeder regulations in SB 569

Bradley’s proposed bill, SB 569, broadens the definition of a commercial breeder to include anyone who owns five or more female breeding dogs.

The bill also provides that a license for a breeder would be issued only after prior inspection of the facility, and it requires that the agriculture department do a background check of the individual to ensure the person has not been convicted of cruelty to animals in the state of New Hampshire or any other state.

Costs of care during animal cruelty cases

The issue of the cost of caring for animals confiscated during cruelty cases has also generated controversy in New Hampshire.

Veterinary and kennelling costs for confiscated animals can amount to thousands of dollars. Under current New Hampshire law, the animal’s owner is only charged for that care if he or she is convicted of animal cruelty. That means the costs of care are often picked up by towns, or absorbed by vets or humane societies.

If SB 569 passes, it would require the animal’s owner to post a bond for the costs of care upfront, while a cruelty case is being heard.

Owners who are unwilling or unable to pay for care could lose the animal, which may then be adopted out to another home.

Click here to learn more about the costs of care during animal cruelty cases.

Arguments for and against SB 569

Proponents say SB 569 will better protect animals in what is now a largely unregulated environment, and they say the rigorous licensing process will add legitimacy to breeders and the animals they sell. They also argue that it is unfair that the costs of caring for confiscated animals should fall on towns or humane societies and support requiring owners to post a bond to cover the tab.

 

Opponents say the provisions constitute regulatory overreach. They also note the additional regulation will cost the state roughly $400,000 to enforce each year.

Others argue that charging an owner for the costs of caring for an animals is unfair, if he or she hasn’t yet been convicted of cruelty. They also express concern that the ‘costs of care’ provision will disproportionately impact lower-income individuals.

Do you support stricter regulations for animal breeders in New Hampshire? Let us know in the comments below.

Comments

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Maureen

I like the more restrictive law.

DeeDee

YES....stronger, more restrictive legislation is needed for sure...with stiff penalties!!

Snaggle

There should be stiffer laws and penalties for anybody who is found to be cruel to animals..... the typical argument from opposition will say it "will disproportionately impact lower-income individuals." to which I ask: How are you able to properly care for the animals if you can't pay the fines for cruelty? In this day and age, animal cruelty should be unacceptable in any form. It is disgusting what people will do to another human, never mind an animal.

Nancy

There is a difference between being accused and being guilty. Making it easy for shelters to get 'free' animals to sell from people simply by accusing them is not good law. This has happened in other states. I'd hate to see it happen here.
Losing your animals and or paying a huge fee for animal care (how many people in NH really have $2000 per animal per month free cash around?) and paying for a lawyer on top of that seems to be a high punishment to me when you are not guilty. You cannot get a free lawyer when charged with animal cruelty.
This means if you are accused and not rich you lose, even if innocent, and the shelters get to sell your animals. Seems like a recipe for temptation to corrupt behavior to me.
People who do not like puppy mills should read what the requirements are to keep dogs as a commercial kennel in NH. No more dogs in the house. No having a cat and dogs living together (or any other pets and animals). The housing must be able to be sanitized on all 6 sides (think cement and wire fence). No more soft beds. No more soft toys. And on and on describing those outdoor enclosure systems used by mills. The information on the rules for commercial kennels can be found in the NH rules section CHAPTER Agr 1700 http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rules/state_agencies/agr1700.html I wouldn’t want to keep my pets that way would you? Do you want pups raised in a cage outside like livestock or in someone's kitchen, living room or bedroom?
So if you think people should raise dogs in mill conditions not as household pets, and if you think its OK for people to lose their pets because someone accuses them even if they are innocent, and if you think its OK for people who are rich to get better justice in NH than people who are not, then this is the bill for you...

michael

I totally agree. This is a horrible law and has no place in the state of NH. All it would take is for some animal rights activist to complain and you could lose everything. I thought we had a constitution. It seems that animal owners would no longer have constitutional rights if this law passes. Unreasonable searches and seizures comes to mind or Innocent until proven guilty .

michael

This is a horrible law and has no place in New Hampshire. The slippery slope possibilities are endless ! This law would not have changed anything about the situation in Wolfboro, as she was already breaking existing law. To have the state coming on your property without a warrant and confiscating your property seems kind of unconstitutional don't you think? This law would do nothing but create a hardship for honest people just trying to the right thing and apply "one size fits all" standards and come up with all new definitions for what constitutes animal cruelty. This law will in the long run will affect any animal owner, and not in a good way. Right now its dogs, but what is next ? Horses , cats, pigs. The lengths at which the government will go to micro manage everyones life seems to know no bounds.

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