N.H. Governor Moves Against Animal Abuse

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PIJAC Note: The following blog post was originally published on Pet Product News.

After Great Danes were seized from a woman’s home, the governor is reconsidering the state’s animal abuse laws.

By Robert Likins

Last week, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed an executive order revamping the Governor’s Commission on the Humane Treatment of Animals. The Commission, which focuses on abuse and cruelty, has been in periodic existence since its creation under former Governor Craig Benson. It was renewed after approximately 75 Great Danes were discovered in allegedly unsanitary and unhealthy conditions in June.

Along with state allies, PIJAC is carefully monitoring the court case surrounding the dogs’ owner. She has challenged the decision to remove the dogs.

The executive order includes three significant changes from past versions:

  • The Cat Fanciers Association and the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Association are no longer represented on the commission.
  • The above groups have been replaced with “a cruelty investigator employed by a licensed humane society” and “a representative from a national humane organization who is a resident of New Hampshire.” The state’s Association of Chiefs of Police has also been added.
  • The commission now has legislative authority, both for recommendation of new measures and the ability to support bills.

Lawmakers are considering changes to the state’s breeding licensure provisions, as well as state law regarding who pays for the care of animals seized in abuse and cruelty cases while courts consider charges. State Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, a republican, has said he intends to introduce legislation related to breeding and inspections.

PIJAC continues to consider how we can best help lawmakers, pet owners and companion animals find the best solution for all stakeholders.

Robert Likins is the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council [link: http://pijac.org/] (PIJAC) vice president of government affairs. Since 1970, PIJAC has protected pets, pet owners and the pet industry—promoting responsible pet ownership and animal welfare, fostering environmental stewardship, and ensuring the availability of pets. PIJAC members include retailers, companion animal suppliers, manufacturers, wholesale distributors, manufacturers’ representatives, pet hobbyists, and other trade organizations.

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