Opponents of a bill that seeks to increase regulation of commercial dog breeders say the measure will do little to prevent cases of animal cruelty.
During a public hearing on Wednesday, Jane Barlow Roy with the New Hampshire Veterinary Medical Association told a House Environment and Agriculture Committee that while she believes Senate Bill 569 is well intentioned, its new regulations won’t protect animals from harm and doesn’t stop people from hoarding pets.
“Expanding the definition of commercial breeder and mandating more inspections of pet vendors by the Department of Agriculture will not stop individuals who are already breaking existing statues,” said Roy.
Hobby breeders have also voiced concern about how the new regulations could impact their operations.
The bill comes in the wake of several high profile animal cruelty cases, including the seizure of 84 Great Danes from a Wolfeboro breeder last summer.
It redefines a “commercial kennel” to include anyone that keeps seven or more breeding female dogs with the intent of selling their offspring. A breeding female is defined as an unspayed dog over 24 months old.
The current standard for a commercial kennel is anyone who sells 10 or more litters or 50 individual puppies in a twelve month period.
“The whole point of this legislation is prevention,” said Senator Jeb Bradley, who represents Wolfeboro and is the bill’s prime sponsor. “The whole point of this legislation is to protect the animals, the due process rights of the individual that may be charged, and to protect taxpayers.”
The measure would add two new inspectors within the Department of Agriculture to monitor commercial kennels. It also creates a process for a judge to impose a bond on people accused of animal cruelty to cover the cost of the animals’ care while they are held as evidence. If the owner is unable to pay that bond, the animals can be forfeited even if the criminal case is ongoing.