Senate Bill 161, Relative to definition of a pet vendor, was laid on the table in the Senate on March 21 this year, despite having 13 Senators as sponsors. It also received an “Ought to Pass” recommendation from not one, but two Senate Committees. The Senate even adopted the bill. Not once, but twice. It was tabled on the second reading by Senator Feltes and at least 12 other Senators. This usually happens when Senators want to virtue signal on an issue without changing any laws. They get to speak in favor of the bill, vote to pass the same, and then table it so it doesn’t cause any harm or changes to statute.
A similar bill was laid on the table in the House, and the Cost of Care Bill (also stuffed into HB4) was retained in Committee in the House. It’s actually scheduled for a hearing tomorrow.
Now, both are law. How, you might be wondering? Well, they were stuffed into HB4, the Budget Bill that passed last week. No public hearings, no amendments, no committee hearings. Just a budget bill that the House was strong-armed into passing under political pressure due to DRA setting Property Tax Rates today, October 1. Only 25 House members objected to suspended the rules with their vote against it. 25, out of 359 members present. Yes, 334 members voted to suspend the rules in order to introduce a bill most of them had not read, and now three bills, tabled by their respective chamber, are law.
117. Repeals the definition of commercial kennel and revises the definition of pet vendor; authorizes the department of agriculture, markets, and food to make rules relative to the number of amphibians, reptiles, fish, or small mammals a person may sell and qualify as a pet vendor; requires dogs, cats, and ferrets offered for transfer to be accompanied by a health certificate; and establishes and makes an appropriation to the cost of care fund.
Pet Vendors & Cost of Care
Cost of Care
In 2017, Christina Fay was arrested and charged with animal cruelty after authorities found a “puppy mill” in her home, where dozens of Great Danes were living in squalor. Fay was subsequently convicted of 17 animal cruelty charges.
Since that time, pet vendors, commercial kennels, and animal cruelty laws have been a target for change from several legislators. The two primary goals have been requiring more breeders obtain a government license to breed and transfer animals, and establishing a ‘cost-of-care’ fund so the municipalities don’t bear the brunt of the cost when and if animals are seized by the government.
The 75 Great Danes seized from Christina Fay’s Wolfeboro home cost nearly 2 million dollars to care for after their seizure. TWO. MILLION. DOLLARS.
Prosecutors said Fay should reimburse the U.S. Humane Society $1.8 million, the cost of caring for the dogs thus far since they were seized last June from a 14,000 square-foot Wolfeboro mansion owned by Fay.
The Cost of Care Fund, in previous years, trampled all over due process and presumption of innocence, and would have required those charged with animal cruelty to put up a surety bond to cover the cost of the animals care during trial if not pay for their care outright. Luckily, that was stripped out before this was stuffed into a budget bill. This Cost of Care Fund is funded by the General Fund, dog license fees, and the Commissioner may accept gifts and donations towards it. It’s much better, but it still didn’t belong in a Budget Bill no one read.
Previously, anyone that transferred more than 10 litters or 50 puppies per year was considered a Commercial Kennel, which requires a license from the Department of Agriculture. Just puppies, not cats, adult dogs (though they don’t define puppy in the Statute,) ferrets, or birds. Now, as HB4 the budget bill passed, anyone that transfers more than 25 dogs, 25 cats, 30 or more ferrets, or 50 or more birds is required to obtain a Pet Vendor license from the Department.
The Pet Vendor license allows the Department of Agriculture to inspect your premises unannounced. Unannounced inspections of private property by a Department led by an unelected
unofficial? Nothing to see here fourth amendment move right along. Of course, this practice already exists for restaurants, meat processing facilities, grocery stores, et al, under the guise of public safety. Those businesses can be inspected at any time by an unelected person, and can be fined by that bureaucracy, or shut down. To keep you safe, of course. But, anyone that breeds dogs or cats now must submit to the same “authority.”
It surely can not be claimed that it’s for public safety – no – now it’s for the safety of the animals. All because one woman let 84 Great Danes rot in their own filth, and was prosecuted for such.
Don’t be mistaken – these laws are not for anyone’s protection. They exist solely to make it easier for the Government to catch you committing a crime.
It also gave the Department of Agriculture more bureaucratic power, without specific statues from the legislature.
Pet vendor also means any person, firm, corporation, or other entity that transfers amphibians, reptiles, fish, or small mammals customarily used as household pets to the public in quantities set in rules adopted by the department, with or without a fee or donation required, and whether or not a physical facility is owned by the licensee in New Hampshire between July 1 and June 30 of each year.
Bureaucratic rules imposed by unelected officials are antithetical to our form of Government. Its an abdication of responsibility by the legislature, and takes power away from the people to have a say in how, when, why, and where they are governed.
Next November, we will elect a new legislature to “represent us” in Concord by passing laws, or by passing the buck. Let’s ask everyone on the ballot if they would vote for a bill they haven’t read. Let’s ask them if they’ll delegate their authority away to people you didn’t elect. Let’s ask them if they’ll represent us.
Author’s Note: Full disclosure – my wife Rachel and I are currently breeders ourselves. We have our first litter of Golden Retrievers that will be 8 weeks old on Sunday Oct 8. Breeding is messy, tiresome, and a heavy workload. Doing it responsibly, in a loving caring environment benefits all of us who love pets, especially purebreds. Regardless of laws passed or not passed, my animals are treated as family members (even the one’s we eat.) The Government can not ever mandate or legislate morality, that is up to each of us. Trampling on the rights of the responsible to enable punishment on those who cause harm is irresponsible governance in every instance.