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Animal Cruelty Legislation Clears New Hampshire Senate

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate passed a bill on Thursday that backers say would better protect animals from cruelty and neglect.

The legislation comes on the heels of several high profile cases, including the removal of 75 Great Danes from a home in Wolfeboro. Under current law, that breeder didn’t qualify as running a commercial kennel, and therefore wasn’t subject to inspection.

Under new rulesbacked by Senator Jeb Bradley, a Republican who represents Wolfeboro, anyone who transfers 10 or more litters, or 50 or more individual dogs in a 12-month period, as well as any one who keeps more than 7 unspayed female dogs for the purposes of breeding and selling offspring would be classified as running a commercial kennel.

Bradley told his colleagues the new rules should not be a problem for responsible dog breeders, “but gives the state and local officials better opportunity to prevent the animal cruelty cases that we are seeing happen with way too much frequency in our state.”

Bradley says the new limit of seven female unspayed dogs was reached through a compromise with hobby breeders, as well as a range of advocates including law enforcement, veterinarians and the Department of Agriculture.

The measure passed on a 19-5 vote, and now heads to the New Hampshire House. In a statement, Governor Chris Sununu says he backs the legislation.

“Animal Cruelty will not be tolerated in New Hampshire,” writes Sununu. “I applaud the Senate for passing SB 569, which will ensure that the horrendous treatment of the Great Dane’s from Wolfeboro never happens again.”

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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