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Proposed Bill in New Hampshire Could Affect Sporting Dog Kennels

Sportsmen’s Alliance urges New Hampshire sportsmen to ask their state senator to vote NO on SB 161. (Photo courtesy of Sportsmen’s Alliance)

Senate Bill 161 reclassifies the definition of a pet breeder in New Hampshire

New Hampshire Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) has introduced Senate Bill 161, which eliminates the definition of a commercial kennel and reclassifies large breeders as “pet vendors.”

Current law states that a commercial kennel is any person, business, corporation or other entity that transfers 10 or more litters, or 50 or more puppies, in any 12-month period. This definition would be repealed and replaced with the new definition of a “pet vendor” as anyone who transfers 20 animals. New Hampshire law defines a transfer as an animal changing ownership.

This new definition will encompass many more people than current law, and will force them to buy a license and submit to inspections, even if they are not breeding animals for profit. SB 161 is in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee where it is being worked on by the committee.

Many sporting dog kennels and hobby breeders could easily fall under the licensing and inspection requirements for three reasons.

First, the proposed threshold is far lower than current law. Second, a person would be considered a pet vendor even if they are not selling animals for profit because SB 161 considers the transfer of animals rather than the sale of animals. They would then be forced to apply for a $200 license and submit to unannounced inspections by the Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food. They would also have to show a record of a microchip, leg band or tattoo number for each animal, as well as keep records of all animals intended for transfer indicating identification, point of origin and recipient.

All of these requirements drive up the cost of maintaining a sporting dog kennel, even though most kennels bring in very little money to offset the costly mandates. Any person in violation of these provisions could lose their license and/or pay a fine of $1,000.

Senate Bill 161 goes much farther than regulating large breeders. It applies licensing and inspections to even small hobby breeders and dog trainers.

“This is akin to treating the neighborhood lemonade stand in the same fashion as a super market chain. New Hampshire’s commercial kennel laws are already sufficient to ensure that large breeders are regulated properly and that their dogs are kept healthy. Any shortcomings are more a matter of enforcement than code,” said Luke Houghton, associate director of state services for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Senate Bill 161 is a direct attack on sportsmen who raise and train their own animals. It would lump them together with large, for-profit operations, who have the revenues to offset government regulations.”

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