Animal Protection Legislation

The New Hampshire Animal Rights League closely tracks state legislation that could impact animals. To read the full text of a bill, see who the sponsors are, or review other details, you can search by bill number from the New Hampshire General Court web site.

2020 Animal Protection Legislation

The bills we are following in the 2020 legislation session are listed below.

  • House Bill 1391: Relative to prohibiting discrimination in housing against persons with pets — This bill prohibits discrimination in housing against people with pets and honors the human-animal bond. By eliminating barriers for pet-owning tenants and implementing pets are welcome policies, both landlords and renters will significantly benefit. Nearly 85 million U.S. households, and an estimated 72 percent of renters, have a pet—families who would make great residents. Yet many leasing agreements unfairly include inflexible and prejudicial policies for tenants with pets. NHARL supports this bill.
  • House Bill 1387: Prohibiting the declawing of cats — This bill would end the practice of declawing cats in New Hampshire except in cases when necessary to address the physical condition of the cat. Declawing is a medical procedure with serious implications that involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be equivalent to cutting off each finger (and toe) at the last knuckle. It is an unnecessary surgery, most often performed to address convenience issues such as scratching of household furniture and it provides no medical benefit whatsoever to the cat. NHARL supports this bill.
  • House Bill 1683: Prohibiting the docking of dog tails and the cropping of dog ears — This bill would prohibit cosmetic and convenience surgeries on dogs—such as ear cropping, tail docking, and devocalization—unless medically necessary to treat a physical illness, injury, or disease. These unnecessary, inhumane, and unethical procedures are opposed by numerous professional organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, and both the Canadian and World Small Animal Veterinary Medical Associations. NHARL supports this bill.
  • House Bill 1389: Relative to criminal penalties for not providing adequate food, water, and shelter for animals. — This bill would keep dogs safe by creating reasonable standards to ensure dogs have adequate shelter and protection during extreme weather conditions. Unlike our surrounding states, New Hampshire’s dogs can legally be exposed to brutally cold temperatures for extended periods of time that can result in serious injury or death. It is a common misconception that dogs’ fur enables them to withstand extreme cold better than humans. In fact, dogs of any breed who are exposed to extreme cold for long periods of time can and do suffer from hypothermia or death. Exposed skin like the nose, ears, and paw pads are highly susceptible to frostbite and can be permanently damaged. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that dogs, even thick-coated arctic breeds, should not be left outside during below freezing weather, and especially not without shelter that allows the dog to maintain normal body temperature. Exemptions: Some dogs are exempt from restrictions for time outdoors in extreme weather conditions: dogs that are owned by or in the service of a local or state law enforcement agency or fire department, and dogs actively engaged in shepherding or herding livestock, lawful hunting activities in accordance with New Hampshire Fish and Game regulations, sledding, training, performance events, or competitions. NHARL supports this bill.
  • House Bill 1388: Prohibiting the sale of cats, dogs, and rabbits in retail stores — This bill will end the sale of puppies, kittens, and rabbits in pet stores and drive the pet market towards more humane sources such as shelters, rescues, and responsible breeders. It is well documented that pet stores obtain their puppies from “puppy mills.” Puppy mills are inhumane commercial breeding facilities that disregard the wellbeing of dogs for profit. This bill will benefit both s animals and people by reducing the demand for puppy mill puppies, protecting consumers from fraudulent pet store claims, and addressing risks to public health. NHARL supports this bill.
  • House Bill 1606: Relative to cruelty to a wild animal, fish, or wild bird — This bill will update our laws to protect New Hampshire’s wildlife from intentional cruelty and make our communities safer while exempting lawful sportsman activities. New Hampshire is one of only a handful of states (including Iowa, Nebraska, Tennessee and Texas) that does not protect its free-roaming wild animals from cruelty. Under current law, a person who maliciously tortures, beats, or mutilates a non-captive wild animal cannot be charged with animal cruelty. If the same acts were committed against a pet, horse, farm animal, or other domestic or captive wild animal, the guilty person could be convicted of a felony. NHARL supports this bill.
  • House Bill 1571: Relative to the qualifications for the members of the fish and game commission — New Hampshire is the only state in the country that requires every member of the Fish & Game Commission, an 11-member body that sets all wildlife policies for the Fish & Game Department, hold a hunting, trapping, or fishing license in order to serve. This outdated policy limits our state’s ability to effectively address threats to wildlife and natural resources by prohibiting experts in biology, ecology, wildlife conservation and others from making crucial decisions simply because they don’t have a hunting, trapping, or fishing license. This bill will strengthen the Fish and Game Commission by removing those license requirements and expanding its membership to represent a broader range of needs and expertise. NHARL supports this bill.
  • House Bill 1542: Relative to children, vulnerable adults, and animals in hot vehicles — This bill will ensure that Good Samaritans can intervene to save the life of an animal, child, or vulnerable adult who is at serious risk of bodily injury or death from being confined in a vehicle in extreme weather conditions. Every year, Granite Staters come across animals in need of rescue from parked cars on hot days. First responders on the scene to rescue animals left in hot cars around the country have given firsthand accounts of the suffering that an animal left in such conditions can endure. NHARL supports this bill.