On the heels of the rescue of 84 Great Danes from a suspected puppy mill in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu, R, is announcing support for strengthening the state’s animal cruelty laws and an update regarding the Governor's Commission on the Humane Treatment of Animals.
Working with the Humane Society of the United States, Sununu is supporting legislation to update the state’s commercial breeder regulations and to create a comprehensive cost of animal care law that would address the enormous financial burden placed on taxpayers and non-profit animal welfare organizations to care for animals seized in cruelty investigations.
Under current law, the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture licenses breeders that sell 10 litters or 50 puppies in one year. Breeders that are still selling many dogs but fall below the threshold are not regulated, leaving the door open for an unsanitary and dangerous environment for the animals and the people who work there. State Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, intends to introduce legislation in the 2018 session to redefine what constitutes a commercial breeder to ensure the state is inspecting facilities and upholding animal care standards.
Sununu and the HSUS also support legislation to allow a judge to determine if the owner of animals seized in cruelty cases should be responsible for the costs to care for them during a criminal investigation. Without such a law, the cost of caring for animals seized in cruelty cases during lengthy court proceedings is borne by municipalities or non-profit organizations, rather than by the individual responsible for their mistreatment. In the Wolfeboro case, the HSUS is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed and care for the Great Danes.
Sununu is also committed to revamping the Governor's Commission on the Humane Treatment of Animals, which has yet to implement solutions to the exorbitant costs to care for animals in cruelty cases. The Commission plays an important role in ensuring that New Hampshire prevents cruelty though the passage of legislation to protect animals.
Gov. Sununu said: “Animal Cruelty will not be tolerated in New Hampshire. I am proud to revamp the Governor’s Commission on the Humane Treatment of Animals, making it easier for the Commission to recruit members, as well as expanding their duties to include tracking and promoting current legislation, which will allow them a voice in the legislative process. I look forward to working with the commission, advocates and legislators to pass commonsense legislation that protects animals, ensuring that the type of situation that took place in Wolfeboro never happens again.”
Lindsay Hamrick, New Hampshire state director for the HSUS, said: “The rescue of 84 Great Danes from a suspected puppy mill in Wolfeboro highlights the gaps in New Hampshire’s animal cruelty laws and we’re thrilled that Gov. Sununu supports commonsense reforms to prevent such cruelties from happening again. Addressing animal cruelty is a bipartisan issue, and we look forward to working with Sen. Bradley and all legislators in 2018 to pass these important policies.”
On June 16, the HSUS assisted the Wolfeboro Police Department in the rescue of the Great Danes from a seemingly lavish 15,000-square-foot mansion operating as a breeding kennel under the business name De La Sang Monde.
Eighty-four Great Danes had been trapped inside the estate, living in a place unfit for them or any other living creature. Animal waste covered the walls and floors, remains of raw chicken parts were strewn about and the smell of ammonia overwhelmed responders. The dogs who were confined in these conditions are riddled with infections, open sores and cuts, and have an array of other health problems.
This large-scale rescue highlights the need for stronger animal protection laws in the state.
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- Media Relations