Senate passes animal cruelty bill, Sununu cites 'horrendous treatment' of Wolfeboro Great Danes
By DAVE SOLOMON
State House Bureau
March 09. 2018 1:24PM
The Humane Society of the United States worked with the Wolfeboro Police Department to rescue Great Danes from Christina Fay's Wolfeboro property on Friday, June 16, 2017. (Meredith Lee/The HSUS)
CONCORD — Legislation prompted by a spate of animal neglect and cruelty cases cleared the state Senate on Thursday, and now heads for the House.
Gov. Chris Sununu said he looks forward to signing the bill into law.
“Animal cruelty will not be tolerated in New Hampshire,” he said in a statement after the Senate voted 19-5 in support of the measure. “I applaud the Senate for passing SB 569, which will ensure that the horrendous treatment of the Great Danes from Wolfeboro never happens again. This is a critical piece of legislation, and I call on the House to get it to my desk.”
Sununu was alluding to the widely publicized case of breeder Christina Fay, who was convicted by a judge in December on 10 animal cruelty charges six months after more than 80 Great Danes were removed from her Wolfeboro home.
Fay has appealed that conviction and the case is now being heard by a jury. (See related story this page.)
That was just one of several high-profile animal abuse cases in the past year that gave rise to the bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro.
Also in 2017, a 48-year-old Croydon woman was sentenced to six months in jail after being convicted of more than a dozen animal cruelty charges, and Berlin police arrested a local couple on 44 counts of animal cruelty after seizing 15 dogs and a cat from their home on Jericho Road.
Officials at the N.H. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Stratham recently took in 21 abandoned animals after residents were evicted in Exeter, and a Bristol woman pleaded not guilty to 20 animal cruelty charges that allege she kept German Shepherds in a frigid Alexandria barn.
Bradley’s bill attempts to address the problem by stepping up the inspection requirements for commercial kennels and putting the financial burden of animal abuse cases on the kennel operators.
The bill also broadens the definition of “commercial kennel” to embrace a larger number of New Hampshire dog breeders and trigger more frequent inspections.
Lindsay Hamrick, state director at the Humane Society of the United States, said her organization has so far spent $1.3 million taking care of the Wolfeboro Great Danes.
“The cost of care for taxpayers in my town would have decimated the budget,” said Bradley. “There is controversy about what the cost of care should be and that’s why we put ’reasonable’ in the amendment.
Hamrick said the Humane Society has had to lease space in three locations, construct kennel facilities and staff them for the past nine months.
Under Bradley’s bill, those costs would be assumed by the original breeder or pet owner, if they have the financial assets, in cases where cruelty or neglect charges are found in court.
“This bill should not be a problem for responsible dog breeders but gives state and local officials better options in preventing the animal cruelty cases we are seeing with way too much frequency in our state,” Bradley said.
Jury convicts Wolfeboro woman of animal cruelty charges in Great Dane caseOSSIPEE – A Wolfeboro woman accused of mistreating as many as 75 Great Danes was found guilty by a jury Monday of 15 counts of animal cruelty.
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