New Hampshire governor signs bills aimed at addressing animal cruelty

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Gov. Chris Sununu signed into law two new bills meant to curb animal animal cruelty — one aimed at animal fighters and the other at streamlining legal processes for the benefit of animals waiting in limbo.

The first will require courts to hold a hearing no later than two weeks after animals are seized. It also sets deadlines for the payment of post-conviction bonds with the goal of easing the financial burden on taxpayers and nonprofit animal rescue organizations who step in to help.

Speeding up the hearing process will lessen the amount of time animals must wait before they can be adopted into new homes following seizure.

This bill comes on the heels of a two-year effort to tighten animal cruelty laws after dozens of sick Great Danes were seized in Wolfeboro after living in squalid conditions without proper care.

In the Wolfeboro case, Christina Fay was convicted of 17 animal cruelty charges and ordered to reimburse the Humane Society of the United States nearly $2 million.

The other bill signed on Tuesday increases penalties for the possession or manufacturing of animal fighting paraphernalia.

“I would like to thank the advocates at the Humane Society and Senator Jeb Bradley for their hard work, advocacy, and leadership in getting these two bills done,” Sununu said. “Together, these two bills build upon the progress made last term in strengthening animal cruelty laws in New Hampshire by reducing costs associated with animal cruelty cases, preventing animal suffering, and protecting them from animal cruelty.”

“Governor Sununu has signed into law two crucial policies to address animal cruelty,” said Julia Seeley, New Hampshire State Director, The Humane Society of the United States. “Championed by Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) and Representative Katherine Rogers (D-Concord), collectively these laws help address the enormous costs to care for animals who are rescued from neglect, prevent someone convicted of felony cruelty from owning or living with an animal for a minimum of five years, and ban the paraphernalia used in animal fighting.  We are grateful to Governor Sununu, these legislative leaders, animal shelters, law enforcement, and countless advocates for their commitment to preventing the suffering of animals in the Granite State.”

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