NH House Passes Animal Fighting Paraphernalia Ban
Good News! The House voted 215-124 today to pass HB 605-FN, which would prohibit paraphernalia intended or used for the purpose or furtherance of animal fighting.
Experts have reported legitimate on-going investigations of animal fighting in NH, but they've been unable to prosecute those cases due to the limitations of current law.
HB 605-FN allows for more effective enforcement by granting officials the ability to make an arrest when fighting paraphernalia is found, along with direct and circumstantial evidence that reasonably indicates intent for its use in animal fighting. This is opposed to current law that requires the nearly impossible task of catching someone in the act of fighting their animals.
This is a major victory not just for animals and residents in NH, but across the nation where the FBI, cruelty investigators, the Drug Enforcement Admin., Dept. of Agriculture, and local law enforcement officials are working together to combat animal fighting and the violent crimes tied to this horrendous blood sport.
As with all animal protection bills, however, HB 605-FN did not pass the House without obstacles. The Americal Kennel Club affiliate, Dog Owners of the Granite State (DOGS), testified in opposition of the bill; perpetuating misconceptions that the bill threatens the rights of residents who own items referenced in the bill for legitimate reasons.
Seemingly in alignment with those misguided assertions, Representative Howard Pearl, who sits on the House Environment and Agriculture Committee and was against animal welfare bill SB-569-FN last year, motioned to table HB 605-FN before discussion regarding the bill could take place on the House floor.
Fortunately, the House voted against the table motion by a vote of 140-188, and after a debate, followed-up with their vote to pass the bill.
A special thank you to the bill's primary sponsor Representative Katherine Rogers (Merrimack-Dist 28), and also to Representative Nancy Murphy (Hillsborough-Dist 21) who spoke informatively and concisely in support of HB 605-FN on the House Floor.
"According to law enforcement, there are over 100K animal fighters in the US. It is occurring in NH right now." ... "We all agree this activity must be stopped. Yet, we haven't equipped law enforcement to stop it - now we can."
Representative Douglas Lay (Cheshire-Dist 9) also spoke briefly in support of the bill, while Representative James Spillane (Rockingham-Dist 2), and Representative John Burt (Hillsborough-Dist 39) spoke in opposition.
HB 605-FN will now make its way over to the Senate, and a public hearing will be held. Straight Twist will post details as they become available.