Legislation Passed to Protect Pets and Wildlife in New Hampshire

Starting next year, drivers who hit a cat will be required to stop and report the collision to the pet’s owner or to the police. It is one of three animal protection bills Gov. Chris Sununu signed Wednesday afternoon. Sununu gave equality before the law to cats and dogs that are hit by a car. Currently, drivers must stop and contact the owner or the police when they hit the dog. From 2022, the same will apply to cats. “Having a law that would protect dogs, which are pets, but not protect other pets, made no sense to me,” said Rep. Darryl Abbas, R-Salem. Abbas said he was inspired to introduce the legislation after his own family’s cat was beaten and killed. “I was so upset that the person didn’t stop,” he said. Other bills signed Wednesday include HB 338, which increases penalties for stealing dogs or altering their collars or microchips. HB 529 established criminal penalties for cruelty to wild animals involving torture, beatings, whipping, or mutilation. “It’s not like hunters who go out and hunt creatures responsibly to control the population or feed their family,” said Rep. Katherine Rogers, D-Concord. . “That is not what cruelty to wild animals is. It is needlessly and senselessly hurting a voiceless animal for the sole reason that it is ‘fun’ to watch it suffer.” Advocates said these new laws add crucial protections and send an important message to the public. voices,” said Jinelle Hobson of the Salem Animal Rescue League. While there are plenty of sharp disagreements in Concord these days, Sununu said it’s good to see there’s still a bipartisan consensus on the issue of animal welfare. “And we said, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s really put some emphasis behind this,’” Sununu said. “We had a great group of bipartisan leadership in the House and Senate to help make a lot of things happen.”>> MORE FROM WMUR: Canterbury man vows to ‘rot’ in jail over property dispute

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Starting next year, drivers who hit a cat will be required to stop and report the collision to the pet’s owner or to the police. It is one of three animal protection bills Gov. Chris Sununu signed Wednesday afternoon.

Sununu gave equality before the law to cats and dogs that are hit by a car. Currently, drivers must stop and contact the owner or the police when they hit the dog. From 2022, the same will apply for cats.

“Having a law that would protect dogs, which are pets, but wouldn’t protect other pets, didn’t make any sense to me,” said Rep. Darryl Abbas, R-Salem.

Abbas said he was inspired to introduce the legislation after his own family cat was beaten and killed.

“I was so upset that the person didn’t stop,” he said.

Other bills signed Wednesday include HB 338, which increases penalties for stealing dogs or altering their collars or microchips. HB 529 established criminal penalties for cruelty to wild animals involving torture, beatings, whipping, or mutilation.

“They are not like the hunters who go out and hunt creatures responsibly to control the population or feed their family,” said Rep. Katherine Rogers, D-Concord. “That is not what cruelty to wild animals is. It is needlessly and senselessly hurting a voiceless animal for the sole reason that it is ‘fun’ to watch it suffer.”

Advocates said these new laws add crucial protections and send an important message to the public.

“Every animal has a heartbeat and we are their voices,” said Jinelle Hobson of the Salem Animal Rescue League.

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While there are plenty of sharp disagreements in Concord these days, Sununu said it’s good to see there’s still a bipartisan consensus on the issue of animal welfare.

“And we said, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s really put some emphasis behind this,’” Sununu said. “We had a great group of bipartisan leadership in the House and Senate to help make a lot of things happen.”

>> MORE FROM WMUR: Canterbury man vows to ‘rot’ in jail over property dispute