August 2, 2021

Hunters and Handlers in New Hampshire Celebrate Increased Protections for Dogs

Contact: Joseph Mullin, Assistant Manager, Northeastern States


Why it Matters: There is no denying the fact that dogs play an integral role in many of our nation’s sporting pursuits. From tracking big game to pointing, flushing, and retrieving downed fowl on a variety of landscapes, our four-legged friends play an irreplaceable part in the field and on the water. In many cases, sportsmen and women only participate in field trials with their dogs. Therefore, it is not uncommon for them to spend thousands of dollars on training and equipment, all towards preparing their dogs for the field. That is why legislation that increases the penalties for unlawful activities, such as the theft of a dog or the unauthorized removal of its collar, is so critical. Policies such as this reflect a deep understanding and appreciation for the significance that dogs hold, not only as hunting partners, but as family members. Additionally, increasing the penalties for these illegal activities signifies a rich acknowledgment for the hard-earned time and money that sportsmen and women spend on readying their dogs each year for the hunting seasons.

Marking a win for dog-owners across New Hampshire, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC) Republican Vice-Chair Governor Chris Sununu took part in a ceremony in which he signed House Bill 338 (HB 338) into law. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Joe Mullin, Assistant Manager, Northeastern States, was on-site in Salem to witness the Governor’s signing and celebrate this significant moment alongside New Hampshire Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair and National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Executive Council Vice President Representative Jeff Goley, who served as a co-sponsor for the bill.

The signing of this legislation marks a monumental step for New Hampshire’s sportsmen and women. Going forward, the first and second theft of a dog will be a misdemeanor, with any subsequent instances resulting in Class B felonies. Additionally, it will be a criminal act for an individual other than the owner or authorized agent to “willfully or maliciously remove, tamper with, damage, or destroy a collar, tracking collar, or other electronic device placed on a dog by its owner to maintain control or locate the dog.” Whether taking part in a field trial or working in tandem with a dog in the field, HB 338 is a special nod to the significant roles that sporting dogs play in many of our lives. This bill also recognizes the incredulous amount of time, effort, and money that many of us dedicate towards preparing our dogs for upcoming competitions and hunting seasons. For sportsmen and women across the Granite State, the signing of HB 338 marked a special moment.

CSF applauds GSC Republican Vice-Chair Governor Chris Sununu, Caucus Co-Chair and NASC Executive Council Vice-President Jeff Goley, and the many partners, such as the American Kennel Club, who made the passage of this bill possible, and looks forward to working in states across the nation on policies that advance the interests of our sporting dogs and their handlers.

NH Signing Ceremony for HB 338

(From left to right: Joe Mullin, Assistant Manager, Northeastern States for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation;
Representative Jeff Goley, New Hampshire Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair and NASC Executive Council Vice-President; Governor Chris Sununu, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Republican Vice-Chair; and
Representative Timothy Lang, Sr., House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee Chair)

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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