Contact: New England States Coordinator Joseph Mullin
On January 16, Joseph Mullin, New England States Coordinator for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), attended a House Environment and Agriculture Committee hearing in Concord, NH, to testify in opposition to House Bill 1389 (HB 1389) – legislation that requires a dog owner to construct a specific shelter if the dog is “outside and unattended” for more than 30 minutes.
The day was anything but quiet at the Capitol, as a crowd of engaged opponents to this bill, armed with testimony and prepared to object, spilled into the Committee room’s hallway. The hearing was, by all accounts, a “standing room only” event. Throughout the day, CSF met with in-state and national conservation partners to discuss opposition to HB 1389, awaiting our chance to testify.
HB 1389 removes a dog owner’s sovereignty with regards to caring for their canine, and instead institutes an arbitrary list of kennel conditions if the dog is “outside and unattended for more than 30 minutes.” Sportsmen and women would be required to build a wind-proof, moister-proof, and specific sized kennel for their dog if left unattended outside for more than 30 minutes, but these same shelters would be insufficient when the weather dips below 32-degrees or above 90-degrees Fahrenheit. Sportsmen already exercise great care towards the kennels that they provide their dogs, understanding that their dog’s health and well-being is a key element towards its success.
Equally concerning is HB 1389’s overly simplistic “one size fits all” approach to animal welfare, which ignores the capabilities of different dog breeds to thrive in varying, and at time adverse, weather conditions. CSF fully supports the fair treatment of dogs, but HB 1389 attempts to paint all dogs and dog owners with the same brush, lacking consideration for sportsmen’s abilities to protect their dogs while also treating lap dogs the same as a finely-tuned hunting dogs in statute.
Ultimately, when the bill was raised, the Committee decided to push the hearing back to a later date, as a result of the large number of individuals waiting to voice their opinion on the issue and the fact that the Committee hearing was already running well behind schedule. CSF was able to submit its written testimony at the time of the hearing, and will remain engaged including returning to Concord to testify in person when the hearing for the bill is rescheduled.
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?