NH: HB 624 Could Deprive Dog Owners of their Property Rights

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NH: HB 624 Could Deprive Dog Owners of their Property Rights

Postby spinster » Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:32 am

New Hampshire: HB 624 Could Deprive Dog Owners of their Property Rights
(Thursday, February 05, 2015)

On Friday, February 13, the New Hampshire House Environment and Agriculture Committee will consider House Bill 624, a bill regarding animal care costs in cruelty cases. As introduced, the bill could force individuals charged—but not convicted—of animal cruelty to forfeit ownership of their pets, even after they are later found not guilty of those charges. Both the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Dog Owners of the Granite State (DOGS), AKC’s New Hampshire federation, oppose HB 624 as written. AKC encourages all concerned New Hampshire residents to contact the members of the House Environment and Agriculture Committee and respectfully request that HB 626, as introduced, be voted “Inexpedient to Legislate.”

SYNOPSIS OF HB 624: If enacted, HB 624 would establish a pre-trial process whereby a civil court may order a defendant-owner of confiscated animal(s) to post a bond to cover the cost of caring for the animal(s). The bond will automatically renew every 30 days until the criminal proceedings are over, including any appeal period. If at any time the owner is unable to pay the bond, their ownership in the animal(s) will be forfeited, regardless of the ultimate outcome of the case.

AKC’S POSITION ON HB 624:The AKC strongly supports the humane treatment of dogs and believes that no dog should be kept in circumstances where its needs cannot be adequately fulfilled. We also believe that those convicted of animal cruelty should be held accountable, including paying for the costs of caring for the animals they mistreated. However, for defendants already incurring high costs to defend themselves in a criminal proceeding, the additional cost of daily boarding and care fees, as required by HB 624, could prove an impossible burden to meet. In cases where a verdict of innocence was reached or charges were dropped, a defendant unable to pay would be permanently deprived of their property, with no recourse. Furthermore, a 2009 federal district court ruling declared a similar bond requirement unconstitutional. The AKC believes that HB 624 must not move forward as introduced, and must be amended to allow waiver of the bond requirements for indigent defendants who prove they are unable to pay the otherwise required bond costs pending full resolution of their case.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: AKC urges concerned individuals to contact the members of the House Environment and Agriculture Committee and to respectfully request that HB 624 be voted, “Inexpedient to Legislate.”

Read more: http://www.akc.org/press_center/article ... le_id=5894
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