Bill Text: NH SB77 | 2019 | Regular Session | Amended


Bill Title: Relative to costs of care for animals seized in cruelty cases and prohibiting the future ownership of animals in certain animal cruelty cases.

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Engrossed) 2019-05-08 - Lay on Table (Rep. Bixby): Motion Adopted DV 202-147 05/08/2019 House Journal 15 P. 63 [SB77 Detail]

Download: New_Hampshire-2019-SB77-Amended.html

SB 77-FN - AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE

 

03/07/2019   0660s

2019 SESSION

19-0829

08/03

 

SENATE BILL 77-FN

 

AN ACT relative to costs of care for animals seized in cruelty cases and prohibiting the future ownership of animals in certain animal cruelty cases.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. Birdsell, Dist 19; Sen. Carson, Dist 14; Sen. Cavanaugh, Dist 16; Sen. Chandley, Dist 11; Sen. D'Allesandro, Dist 20; Sen. Dietsch, Dist 9; Sen. Feltes, Dist 15; Sen. Fuller Clark, Dist 21; Sen. Gray, Dist 6; Sen. Hennessey, Dist 5; Sen. Kahn, Dist 10; Sen. Rosenwald, Dist 13; Sen. Starr, Dist 1; Sen. Ward, Dist 8; Rep. Marsh, Carr. 8; Rep. Bixby, Straf. 17

 

COMMITTEE: Energy and Natural Resources

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill:

 

I.  Further defines the meaning of priority on the court calendar for cases in which animals must be held for the duration of a criminal prosecution.

 

II.  Clarifies the process for a defendant to post a bond after conviction in order to retain a legal interest in the animals through an appeal process.

 

III.  Further defines the courts ability to ban a person convicted of animal cruelty from owning animals.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

03/07/2019   0660s 19-0829

08/03

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen

 

AN ACT relative to costs of care for animals seized in cruelty cases and prohibiting the future ownership of animals in certain animal cruelty cases.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Animal Cruelty.  Amend RSA 644:8, IV to read as follows:

IV.(a)  In addition to being guilty of crimes as provided in paragraphs III and III-a, any person charged with cruelty to animals may have his or her animal confiscated by the arresting officer and, upon said person's conviction of cruelty to animals, the court may dispose of said animal in any manner it decides.  Courts shall give cases in which animals have been confiscated by an arresting officer priority on the court calendar.  In cases in which animals have been confiscated by an arresting officer or his or her agency, a preliminary hearing shall be held by the court within 14 days of the lawful seizure of animals.  The costs to provide the confiscated animals with humane care and adequate and necessary veterinary services, if any, incurred in boarding and treating the animal, pending disposition of the case, and in disposing of the animal, upon a conviction of said person for cruelty to animals, shall be borne by the person so convicted.  

(b)  In addition, the court may prohibit any person convicted of a misdemeanor offense of animal cruelty under RSA 644:8, RSA 644:8-aa, RSA 644:8-b, RSA 644:8-c, or RSA 644:8-d, or violation of RSA 644:8-f from having future ownership or custody of, or residing with other animals for any period of time the court deems reasonable or impose any other reasonable restrictions on the person's future ownership or custody of animals as necessary for the protection of the animals.  The court shall prohibit or limit any person convicted of a felony offense of animal cruelty under RSA 644:8 or a misdemeanor or felony offense of bestiality under RSA 644:8-g from having future ownership or custody of, or residing with other animals for a minimum of 5 years, and may impose any other reasonable restrictions on the person's future ownership or custody of or residing with animals as necessary for the protection of the animals.  For the purposes of this section, a reasonable restriction on future ownership or custody may include limiting a person from engaging in any employment in the care of animals or other similar contact as the court sees fit.  Any animal involved in a violation of a court order prohibiting or limiting ownership or custody of animals shall be subject to immediate forfeiture.  Any person violating such order may, in addition to being held in criminal contempt of court or subject to a probation violation, be fined in the amount of $1,000 in any court of competent jurisdiction for each animal held in unlawful ownership or custody.  

[(b)] (c)  If a person convicted of any offense of cruelty to animals appeals any part of the conviction to the superior court or a higher court, and any confiscated animal remains in the custody of the arresting officer, the arresting officer's agency, or the arresting officer's agency's designee pending disposition of the appeal, in order for the appellant to maintain a future interest in the animal, the trial or appellate court may require the appellant to post a bond or other security in an amount not exceeding $2,000 for each animal in custody for costs expected to be incurred for the board and care of the animal during the appeal.  Such bond or security shall be posted to the court within 14 days.  Upon the posting of funds, the arresting officer or arresting officer's agency having custody of any animals, or the arresting officer's agency's designee, may immediately begin to draw from those funds for payment of the actual costs incurred in keeping and caring for the animal or animals from the date of conviction until the final disposition of the appeal.  If such bond or security is not paid within 14 days after the trial court orders the bond or security to be posted, the animals shall be forfeited to the arresting officer, the arresting officer's agency, or the arresting officer's agency's designee. If the conviction is affirmed on appeal, the costs incurred for the board and care of the animal, from the date the animal or animals were originally confiscated, shall be paid to the custodian from the posted security and the balance, if any, returned to the person who posted it.  A court shall order the return of any unused bond or security upon a court approved agreement of the parties, a finding of not guilty, or the reversal of a conviction, unless it is a reversal with remand for further proceeding.  For the purposes of this section, the term "unused" means the excess portion of the financial surety that was not consumed in the actual costs of animal care.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2020.

 

LBAO

19-0829

1/16/19

 

SB 77-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT relative to costs of care for animals seized in cruelty cases and prohibiting the future ownership of animals in certain animal cruelty cases.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [    ] County               [ X ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2020

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [    ] Other

 

 

 

 

 

LOCAL:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

Indeterminable Increase

   Expenditures

$0

$0

$0

$0

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill provides that in cases where animals have be confiscated by an arresting officer, a preliminary hearing will be held by the court within 14 days.  It clarifies the process for a defendant to post bond to retain a legal interest in the animals through an appeal process, defines the courts ability to ban a person convicted of animal cruelty from owning animals, and allows an agency caring for animals held during a prosecution to place the animals into foster homes when appropriate.

 

The Judicial Branch indicates the fiscal impact to the Branch would from the following:

  • Proposed RSA 644:8, IV(a) requires a preliminary hearing to be held by the courts within 14 days of the lawful seizure of animals.
  • Proposed RSA 644:8, IV (b) provides for restrictions on future ownership of animals, including sanctions for violating a court order restricting future ownership.
  • Proposed RSA 644:8, IV (c) relative to posting of bonds to secure the cost of keeping and caring for the animals.

These amendments to the statute would not add additional cases to the caseload of the Branch, but can add additional judicial and clerical time to cases that would have already been brought.  The proposed bill would have a potential fiscal impact to the Judicial Branch, however the impact cannot be determined.  The Branch indicated there are on average about fifteen animal cruelty cases per year in the circuit court.

 

The Municipal Association indicates it is possible that this bill would enhance the ability of municipalities that confiscate animals to receive reimbursement for the costs of caring for the animals.  The Association states any such reimbursement revenue is speculative and would depend on the facts of each case.  The Association assumes there would be no impact on municipal expenditures.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Judicial Branch and New Hampshire Municipal Association

 

 

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