TITLE LXII. CRIMINAL CODE
CHAPTER 644. BREACHES OF
THE PEACE AND RELATED OFFENSES
Cruelty to Animals
I. In this section, "cruelty" shall include,
but not be limited to, acts or omissions injurious or detrimental to the health,
safety or welfare of any animal, including the abandoning of any animal without
proper provision for its care, sustenance, protection or shelter.
this section, "animal" means a domestic animal, a household pet or a
wild animal in captivity.
II-a. In this section, "shelter" or
"necessary shelter" for dogs shall mean any natural or artificial area
which provides protection from the direct sunlight when that sunlight is likely
to cause heat exhaustion of a dog tied or caged outside. Shelter from inclement
weather shall have an area within to afford the dog the ability to stand up, turn
around and lie down, and be of proportionate size as to allow the natural body
heat of the dog to be retained.
III. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor
for a first offense, and of a class B felony for a second or subsequent offense,
(a) Without lawful authority negligently deprives or causes to be
deprived any animal in his possession or custody necessary care, sustenance or
(b) Negligently beats, cruelly whips, tortures, mutilates or in
any other manner mistreats or causes to be mistreated any animal;
overdrives, overworks, drives when overloaded, or otherwise abuses or misuses
any animal intended for or used for labor;
(d) Negligently transports any
animal in his possession or custody in a manner injurious to the health, safety
or physical well-being of such animal;
(e) Negligently abandons any animal
previously in his possession or custody by causing such animal to be left without
supervision or adequate provision for its care, sustenance or shelter; or
Otherwise negligently permits or causes any animal in his possession or custody
to be subjected to cruelty, inhumane treatment or unnecessary suffering of any
III-a. A person is guilty of a class B felony who purposely beats,
cruelly whips, tortures, or mutilates any animal or causes any animal to be beaten,
cruelly whipped, tortured, or mutilated.
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.
The costs, 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. In addition,
the court may prohibit any person convicted of animal cruelty from having future
ownership or custody of 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.
If a person convicted of cruelty to animals appeals the conviction and any confiscated
animal remains in the custody of the arresting officer or the officer's designee
pending disposition of the appeal, in order for the appellant to maintain a future
interest in the animal, the trial 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. If the conviction is affirmed on appeal, the costs incurred for the
board and care of the animal shall be paid to the custodian from the posted security
and the balance, if any, returned to the person who posted it.
Except as provided in subparagraph (b) any appropriate law enforcement officer,
animal control officer, or officer of a duly licensed humane society may take
into temporary protective custody any animal when there is probable cause to believe
that it has been abused or neglected in violation of paragraphs III or III-a when
there is a clear and imminent danger to the animal's health or life and there
is not sufficient time to obtain a court order. Such officer shall leave a written
notice indicating the type and number of animals taken into protective custody,
the name of the officer, the time and date taken, the reason it was taken, the
procedure to have the animal returned and any other relevant information. Such
notice shall be left at the location where the animal was taken into custody.
The officer shall provide for proper care and housing of any animal taken into
protective custody under this paragraph. If, after 7 days, the animal has not
been returned or claimed, the officer shall petition the municipal or district
court seeking either permanent custody or a one-week extension of custody or shall
file charges under this section. If a week's extension is granted by the court
and after a period of 14 days the animal remains unclaimed, the title and custody
of the animal shall rest with the officer on behalf of the officer's department
or society. The department or society may dispose of the animal in any lawful
and humane manner as if it were the rightful owner. If after 14 days the officer
or the officer's department determines that charges should be filed under this
section, the officer shall petition the court.
(b) For purposes of subparagraph
(a) the investigating officer for livestock, as defined in RSA 427:38, III, shall
be accompanied by a veterinarian licensed under RSA 332-B or the state veterinarian
who shall set the probable cause criteria for taking the animal or animals.
The provisions of RSA 284 shall not be affected by this section.
V. A veterinarian licensed to practice in the state shall be held
harmless from either criminal or civil liability for any decisions
made for services rendered under the provisions of this section
or RSA 435:11-16. Such a veterinarian is, therefore, under this
paragraph, protected from a lawsuit for his part in an investigation
of cruelty to animals.
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