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State Pet Shop Laws: New Hampshire

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Definitions:

  • Animal: a domestic animal, household pet or wild animal in captivity. (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:18)
  • Bird: any bird used as a household pet. (N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1701.01)
  • Pet shop: any establishment licensed to keep, maintain and sell certain live animals, birds and fish at retail to the public. (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:2)

Vet Care:

  • Pet shops are prohibited from selling sick or diseased animals or birds. (Penalty: misdemeanor and max $1,000 civil fine) (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:4, N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:9)
  • Pet shops must provide vet care or euthanasia to any sick, injured, lame or blind animals. (N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1702.05)
  • Pet shops can only provide “medical treatment” to birds or animals in their custody under the supervision of a veterinarian. (Penalty: misdemeanor and max $1,000 civil fine) (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:5, N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:9)
  • Birds imported into the state by pet shops or for resale must have a vet certificate. (N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1701.02, § 2114.01)

Housing:

  • Housing for cats and dogs in pet shops must be “structurally sound” and in “good repair.” (N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1702.01)
  • Pet shop cages for cats and dogs must keep the animals clean and dry and protect the animals’ feet/legs from injury. Cages must supply sufficient space for each animal to “turn about freely” and “easily” sit, stand and lay in a normal position. Must comply with a formula for minimum floor space for dogs. Maximum of 4 adult dogs per cage. Outdoor dogs must have a tether at least 3 times the dog’s length. (N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1702.04)
  • Pet shops with outdoor facilities must supply shelter to cats and dogs during rain, snow and temperatures below 50 degrees. (N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1702.03)

Lemon Laws:

  • Dogs, cats and ferrets offered for sale by pet shops must be vaccinated and have a health certificate. (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:10)
  • Pet shops must post a notice of consumers’ rights. Pet shops must provide the buyer with a copy of the health certificate. (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:10, N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. §§ 1702.06-1702.07)
  • Lemon law that offers recourse to those who purchase sick or diseased animals from pet shops. [See N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:13 for consumer remedies for the purchase of an ill or diseased animal.]

Food and Water:

  • Anyone selling or displaying rabbits, chicks, ducklings, and goslings under 4 weeks old must keep “adequate food and water” available at all times. (Penalty: violation) (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:16, N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:17)
  • Pet shops must feed dogs and cats at least daily. The food must be free of contamination, “palatable to the individual animal,” and sufficient to meet the normal daily requirements. Self-feeders can be used for dry food. Potable water must be accessible at all times. (N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1702.05)

Sanitary Conditions:

  • Pet shops must provide for the removal of waste, bedding, dead animals and debris. (N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1702.01)
  • Pet shops must remove excreta at least daily. Cages must be sanitized before a cat or dog is placed in the cage for the first time. (N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1702.05)

Unweaned Animals:

  • Prohibits anyone from bringing into the state a dog, cat or ferret under 8 weeks old. Prohibits pet shops from offering for sale a dog, cat or ferret under 8 weeks old. (Penalty: misdemeanor, max $1,000 civil fine, and license revocation) (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:10, N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:9, N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:11)
  • Prohibits anyone from “delivering” a cat under 8 weeks old. (Penalty: misdemeanor, max $1,000 fine, and license revocation) (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:13-a, N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:11)
  • Anyone selling rabbits, chicks, ducklings, and goslings under 4 weeks old must sell the animals in quantities of 12 or more. (Penalty: violation) (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:15, N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:17)

Miscellaneous Provisions:

  • License required to sell pet animals or birds to the public as a business. (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:1, N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:3, N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:7)
  • Pet shops must be inspected every 6 months. Humane investigators can inspect the facilities at “reasonable” times. (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:8)
  • Agriculture department has enforcement authority and can inspect pet shop records. (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:13-a, N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1702.08)
  • Anyone selling or displaying rabbits, chicks, ducklings, and goslings under 4 weeks old must provide heating devices. (Penalty: violation) (N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:16, N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 437:17)
  • Pet shops must keep written records of each bird sold. Pet shops must keep written records for each animal entering the facility for 1 year after sale. (N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1701.03, § 1702.08)
  • Pet shops with indoor facilities must keep the temperature above 50 degrees for cats and dogs. Ventilation must be adequate and minimize drafts, odors and moisture condensation. Auxiliary ventilation must be provided when the temperature is 85 degrees or above. Lighting must be sufficient for routine inspection and cleaning but not provide excessive illumination of cages. (N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1702.02)
  • Pet shops with outdoor facilities must supply shelter to cats and dogs during rain, snow and temperatures below 50 degrees. (N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1702.03)
  • Prohibits the sale of a turtle less than 4 inches. (N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. Agric. § 1703.02)

Notes:

  1. Where “adequate space” is not defined the state has not established a definition for the term.
  2. The definition of “animal” may actually be broadly written while the types of animals covered by the law (e.g., veterinary care, sanitation, food and water) may be more narrowly drafted.

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