Animal Cruelty

Have you witnessed a crime involving animals? Do you suspect an animal is being mistreated?

Please contact your local police department immediately.

What To Do
  • Your first point of contact should always be local law enforcement – this is the only group that can enforce animal cruelty laws.
  • In some cases you may have to leave information and have the town Police Department or Animal Control Officer (ACO) call you back.
  • Whenever legally acceptable, document evidence of the cruelty/neglect with photo or video footage.

Complaints under RSA 644:8, 644:8-a, 644:8-aa and any other law pertaining to the abuse of domestic animals, as defined under RSA 436:1, shall initially be filed with the local law enforcement agency, animal control officer, state police, or sheriff which has jurisdiction over where the animal is located or kept.

What NOT to do:
  • Do not post pictures, video or details of a potential situation on social media. This could alert the perpetrator that law enforcement is on the way.
  • Do not trespass on private property. Any videos or pictures must be taken from public property or seen from the road per NH law. Trespassing can put you, law enforcement, and the animals at risk.
New Hampshire Laws

(RSA 644:8) Cruelty to Animals

  • Depriving an animal of necessary care, sustenance or shelter.
  • Negligently beating, cruelly whipping, torturing, mutilating or mistreatment of animals.
  • Negligently overworking, or misusing any animal intended for labor.
  • Negligently transporting an animal in a manner injurious to the health, safety or physical well-being of such animal. (i.e. transporting loose dogs in the back of a pick up truck is illegal.)
  • Negligently abandoning any animal previously in his possession leaving it without supervision or adequate care, sustenance or shelter.

Animal Fighting (RSA 644:8-a)

  • No person shall keep, breed, or train any bird, dog, or other animal, with the intent that it or its offspring shall be engaged or used in an exhibition of fighting, or shall establish or promote an exhibition of the fighting thereof. Whoever violates the provisions of this paragraph shall be guilty of a class B felony.
  • Any person present at any place or building when preparations are being made for an exhibition of such fighting with intent to be present at such exhibition, or present at, aiding in or contributing to, such an exhibition, shall be guilty of a class B felony.

Animals in Motor Vehicles (RSA 644:8-aa)

  • It shall be cruelty to confine an animal in a motor vehicle or other enclosed space in which the temperature is either so high or so low as to cause serious harm to the animal.
  • Any person in violation of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor as set forth in RSA 644:8.
  • Any law enforcement officer or agent of a licensed humane organization may take action necessary to rescue a confined animal endangered by extreme temperatures, and to remove the threat of further serious harm.

Equine Shelter Requirements (RSA 435:14)

  • Adequately ventilated, dry barn with stalls of sufficient size so that the horse is able to lie down, and shall be provided adequate and suitable exercise in arenas, barn yards, paddocks, or pastures.
  • A roofed shelter, with at least 3 sides from November 1st – April 15th, shall be provided for horses kept in paddocks or pastures, and said horses shall not be kept tied but shall be able to move around freely.