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Report Animal Cruelty

What is animal cruelty?

Animal cruelty can encompass many different acts of neglect and abuse. This can include acts of neglect like not providing proper shelter, and acts of intentional abuse. Some instances of neglect are unintentional and can be resolved with intervention and education.  The language of the law is very specific as to what defines cruelty to animals, as listed under our NH Criminal Code, RSA 644:8

When to Report

If you are suspicious of animal cruelty it is best to speak to someone about what you are seeing. Animals cannot speak for themselves and rely on people like you to keep them safe. It has been proven time and again that there is a link between cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans, which means reporting animal abuse may help vulnerable humans too. Learn more about the link between animal abuse and domestic abuse here.


How to Report

If you are (presently) witnessing what you suspect to be animal abuse or neglect please contact your local police department right away. This is especially critical if the animal/s are in imminent danger. 

If the situation is something you have witnessed recently and you are not sure if what you have witnessed constitutes abuse or neglect, please contact the Animal Rescue League of NH to best determine if law enforcement should be contacted.

Please make sure to gather any information you can. Addresses, detailed descriptions and names are all incredibly helpful.

New Hampshire Law

RSA 644:8, Cruelty to Animals

"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.

"shelter" or "necessary shelter" for dogs shall mean any natural or artificial area which provides protection from the direct sunlight and adequate air circulation when that sunlight is likely to cause heat exhaustion of a dog tied or caged outside. Shelter from the weather shall allow the dog to remain clean and dry. Shelter shall be structurally sound and 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, who:
      (a) Without lawful authority negligently deprives or causes to be deprived any animal in his possession or custody necessary care, sustenance or shelter;
     (b) Negligently beats, cruelly whips, tortures, mutilates or in any other manner mistreats or causes to be mistreated any animal;
    (c) Negligently 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 or her possession or custody by causing such animal to be left without supervision or adequate provision for its care, sustenance, or shelter;
    (f) Has in his or her possession an equine colt that is less than 90 days old that is not being nursed by its dam, unless the colt was born in this state, and its dam has died within this state before the colt became 90 days old;
   (g) Sells an equine colt that is less than 90 days old that is not being nursed by its dam; or
   (h) Otherwise negligently permits or causes any animal in his or her possession or custody to be subjected to cruelty, inhumane treatment, or unnecessary suffering of any kind.

Chapter 437, Sale of pets and disposition of unclaimed animals


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