Horse Licensing Bill Scrapped after Protest

A New Hampshire lawmaker scrapped mandatory horse licensing legislation after angry horse owners protested the measure on grounds that it would be financially burdensome.

The bill, HB 427, required owners to obtain licenses for each of their horses age 4 months and older at a cost of $25 per horse. Proof of rabies vaccination by a licensed veterinarian was a requirement for getting such a license. Municipal animal control departments, the state's general fund, and the state veterinarian's fund would share in revenues.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Carla Skinder rescinded the legislation on Tuesday after more than 100 horse owners attended a state House of Representatives hearing on bill. She was unavailable for comment.

Opponents claimed that the combined cost of license, veterinarian's fees, and vaccines, would total $75 per horse, pinching owners and putting horses at risk.

"It was originally intended to address the unwanted horse issue, but it would probably make matters worse," said New Hampshire Horse Council President Laurie Weir.

Others worried the bill would encourage future legislation to reclassify horses as domestic animals.

"That can affect all sorts of farm and agricultural issues," said farm operator Kimberly Carlton. "It's a very slippery slope."

New Hampshire law prohibits Skinder from reintroducing the bill until 2011.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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