Under this section, a dog is considered to be a nuisance, a menace, or vicious to persons or to property if it is "at large," if it barks for sustained periods, if it chases cars continuously, or if it growls, snaps at or bites persons. If a dog bites a person and breaks the skin, the animal control officer must inform the victim whether the dog was vaccinated against rabies within 24 hours.
466:31 Dogs a Menace, a Nuisance or Vicious.
II. Under this section, a dog is considered to be a nuisance, a menace, or vicious to persons or to property under any or all but not limited to the following conditions:
(a) If a dog is "at large," which means it is off the premises of the owner or keeper and not under the control of any person by means of personal presence and attention as will reasonably control the conduct of such dog, unless accompanied by the owner or custodian. This subparagraph shall not include a dog which is being used for hunting, supervised competition, exhibition, or training for such activities if accompanied by the owner or custodian, or a dog which is guarding, working, or herding livestock, as defined in RSA 21: 34-a, II(a)(4), meaning that the owner or custodian must be able to see or hear the dog, or have reasonable knowledge of where the dog is hunting or herding, or where training is being conducted or where trials are being held, provided that such dog does not have to be within sight at all time;
(b) If it barks for sustained periods of more than 1/2 hour, or during the night hours so as to disturb the peace and quiet of a neighborhood or area, not including a dog which is guarding, working, or herding livestock, as defined in RSA 21:34-a, II(a)(4);
(c) If it digs, scratches, or excretes, or causes waste or garbage to be scattered on property other than its owner's;
(d) If any female dog in season (heat) is permitted to run at large or be off the premises of the owner or keeper during this period except when being exercised on a leash by a responsible adult. At all other times such dog shall be confined within a building or enclosure in such manner that she will not come in contact (except for intentional breeding purposes) with a male dog. A female dog in heat shall not be used for hunting;
(e) If it growls, snaps at, runs after, or chases any person or persons not on the premises of the owner or keeper;
(f) If it runs after, or chases bicycles, motor vehicles, motorcycles, or other vehicles being driven, pulled or pushed on the streets, highways, or public ways;
(g) If, whether alone or in a pack with other dogs, it bites, attacks, or preys on game animals, domestic animals, fowl or human beings.
II-a. If the skin of a person has been punctured by a dog and the incident was reported, including the identity of the dog and its owner, to the animal officer, if any, or to the town clerk, such officer or clerk shall, within 24 hours, notify the injured person, or, in the case of a minor, the minor's parent or guardian, whether, according to town records, the dog has been appropriately immunized against rabies.
III. (a) Any person who fails, by appropriate action including but not limited to restraining an animal from running at large, or otherwise effectively abating a nuisance found such under the provisions of this section, or who fails to comply with any other provisions of this section after being so ordered, shall have the person's dog taken into custody by the police of the city, constable of the town, or other person authorized by the town and such disposition made of the dog as the court may order.
(b) Notwithstanding RSA 466:31-a, if a law enforcement officer does not witness the nuisance behavior, the name of the complainant shall be released as public information before any fine under RSA 466:31-a shall be levied.
Source. 1951, 52:1. RSA 466:31. 1957, 148:1. 1967, 294:1. 1969, 239:1. 1973, 531:125. 1977, 222:1. 1989, 158:4. 1994, 353:10, 14, 1995, 298:20, eff. Jan. 1, 1996. 2006, 11:2, eff. March 3, 2006. 2007, 244:1, eff. Aug. 27, 2007.
I. Any person who violates any provision of RSA 466:31 shall be guilty of a violation; provided that if such person chooses to pay the civil forfeiture specified in paragraph II, the person shall be deemed to have waived the right to have the case heard in district or municipal court and shall not be prosecuted or found guilty of a violation of RSA 466:31. Any person who does not pay the civil forfeiture specified in paragraph II shall have the case disposed of in district or municipal court.
II. Any person who violates any of the provisions of RSA 466:31 shall be liable for a civil forfeiture, which shall be paid to the clerk of the town or city wherein such dog is owned or kept within 96 hours of the date and time notice is given by any law enforcement officer or other person authorized by the town to the owner or keeper of a dog in violation of RSA 466:31. If the forfeiture is paid, said payment shall be in full satisfaction of the assessed penalty. The forfeiture shall be in the amount as specified for the following violations:
(a) $25 for the first nuisance offense under RSA 466:31, II(a), (b), (c) or (d); $100 for the second or subsequent nuisance offense committed within 12 months of the first nuisance offense under RSA 466:31, II(a), (b), (c) or (d).
(b) $50 for the first menace offense under RSA 466:31, II(e) or (f); $200 for the second or subsequent menace offense committed within 12 months of the first menace offense under RSA 466:31, II(e) or (f).
(c) $100 for the first vicious offense under RSA 466:31, II(g).
(d) $400 for the second or subsequent vicious offense committed within 12 months of the first vicious offense under RSA 466:31, II(g).
III. Any person who pays a civil forfeiture specified in paragraph II 2 times in any 12-month period according to the records of the town or city clerk, may not pay a civil forfeiture for subsequent violations of RSA 466:31 in that 12-month period, but shall have those cases disposed of in district or municipal court. In the case of a vicious dog, as described by RSA 466:31, II(g), where its behavior presents a threat to public safety, immediate district court or municipal court proceedings may be initiated in lieu of the civil forfeiture.
Source. 1977, 222:2. 1989, 158:5, 6. 1994, 353:11, 12. 1995, 298:21, eff. Jan. 1, 1996. 2007, 244:2, eff. Aug. 27, 2007; 339:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2008.