Would you trust this baby to anyone you have not checked out? professional Pet Sitting Etc.

Do you have a free Pet?  Or a pet for Sale?

 How do the animal laws in NH affect you?

 Author, Dorinne Whynott, Owner of Professional Pet Sitting Etc.


Every state has its own laws pertaining to animals of all shapes, sizes and breeds.  Our state of New Hampshire is no different.

When I became certified for Animal Abuse Investigation, we had to know and study all of the laws pertaining to animals in the state of New Hampshire.

In this article, we will be focusing on the two laws that pertain to any person, business or organization that has animals to give away free of charge or for an adoption fee, re-homing fee or just being sold.

The two laws here go together and I will explain what they mean.  Keep in mind that the laws were put in place to protect the public and to protect the animals that are being placed.  So, we may not like them but they do have a place.  If everyone were making sure the pets they were placing were healthy, up to date on vaccines and were giving these pets happy, healthy forever homes, then maybe these laws would not be needed.


Here are the NH Animals Laws (actual links to these laws are at the end)–

The actual Laws are in BLACK

Explanation is in RED


Transfer of Animals and Birds

Section 437:1

 437:1 License Required. – No person, firm, corporation or other entity shall engage in the business of transferring with or without a fee or donation required, to the public, live animals or birds customarily used as household pets unless the premises on which they are housed, harbored or displayed for such purposes are duly licensed and inspected by the department of agriculture, markets, and food of the state of New Hampshire.


This section shall also apply to commercial kennels and to any person, firm, corporation, or other entity engaged in the business of, including activity as a broker, transferring live animals or birds customarily used as household pets for transfer to the public, with or without a fee required, and whether or not a physical facility is owned by the licensee in New Hampshire when transfer to the final owner occurs within New Hampshire. These provisions shall not effect the provisions of RSA 437:7.

What does this all mean?  It means that ANY person transferring ownership to another person must be licensed.  A license is $200 per year. This means that whether you have one pet or one litter of kittens or 100 pets, the law states that you must be licensed. 

 This pertains to ANY person giving an animal away for FREE or if there is a fee. 

So, again, this means ANY person.  You do not have to be a breeder, you do not have to have a store, you do not have to be asking a price.

Does this mean that if you are re-homing one pet or one litter that you need to have a license? Technically, yes but you probably will be fine.  However, if you are rehoming more than a pet or litter, someone may notice and fines may be involved.  If you are planning on doing it more, I would suggest applying for a license. It is easier to comply than worry. 

See the definitions BELOW  for “Broker” and “transfer” . 

If you are looking for a home for your unwanted litter of kittens you will be acting as a “Broker” negotiating finding them homes. 

When you find a home, you will be “transferring” ownership to a member of the public.


Section 437:2

    437:2 Definitions. – In this chapter:
I. “Animal shelter facility” means a facility, including the building and the immediate surrounding area, which is used to house or contain animals and which is owned, operated and maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals or other nonprofit organization devoted to the welfare, protection and humane treatment of animals, and also a public pound for the housing of strays or a pound operated by any person, excluding veterinarians, who contracts with a municipality to serve that function.
I-a. “Commercial kennel” means any person, business, corporation, or other entity that transfers 10 or more litters or 50 or more puppies in any 12-month period.
II. “Department” means the state department of agriculture, markets, and food.
III. “Pet shop” means any establishment licensed to keep, maintain, and transfer certain live animals, birds, and fish at retail to the public.
IV. [Repealed.]
V. “Broker” means any individual or entity acting as agent or intermediary in negotiating or transferring dogs, cats, or ferrets when transfer to the final owner occurs in New Hampshire.
VI. “Transfer” means transfer of ownership of live animals, birds, or fish from any person, firm, corporation, or other entity to a member of the public.


Section 437:10

 437:10 Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets. –
I. No dog, cat, or ferret shall be offered for transfer by a licensee without first being protected against infectious diseases using a vaccine approved by the state veterinarian. No dog, cat, bird, or ferret shall be offered for transfer by a licensee unless accompanied by an official health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian. No transfer shall occur unless the transferred animal or bird is accompanied by a health certificate issued within the prior 14 days. Said certificate shall be in triplicate, one copy of which shall be sent to the state veterinarian, one copy of which shall be for the licensee’s records, and one copy of which shall be given to the transferee upon transfer as provided in paragraph II. If an official health certificate is produced, it shall be prima facie evidence of transfer.


So what does all of this mean??

Well, it means that ANY person giving any animal away for FREE or being sold must be licensed as stated in the first section. Now all of these people are referred to here as “Licensees”.


It is required that all dogs, cats and ferrets being transferred to a new owner must be vaccinated according to what is appropriate for the age of the pet AND a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian that is less than 14 days old.
II. The original of the official health certificate accompanying the dog, cat, or ferret offered for transfer by a licensee shall be kept on the premises where dogs, cats, and ferrets are displayed, and made available for inspection upon request. The public will be informed of their right to inspect the health certificate for each dog, cat, or ferret by a sign prominently displayed in the area where the dogs, cats, or ferrets are displayed. Upon transfer of the dog, cat, or ferret, this health certificate shall be updated by the licensee if any other medication or treatment has been given by a licensed veterinarian or the licensee to the dog, cat, or ferret and shall be given to the transferee in addition to any other documents which are customarily delivered to the transferee. The transferee may accept a dog, cat, or ferret that has a noncontagious illness that has caused it to fail its examination by a licensed veterinarian for an official health certificate under paragraph I; the transferee shall sign a waiver that indicates the transferee has knowledge of the dog, cat, or ferret’s noncontagious medical condition and then submit such waiver to the licensee who shall send a copy to the state veterinarian.


This means that if you do sell or give any pet away for free, that you are to keep a copy of the health certificate.  If there is any question by anyone as to the health of the pet, you must make it available. The health certificate shall include any and all medicines and treatments along with any other medical documentation and all copies given to the new owner.


If a pet fails to have a clean bill of health, making it unable to obtain a health certificate, if the animal has something that is Not contagious, then the new owner can sign a waiver acknowledging the medical condition and a copy is sent to the state.
    III. Animal shelter facilities, as defined in RSA 437:2, I, are exempt from the requirements of this section relative to transferring dogs, cats, and ferrets except that: 
       (a) All animal shelter facilities shall have on premises a microchip scanner and shall maintain a file of recognized pet retrieval agencies including but not limited to national tattoo or microchip registries. 
       (b) Where an owner is not known, all animal shelter facilities shall inspect for tattoos, ear tags, or other permanent forms of positive identification and shall scan for a microchip upon admission of an unclaimed or abandoned animal as defined in RSA 437:18, IV and prior to transferring ownership of an unclaimed or abandoned animal. 
       (c) All animal shelters shall comply with the provisions of RSA 437:10, V and RSA 437:13-a, IV. 

The above pertains to all rescues and shelters
IV. No person, firm, or corporation shall ship or bring into the state of New Hampshire, to offer for transfer in the state of New Hampshire, any cat, dog, or ferret less than 8 weeks of age. No licensee shall offer for transfer any cat, dog, or ferret less than 8 weeks of age.

The above states that NO person shall bring into the state of New Hampshire any pet under 8 weeks of age

Also, no animal in the state can be transferred to a new owner less than 8 weeks of age
V. Once a dog, cat, or ferret intended for transfer has entered the state, it shall be held at least 48 hours at a facility licensed under RSA 437:1 or at a facility operated by a licensed veterinarian separated from other animals on the premises before being offered for transfer.


The above states that any animal transferred into the state of NH must be held at a licensed facility for 48 hours before going to a new owner



If reported that a person is transferring animals without a valid health certificate, people have reported being fined $600-1000 per animal.


If you are selling or asking for a fee for any animals and you are making over $600 in a calendar year, that income must be reported to the IRS and taxes must be paid on that income.  Failure to do so, could also result in fines.




ANY person, firm, corporation or entity (like a shelter, rescue, business, group, etc) who has one pet or many, whether they are for FREE or for sale


Must –

Obtain a license

Pets must be 8 weeks or older

Pets must be up to date on vaccines

Pets must have a health certificate dated within 14 days


If you are bringing pets into NH from out of state

You must have these pets held at a licensed facility for 48 hours AND do the above before they can go to a new home


Again, Does this mean that if you have one pet or one litter someone is going to come and arrest you for not being licensed?  Probably not.

However, if you continually, have litters for free or being sold,

or you are finding free or low cost pets and re-homing them (pet flipping),

or you find pets out of state (see section 437:10 for more laws on this) and bring them into NH to find homes,

then at some point there is the probability that someone will come to enforce this.


If you are getting a new pet, at the very least  know the following–


Does the pets and premises look and smell clean and healthy

No runny eyes, no sneezing, no coughing

Are the pets at least 8 weeks or older (kittens and puppies need that development with their mom and siblings until then, it is very important for them mentally and medically)

Do they have all the vaccines required for their age


Wouldn’t the worst thing be to find that your pet ended up being used to train a dog for fighting?  If you think that does not happen in NH, think again.

Or that you find the most amazing pet, bring him home, only to find two days later he is sick and the vet tells you he has a debilitating disease and that FREE pet will now cost $3000!!


All of this information is not meant to be annoying but to help you find great forever homes if you need to and to help you find amazing healthy pets to enjoy.


Here are two other articles that I have written to help find safe homes and help obtain

Healthy pets, please use them whenever you need to –


What to ask when you need to find a home for your pet

What to ask when you are looking for a new pet


Here is a link to all of the NH Animal Laws

Here is a link to NH Animal Cruelty Laws


Happy pet Owning !!




About the Owner/Author

Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional.  She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History. 

Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990.  It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH.  Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook pageGoogle+ page and more.  They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.

Click For a Complete List of all of our educational Blogs

Go to Professional Pet Sitting Etc. Website for more information on the best pet sitting company or click on “New Client” to contact us or register for dog walking or pet care.

Contact us by phone at 603-888-8088


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