email inquiry to USDA

re: Animal Welfare Act regulations

   "Barbara A.  Albright"                To:       <>                                                       
      Subject:  inquiry                                                                       

I would like to inquire why the New Hampshire Community
Technical College
and its affiliated veterinary clinics utilized for the vet technician
associate degree program is not listed as a registered/regulated
institution under the Animal Welfare Act regulations.

Thank you in advance,
Barbara Albright

Dear Ms. Albright:

Your email inquiry was referred to this office for response.  Animal Care
is the division of the USDA that is responsible for the enforcement of the
federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).  The AWA requires that minimum standards
for the humane care and use of animals be met at licensed and registered
facilities engaged in activities regulated under the law.  The AWA
regulates activities such as the use of animals in research, the exhibition
of animals to the public, the trade in exotic and wild animals, and the
wholesale trade in certain pet animals.

New Hampshire Community Technical College is not currently registered as a
research facility.  If their veterinary technician program uses live animals that they acquire for the purpose of teaching their students,they would be required to register with the USDA.  However, many such programs use client-owned animals for teaching purposes rather than acquiring live animals for teaching.  Client-owned animals are not owned by the facility but come into the facility for veterinary care.  They are not covered under the AWA.  If the school only used client-owned animals, it would not need to be registered since the AWA does not regulate veterinary client relationships or the practice of veterinary medicine.

To our knowledge New Hampshire Community Technical College does not acquire animals for teaching and is not required to be registered.  If you have information that shows the school is acquiring teaching animals, I would urge you to share that information with this agency so that we can register the facility as required.

 Thank you for your concern for these animals.

 Robert A. Willems, DVM
 Regional Animal Care Specialist
Eastern Region, Animal Care


excerpt from Pain Management and Humane Endpoints


B. The clinical signs, depending on severity and duration, that may constitute an endpoint include, but are not limited to:

  • Rapid weight loss.
  • Diarrhea, if debilitating.
  • Progressive dermatitis.
  • Rough hair coat, hunched posture, lethargy or persistent recumbency.
  • Coughing, labored breathing, nasal discharge.
  • Jaundice and/or anemia.
  • Neurological signs.
  • Bleeding from any orifice.
  • Self-induced trauma.
  • Any condition interfering with eating or drinking (e.g. difficulty with ambulation).
  • Excessive or prolonged hyperthermia or hypothermia.

New Hamphire Law, Animal Welfare Act, and APHIS

Below are some of the NH animal welfare statutes, a complete set can be found on


 RSA 437:18 Definitions. – As used in this subdivision, unless the context otherwise requires:
    I. ""Animal'' means a domestic animal, a household pet, or a wild animal in captivity.
    II. ""Owner'' means the person having the right of possession of an animal, whether such right was acquired by gift, purchase, or other means.
    III. ""Animal care center'' means any veterinary establishment, humane society, boarding kennel, or other center providing care and treatment for animals.
    IV. ""Abandoned animal'' means:
       (a) Any animal whose owner neglects or refuses to reclaim it within 7 days after the mailing of the notification provided for in RSA 437:19.
       (b) Any animal left in an animal care center by a person unknown or by an owner who, when leaving the animal, gives a false name or false address.
       (c) Any ferret in the custody of the animal care center for at least 7 days.
       (d) Any cat in the custody of the animal care center for at least 7 days which has a form of positive identification including, but not limited to a tattoo, collar, microchip, eartag, or any other form of identification approved by the commissioner of agriculture, markets, and food pursuant to rules adopted under RSA 466:13-a.
    V. ""Operator'' means the director, manager, veterinarian, or other person charged with the supervision of an animal care center.
Source. 1985, 72:1. 1998, 368:2, eff. Aug. 25, 1998.

RSA 437:22

I. It shall be unlawful for any agent acting on behalf of an animal shelter facility as defined in RSA 437:2, I, or an animal care center as defined in RSA 437:18, III, to give, release, sell, trade or transfer with or without a fee any live animal brought, caught, detained, obtained or procured by any means, to any association, corporation, individual, educational institution, laboratory, medical facility, or anyone else, for the purpose of experimentation or vivisection.

II. All animals which are put to death by an animal control officer, humane retaining facility, animal care facility, or agents acting on behalf of such a facility shall be put to death humanely using a method approved by the commissioner of the New Hampshire department of agriculture.

III. Any person who violates the provisions of paragraph I or II shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Source. 1985, 72:1. 1995, 130:4, eff. July 23, 1995.

NH RSA 644.8

I. In this section, "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.
II. In this section, "animal" means a domestic animal, a household pet or a wild animal in captivity.

II-a. In this section, "shelter" or "necessary shelter" for dogs shall mean any natural or artificial area which provides protection from the direct sunlight when that sunlight is likely to cause heat exhaustion of a dog tied or caged outside. Shelter from inclement weather shall 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 possession or custody by causing such animal to be left without supervision or adequate provision for its care, sustenance or shelter; or

(f) Otherwise negligently permits or causes any animal in his possession or custody to be subjected to cruelty, inhumane treatment or unnecessary suffering of any kind.

III-a. A person is guilty of a class B felony who purposely beats, cruelly whips, tortures, or mutilates any animal or causes any animal to be beaten, cruelly whipped, tortured, or mutilated.

IV. (a) In addition to being guilty of crimes as provided in paragraphs III and III-a, any person charged with cruelty to animals may have his or her animal confiscated by the arresting officer and, upon said person's conviction of cruelty to animals, the court may dispose of said animal in any manner it decides. Courts shall give cases in which animals have been confiscated by an arresting officer priority on the court calendar. The costs, if any, incurred in boarding and treating the animal, pending disposition of the case, and in disposing of the animal, upon a conviction of said person for cruelty to animals, shall be borne by the person so convicted. In addition, the court may prohibit any person convicted of animal cruelty from having future ownership or custody of other animals for any period of time the court deems reasonable or impose any other reasonable restrictions on the person's future ownership or custody of animals as necessary for the protection of the animals.

(b) If a person convicted of cruelty to animals appeals the conviction and any confiscated animal remains in the custody of the arresting officer or the officer's designee pending disposition of the appeal, in order for the appellant to maintain a future interest in the animal, the trial court may require the appellant to post a bond or other security in an amount not exceeding $2,000 for each animal in custody for costs expected to be incurred for the board and care of the animal during the appeal. If the conviction is affirmed on appeal, the costs incurred for the board and care of the animal shall be paid to the custodian from the posted security and the balance, if any, returned to the person who posted it.

IV-a. (a) Except as provided in subparagraph (b) any appropriate law enforcement officer, animal control officer, or officer of a duly licensed humane society may take into temporary protective custody any animal when there is probable cause to believe that it has been abused or neglected in violation of paragraphs III or III-a when there is a clear and imminent danger to the animal's health or life and there is not sufficient time to obtain a court order. Such officer shall leave a written notice indicating the type and number of animals taken into protective custody, the name of the officer, the time and date taken, the reason it was taken, the procedure to have the animal returned and any other relevant information. Such notice shall be left at the location where the animal was taken into custody. The officer shall provide for proper care and housing of any animal taken into protective custody under this paragraph. If, after 7 days, the animal has not been returned or claimed, the officer shall petition the municipal or district court seeking either permanent custody or a one-week extension of custody or shall file charges under this section. If a week's extension is granted by the court and after a period of 14 days the animal remains unclaimed, the title and custody of the animal shall rest with the officer on behalf of the officer's department or society. The department or society may dispose of the animal in any lawful and humane manner as if it were the rightful owner. If after 14 days the officer or the officer's department determines that charges should be filed under this section, the officer shall petition the court.

(b) For purposes of subparagraph (a) the investigating officer for livestock, as defined in RSA 427:38, III, shall be accompanied by a veterinarian licensed under RSA 332-B or the state veterinarian who shall set the probable cause criteria for taking the animal or animals.

(c) The provisions of RSA 284 shall not be affected by this section.

V. A veterinarian licensed to practice in the state shall be held harmless from either criminal or civil liability for any decisions made for services rendered under the provisions of this section or RSA 435:11-16. Such a veterinarian is, therefore, under this paragraph, protected from a lawsuit for his part in an investigation of cruelty to animals. Source. 1971, 518:1. 1975, 460:1. 1979, 23:1. 1981, 575:2. 1982, 8:4. 1983, 231:2. 1985, 72:3. 1989, 57:1. 1994, 234:1-3, eff. Jan. 1, 1995. 1998, 283:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1999. 1999, 152:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; 308:1, eff. Sept. 14, 1999. 2000, 4:1, eff. Feb. 4, 2000.

NH RSA 436.33

Whenever a local board of health or its executive officer, veterinarian, selectman or any person has notice of or suspects the existence of any of the diseases named in RSA 436:31, or other contagious or infectious disease among domestic animals, such board of health or person shall immediately notify the commissioner in writing, stating the grounds for such belief or suspicion. Any owner suspecting the existence of any such disease among his domestic animals shall immediately notify the commissioner in writing of such fact. Source. 1985, 72:1, eff. July 1, 1985.

NH RSA 436.92

There is hereby established, in the agriculture experiment station at the University of New Hampshire, a veterinary diagnostic laboratory for the diagnosis and early detection of infectious and contagious diseases of domestic animals which advanced medical knowledge has shown to be important to human or animal health. The laboratory shall conduct procedures in bacteriology, virology, parasitology, serology, and histological and clinical pathology and in such other subjects as the commissioner of agriculture shall direct. The laboratory shall be operated by the agriculture experiment station. Any funds made available for the operation of said laboratory shall be expended under the supervision of the commissioner of agriculture. Source. 1985, 72:1. 1995, 130:5, eff. July 23, 1995.

NH RSA 436.8

The state veterinarian, under the direction of the commissioner, shall have all of the powers of the commissioner and shall have general charge of the enforcement of this chapter, and shall devote his entire time and attention to the duties of his office. The state veterinarian shall have the power to enforce the provisions of and investigate 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. In the event the commissioner becomes incapacitated or a vacancy occurs in the office, the state veterinarian shall perform all the duties of that office during any such incapacity or until any such vacancy is filled. The commissioner may direct the state veterinarian to act for him in an official capacity whenever he may be absent from his duties.Source. 1985, 72:1. 1987, 116:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1988.