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New Hampshire Law Would Fix a Cat-Dog Inequity

Drivers who kill felines would have to notify owners, as they must with dogs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 15, 2021 1:00 PM CDT
New Hampshire Bill Would Remedy a Cat-Dog Inequity
A 2018 photo of Arrow, whose death has led to legislation to require drivers who injure or kill cats to notify police or the animals' owners in New Hampshire.   (Daryl Abbas via AP)

Nine lives notwithstanding, killing a cat in a hit-and-run soon could become illegal in New Hampshire, per the AP. Forty years ago, New Hampshire passed a law that requires drivers who injure or kill dogs to notify police or the animals’ owners, or else face a $1,000 fine. Cats and other pets were left out, but the state Legislature is currently considering an expansion that would give cats and canines equal standing. Republican Rep. Daryl Abbas sponsored the bill on behalf of his wife, who found their 5-year-old cat, Arrow, dead on the street near their Salem home in July 2019. The partially blind black and gray tabby had once again achieved his “daily goal” of escaping from the house and was hit by a car, Abbas said.

“I remember telling my wife, ‘It’s an accident, we have to forgive the person,’ but I was more upset that the person didn’t stop,” he said. Abbas contacted an animal control officer, who told him there was no reporting requirement. When he expressed surprise, she suggested he contact his state representative. And so he drafted the bill himself. Abbas noted that New Hampshire law already requires people to report any property damage caused by a motor vehicle to the owner. “Literally under the law, if you were to hit a statue of a fake cat with your car, you would have to report that, but not the real cat,” he said. The bill has cleared the House and is expected to pass the Senate. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu hasn’t taken a public position on the bill, but it should be noted that his cat has its own Instagram account.

(More cats stories.)

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