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Rhode Island

Consolidated Assistance/Service Animal Laws

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: Gen. Laws, 1956, 4-13-4, 4-13-16.1, 39-2-13, 31-18-14 - 16.1, 34-37-4, 40-9.1-1 - 1.5

Citation: RI ST 4-13-4, 4-13-16.1, 39-2-13, 31-18-14 - 16.1, 34-37-4, 40-9.1-1 - 1.5


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 12/2013

Summary:   The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance/service animal laws.


Statute in Full:

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 4. Animals and Animal Husbandry. Chapter 13. Dogs

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 39. Public Utilities and Carriers. Chapter 2. Duties of Utilities and Carriers

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 4. Animals and Animal Husbandry. Chapter 13. Dogs

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 31. Motor and Other Vehicles. Chapter 18. Pedestrians. 

 
 
 

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 34. Property. Chapter 37. Rhode Island Fair Housing Practices Act.

 
 
 

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 4. Animals and Animal Husbandry. Chapter 13. Dogs

4-13-16.1. Injury to seeing-eye dogs or persons who are visually impaired-- Damages. --

If any dog kills, wounds, or worries, or assists in killing, wounding, or worrying, any seeing-eye dog certified for use as a guide-dog for a person who is blind or visually impaired, belonging to or in the possession of any person who is blind or visually impaired and under harness or engaged in the act of guiding its owner, or if any dog assaults, bites, or otherwise injures any person who is blind or visually impaired while traveling the highway or out of the enclosure of the owner or keeper of that dog, the owner or keeper of the dog shall be liable to the person who is blind or visually impaired aggrieved for double all damages sustained, to be recovered in a civil action, with costs of suit. If afterwards this damage is done by that dog, the owner or keeper of the dog shall pay to the party aggrieved treble damages, to be recovered in the same manner, and an order shall be made by the court before whom the second recovery is made, for killing the dog. The order shall be executed by the officer charged with the execution of the order and it shall not be necessary, in order to sustain this action, to prove that the owner or keeper of this dog knew that the dog was accustomed to causing these damages.

P.L. 1979, ch. 374, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 83, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 130, § 1.

 

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 39. Public Utilities and Carriers. Chapter 2. Duties of Utilities and Carriers

§ 39-2-13. Admission of guide dogs

Any blind or deaf person, who uses the services of a seeing-eye guide dog, or personal assistance animal or a hearing-ear signal dog, clearly identified as such by a yellow harness and trained by a recognized training agency or school, may enter any public facility of any public utility or common carrier in this state, and when riding on any bus or other public utility or common carrier, engaged in the transportation of passengers or when riding in any elevator in this state where a landlord has the elevator operated for the use of his tenants and their visitors, or while in any building in this state open to the public, may keep the animal in his or her immediate custody; and the person shall not be required to pay any charge or fare, for or on account of the transportation thereon of him or herself and any dog so accompanying him or her, in addition to the charge of fare lawfully chargeable for his or her own transportation; provided, however, the provisions of this section shall not apply to railroad sleeping, parlor, club, buffet, or lounge cars.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1938, ch. 2595, § 1; P.L. 1969, ch. 240, § 3; P.L. 1979, ch. 159, § 3; P.L. 1997, ch. 85, § 3.
 
 

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 4. Animals and Animal Husbandry. Chapter 13. Dogs

§ 4-13-4. Dog licenses--Fees--Penalties

(a)(1) Every owner or keeper of a dog shall annually in April obtain a license effective May 1 in the office of the city or town clerk of the city or town in which the owner or keeper resides.

(2) The fees for the license shall be five dollars ($5.00).

(3) No city or town shall issue any license under this section unless the dog has been inoculated against rabies for the period of time which the license would be valid.

(4) All licenses issued under the provisions of this chapter shall be valid in every city or town during the then current year.

(5) Any person who becomes the owner or keeper of a dog shall obtain a license within thirty (30) days after he or she becomes the owner or keeper.

(6)(i) The Cumberland town clerk may issue a license renewable every two (2) years for a licensing fee of six dollars ($6.00).

(ii) Glocester town council may provide for an annual licensing fee of fourteen dollars ($14.00) for all dogs except spayed or neutered females and males and for an annual licensing fee of seven dollars ($7.00) for spayed or neutered female and male dogs.

(iii) Jamestown town council may provide by ordinance for an annual licensing fee not to exceed fifteen dollars ($15.00) for neutered dogs, and not to exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for unneutered dogs.

(iv) Newport city council may, however, provide by ordinance for an annual licensing fee of not more than ten dollars ($10.00) for all spayed and neutered dogs, and for an annual licensing fee of not more than fifteen dollars ($15.00) for unspayed females and unneutered males.

(v) North Smithfield town council may provide by ordinance for an annual licensing fee of five dollars ($5.00) for all dogs.

(vi)(A) South Kingstown town council may provide for an annual licensing fee of twelve dollars ($12.00) for all dogs except spayed or neutered females and male dogs and for an annual licensing fee of seven dollars ($7.00) for spayed or neutered female and male dogs.

(B) The South Kingstown town council may assess an impound fee.

(vii)(A) Westerly town council may provide by ordinance for an annual license fee of ten dollars ($10.00) for unspayed female dogs and unneutered male dogs;

(B) May provide for a fee of one dollar ($1.00) for the replacement of lost dog tags;

(C) May provide that no fee be charged to license guide dogs used by persons with disabilities;

(D) May provide for the number of licenced dogs which may be kept at any single-family residence, other than a breeding kennel; and

(E) May provide for pecuniary penalties not exceeding twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for violations.

(viii) Woonsocket city council may provide by ordinance for an annual licensing fee of five dollars ($5.00) for all dogs.

(ix)(A) West Warwick town council may provide by ordinance for an annual license fee of seven dollars ($7.00) for each neutered male or spayed female and fifteen dollars ($15.00) for each unneutered male and unspayed female.

(B) May provide by ordinance for a payment of a two dollars ($2.00) fee for duplicate or for replacement tags.

(x)(A) Pawtucket city council may provide by ordinance for an annual licensing fee not to exceed fifteen dollars ($15.00) for spayed or neutered dogs, and not to exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for unspayed or unneutered dogs.

(B) May provide by ordinance for an annual licensing fee for dogs owned by residents age 65 or older not to exceed five dollars ($5.00) for spayed or neutered dogs, and not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00) for unspayed or unneutered dogs.

(xi) Scituate town council may provide by ordinance for an annual license fee not to exceed twenty ($20.00) dollars for all dogs.

(xii) Burrillville town council may:

(A) Provide by ordinance for an annual licensing fee of not more than ten dollars ($10.00) for all dogs; and

(B) Provide for pecuniary penalties not exceeding twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for violations.

(b) Every person, owning or keeping a dog not licensed and/or collared according to the provisions of this chapter, shall be fined ten dollars ($10. 00) to be applied to the support of the city or town, and that fine shall be in addition to all other lawful fees.

(c) Any city or town may waive the fee to be charged to license guide dogs used by persons with disabilities.

(d) In the city of Woonsocket, every person owning or keeping a dog not licensed and/or collared according to the provisions of this chapter shall be fined fifty dollars ($50.00) for the first offense, one hundred dollars ($100) for the second offense and one hundred fifty dollars ($150) for the third and subsequent offenses.

CREDIT(S)
P.L. 1970, ch. 196, § 1; P.L. 1978, ch. 162, § 1; P.L. 1982, ch. 157, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 112, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 445, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 4, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 43, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 124, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 125, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 70, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 307, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 35, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 220, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 281, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 242, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 35, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 83, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 130, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 144, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 401, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 418, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 72, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 372, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 257, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 292, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 196, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 216, § 1; P.L. 2008, ch. 268, § 1, eff. July 8, 2008; P.L. 2008, ch. 358, § 1, eff. July 5, 2008; P.L. 2010, ch. 197, § 1, eff. June 25, 2010; P.L. 2010, ch. 225, § 1, eff. June 25, 2010.
Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 8; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 8; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 8; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 8.
 
 

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 31. Motor and Other Vehicles. Chapter 18. Pedestrians.

 
§ 31-18-14. Full stop for pedestrian with guide dog or white cane
 
Whenever a pedestrian is crossing or attempting to cross a public street or highway guided by a seeing-eye guide dog or a hearing-ear signal dog clearly identified as such by a yellow harness, which has been trained and educated to guide and assist the pedestrian in traveling upon the public streets; or carrying in a raised or extended position a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white tipped with red, the driver of every vehicle approaching the intersection, or place where the pedestrian is attempting to cross, shall bring his or her vehicle to a full stop before arriving at the intersection or place of crossing, and before proceeding shall take any precautions that may be necessary to avoid injuring the pedestrian.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1949, ch. 2255, § 2; P.L. 1979, ch. 159, § 1.
 
 
§ 31-18-15. Pedestrians who are blind or deaf not guided by dog or carrying white cane

Nothing contained in §§ 31-18-13 -- 31-18-16 shall be construed to deprive any person who is blind, visually impaired, or deaf, but not carrying a cane or walking stick, or not being guided by a dog, of the rights and privileges conferred by law upon pedestrians crossing streets or highways. In no case shall the failure of the person who is blind, visually impaired or deaf to carry a cane or walking stick, or to be guided by a guide or signal dog upon the streets, highways, or sidewalks of this state, be held to constitute nor be evidence of contributory negligence.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1949, ch. 2255, § 3; P.L. 1979, ch. 159, § 2; P.L. 1999, ch. 83, § 70; P.L. 1999, ch. 130, § 70.
 
 
§ 31-18-16. Penalty for violations as to people who are blind

Any person who violates any provision of §§ 31-18-13 -- 31-18-15, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to pay a fine not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

CREDIT(S)
P.L. 1949, ch. 2255, § 4; P.L. 1981, ch. 62, § 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 284, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 383, § 5.
 
 
§ 31-18-16.1. Failure to stop on red signal for blind person at intersection

Any person who shall violate the provisions of § 31-13-6(3)(i) at an intersection where a pedestrian is crossing or attempting to cross a public street or highway guided by a seeing-eye dog or a hearing-ear signal dog, clearly identified by a yellow harness, which has been trained and educated to guide and assist the pedestrian in traveling upon the public streets, or carrying in a raised or extended position a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white tipped with red, shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1985, ch. 78, § 1.
 
 

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 34. Property. Chapter 37. Rhode Island Fair Housing Practices Act.

 
§ 34-37-4. Unlawful housing practices

(a) No owner having the right to sell, rent, lease, or manage a housing accommodation as defined in § 34-37-3(11), or an agent of any of these shall, directly or indirectly, make or cause to be made any written or oral inquiry concerning the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, country of ancestral origin or disability, age, familial status nor make any written or oral inquiry concerning whether a tenant or applicant, or a member of the household, is or has been, or is threatened with being, the victim of domestic abuse, or whether a tenant or applicant has obtained, or sought, or is seeking, relief from any court in the form of a restraining order for protection from domestic abuse, of any prospective purchaser, occupant, or tenant of the housing accommodation; or shall, directly or indirectly, refuse to sell, rent, lease, let, or otherwise deny to or withhold from any individual the housing accommodation because of the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, country of ancestral origin, disability, age, or familial status of the individual or the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, country of ancestral origin or disability, age, or familial status of any person with whom the individual is or may wish to be associated; or shall, or on the basis that a tenant or applicant, or a member of the household, is or has been, or is threatened with being, the victim of domestic abuse, or that the tenant or applicant has obtained, or sought, or is seeking, relief from any court in the form of a restraining order for protection from domestic abuse. Nor shall an owner having the right to sell, rent, lease, or manage a housing accommodation as defined in § 34-37-3(11), or an agent of any of these, directly or indirectly, issue any advertisement relating to the sale, rental, or lease of the housing accommodation which indicates any preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, country of ancestral origin, disability, age, familial status, or on the basis that a tenant or applicant, or a member of the household, is or has been, or is threatened with being, the victim of domestic abuse, or that the tenant or applicant has obtained, or sought, or is seeking, relief from any court in the form of a restraining order for protection from domestic abuse, or shall, directly or indirectly, discriminate against any individual because of his or her race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, country of ancestral origin, disability, age, familial status, or on the basis that a tenant or applicant, or a member of the household, is or has been, or is threatened with being, the victim of domestic abuse, or that the tenant or applicant has obtained, or sought, or is seeking, relief from any court in the form of a restraining order for protection from domestic abuse, in the terms, conditions, or privileges of the sale, rental, or lease of any housing accommodation or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection with it. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit any oral or written inquiry as to whether the prospective purchaser or tenant is over the age of eighteen (18).

(b) No person to whom application is made for a loan or other form of financial assistance for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair, or maintenance of any housing accommodation, whether secured or unsecured shall directly or indirectly make or cause to be made any written or oral inquiry concerning the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, country of ancestral origin, disability, age, familial status, or any express written or oral inquiry into whether a tenant or applicant, or a member of the household, is or has been, or is threatened with being, the victim of domestic abuse, or whether a tenant or applicant has obtained, or sought, or is seeking, relief from any court in the form of a restraining order for protection from domestic abuse, of any individual seeking the financial assistance, or of existing or prospective occupants or tenants of the housing accommodation; nor shall any person to whom the application is made in the manner provided, directly or indirectly, discriminate in the terms, conditions, or privileges relating to the obtaining or use of any financial assistance against any applicant because of the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, country of ancestral origin, disability, age, familial status, or on the basis that a tenant or applicant, or a member of the household, is or has been, or is threatened with being, the victim of domestic abuse, or that the tenant or applicant has obtained, or sought, or is seeking, relief from any court in the form of a restraining order for protection from domestic abuse, of the applicant or of the existing or prospective occupants or tenants. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit any written or oral inquiry as to whether the applicant is over the age of eighteen (18).

(c) Nothing in this section contained shall be construed in any manner to prohibit or limit the exercise of the privilege of every person and the agent of any person having the right to sell, rent, lease, or manage a housing accommodation to establish standards and preferences and set terms, conditions, limitations, or specifications in the selling, renting, leasing, or letting thereof or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection therewith which do not discriminate on the basis of the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, country of ancestral origin, disability, age, familial status, or on the basis that a tenant or applicant, or a member of the household, is or has been, or is threatened with being, the victim of domestic abuse, or that the tenant or applicant has obtained, or sought, or is seeking, relief from any court in the form of a restraining order for protection from domestic abuse, of any prospective purchaser, lessee, tenant, or occupant thereof or on the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, country of ancestral origin, disability, age, or familial status of any person with whom the prospective purchaser, lessee, tenant, or occupant is or may wish to be associated. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed in any manner to prohibit or limit the exercise of the privilege of every person and the agent of any person making loans for or offering financial assistance in the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair, or maintenance of housing accommodations to set standards and preferences, terms, conditions, limitations, or specifications for the granting of loans or financial assistance which do not discriminate on the basis of the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, country of ancestral origin, disability, age, familial status, or on the basis that a tenant or applicant, or a member of the household, is or has been, or is threatened with being, the victim of domestic abuse, or that the tenant or applicant has obtained, or sought, or is seeking, relief from any court in the form of a restraining order for protection from domestic abuse, of the applicant for the loan or financial assistance or of any existing or prospective owner, lessee, tenant, or occupant of the housing accommodation.

(d) An owner may not refuse to allow a person with a disability to make, at his or her expense, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by the person if the modifications may be necessary to afford the person full enjoyment of the premises, except that, in the case of a rental, the owner may where it is reasonable to do so condition permission for a modification on the renter agreeing to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted. Where it is necessary in order to ensure with reasonable certainty that funds will be available to pay for the restorations at the end of the tenancy, the landlord may negotiate as part of the restoration agreement a provision requiring that the tenant pay into an interest bearing escrow account, over a reasonable period, a reasonable amount of money not to exceed the cost of the restorations. The interest in the account shall accrue to the benefit of the tenant. The restoration deposition shall be exempt from § 34-18-19(a) but will be subject to § 34-18-19(b)--(f).

(e)(1) An owner may not refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when those accommodations may be necessary to afford an occupant with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.

(2) Every person with a disability who has a guide dog or other personal assistive animal, or who obtains a guide dog or other personal assistive animal, shall be entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations provided for in this section, and shall not be required to pay extra compensation for the guide dog or other personal assistive animal, but shall be liable for any damage done to the premises by a guide dog or other personal assistive animal. For the purposes of this subsection a “personal assistive animal” is an animal specifically trained by a certified animal training program to assist a person with a disability to perform independent living tasks.
(f) Any housing accommodation of four (4) units or more constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 shall be designed and constructed in such a manner that:

(1) The public use and common use portions of the dwellings are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities;

(2) All the doors designed to allow passage into and within all premises within the dwellings are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons with disabilities in wheelchairs;

(3) All premises within the dwellings contain the following features of adaptive design:

(i) Accessible route into and through the dwelling;

(ii) Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls in accessible locations;

(iii) Reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and

(iv) Usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space. To the extent that any state or local building codes, statutes or ordinances are inconsistent with this section, they are hereby repealed. The state building code standards committee is hereby directed to adopt rules and regulations consistent with this section as soon as possible, but no later than September 30, 1990.

(g) Compliance with the appropriate requirements of the State Building Code 14 “accessibility for individuals with disabilities for residential use groups” suffices to satisfy the requirements of subsection (f).

(h) As used in subsection (f), the term “housing accommodation of four (4) units or more” means:

(1) Buildings consisting of four (4) or more units if those buildings have one or more elevators; and

(2) Ground floor units in other buildings consisting of four (4) or more units;

(i) Nothing in subsection (f) shall be construed to limit any law, statute, or regulation which requires a greater degree of accessibility to persons with disabilities.

(j) Nothing in this section requires that a dwelling be made available to an individual whose tenancy would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or whose tenancy would result in substantial physical damage to the property of others.

(k) Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit an owner, lessee, sublessee, or assignee from advertising or selecting a person of the same or opposite gender to rent, lease, or share the housing unit which the owner, lessee, sublessee, or assignee will occupy with the person selected.

(l) No person shall aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce the doing of any act declared by this section to be an unlawful housing practice, or obstruct or prevent any person from complying with the provisions of this chapter or any order issued thereunder, or attempt directly or indirectly to commit any act declared by this section to be an unlawful housing practice.

(m) No owner, person defined in § 34-37-3(12), person to whom application is made for a loan or other form of financial assistance for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair, or maintenance of any housing accommodation, whether secured or unsecured, no financial organization governed by the provisions of title 19 or any other credit granting commercial institution, or respondent under this chapter or any agent of these shall discriminate in any manner against any individual because he or she has opposed any practice forbidden by this chapter, or because he or she has made a charge, testified, or assisted in any manner in any investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this chapter.

(n) Nothing in this section shall prevent a landlord from proceeding with eviction action against a tenant who fails to comply with § 34-18-24(7)(n).

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1965, ch. 27, § 1; P.L. 1970, ch. 25, § 2; P.L. 1974, ch. 141, § 1; P.L. 1977, ch. 214, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 144, § 3; P.L. 1985, ch. 415, § 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 452, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 455, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 664, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 398, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 32, § 2; P.L. 1997, ch. 150, § 8; P.L. 1999, ch. 83, § 81; P.L. 1999, ch. 130, § 81; P.L. 2001, ch. 340, § 2; P.L. 2002, ch. 118, § 2; P.L. 2002, ch. 224, § 2.

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 40. Human Services. Chapter 9.1. Equal Rights of Blind and Deaf Persons to Public Facilities

 
§ 40-9.1-1. Declaration of policy

It is the policy of this state that:

(a) Persons who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing and otherwise disabled have the same rights as the able-bodied to the full and free use of the streets, highways, walkways, public buildings, public facilities and other public places.

(b) Persons who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing and otherwise disabled are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges on any public conveyance operated on land or water or in the air, or any stations and terminals thereof, not limited to taxis, airplanes, motor vehicles, railroad trains, motor buses, street cars, boats and in any educational institution, not limited to any kindergarten, primary and secondary school, trade or business school, high school, academy, college and university, and in places of public resort, accommodation, assemblage or amusement, not limited to hotels, lodging places, restaurants, theater and in all other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.

(c) Persons who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing and otherwise disabled persons shall be entitled to rent, lease or purchase, as other members of the general public, any housing accommodations offered for rent, lease or other compensation in this state, subject to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1975, ch. 55, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 159, § 6; P.L. 1997, ch. 85, § 1.

 
 
§ 40-9.1-1.1. Definitions
 
(a) “Guide dog” means a dog that has been or is being specially trained to aid a particular blind or visually impaired person.

(b) “Hearing dog” means a dog that has been or is being specially trained to aid a particular deaf or hard-of-hearing person.

(c) “Housing accommodations” means any real property or portion thereof that is used or occupied, or intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied, as the home, residence or sleeping place of one or more human beings, but does not include any single-family residence the occupants of which rent, lease or furnish for compensation to more than one room therein.

(d) “Personal assistance animal” means a dog that has been or is being trained as a guide dog, hearing dog or service dog.

(e) “Service dog” means a dog that has been or is being specially trained to aid a particular disabled person with a disability other than sight or hearing.

(f) “Disabled” means a disability as defined in § 42-87-1.

(g) “Closed-captioning” means a transcript or dialog of the audio portion of a television program that is displayed on a television receiver screen when the user activates the feature.

(h) “Public area” means a part of a place of public accommodation that is open to the general public.

(i) “Regular hours” means the hours of any day in which a place of public accommodation is open to members of the general public.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1997, ch. 85, § 2; P.L. 2006, ch. 216, § 22, eff. July 3, 2006; P.L. 2009, ch. 96, § 5, eff. July 9, 2009; P.L. 2009, ch. 97, § 5, eff. July 9, 2009; P.L. 2012, ch. 90, § 1, eff. May 22, 2012; P.L. 2012, ch. 100, § 1, eff. May 25, 2012.


§ 40-9.1-2. Personal assistance animals in public places

Every disabled person has the right to be accompanied by a personal assistance animal, specially trained for that person in any housing accommodation or in any places listed in § 40-9.1-1(b) and (c) without being required to pay an extra charge for the personal assistance animal. Each disabled person using a personal assistance animal is solely liable for any damage done to persons, premises or facilities by the personal assistance animal.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1975, ch. 55, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 159, § 7; P.L. 1997, ch. 85, § 1.
 
 
§ 40-9.1-2.1. Trainers of personal assistance animals and dogs in training

Every trainer or puppy raiser of a personal assistance animal shall have the same rights and privileges as stated in § 40-9.1-2 for every person with a disability. Each trainer or puppy raiser during the training of a personal assistance animal is liable for any damage done to persons, premises or facilities by that personal assistance animal.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1997, ch. 85, § 2.
 
 
§ 40-9.1-3. Penalty for injuring or interfering with a personal assistance animal--Civil actions--Damages--Cost and attorney's fees

(a) It is unlawful for any person, corporation or the agent of any corporation to:
(1) Withhold, deny, deprive or attempt to withhold, deny or deprive any other person of any right or privilege secured by §§ 40-9.1-2 and 40-9.1-2.1;
 
(2) Intimidate, threaten, coerce, or attempt to threaten, intimidate or coerce any other person to interfere with any right or privilege secured by §§ 40-9.1-2 and 40-9.1-2.1;
 
(3) Punish or attempt to punish any person for exercising or attempting to exercise any right or privilege secured by §§ 40-9.1-2 and 40-9.1-2.1;
(b) It is unlawful for any person to injure a personal assistance animal and shall be liable for the injuries to the assistance animal and if necessary the replacement and compensation for the loss of the personal assistance animal.

(c) It is unlawful for the owner of a dog to allow that dog to injure a personal assistance animal because the owner failed to control or leash the dog. The owner shall also be liable for the injuries to the personal assistance dog and if necessary the replacement and compensation for the loss of the personal assistance animal.

(d) Any person who violates subsection (a)(1) is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person who purposely or negligently violates subsection (a)(2) or (a)(3) is guilty of a misdemeanor. Violations shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six (6) months or by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100), or by both fine and imprisonment. Any person or corporation who violates subsections (a), (b), or (c) is also liable to the person whose rights under §§ 40-9.1-2 and 40-9.1-2.1 were violated for actual damages for any economic loss and/or punitive damages, to be recovered by a civil action in a court in and for the county in which the infringement of civil rights occurred or in which the defendant lives.

(e) In an action brought under this section, the court shall award costs and reasonable attorney's fees to the prevailing party.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1975, ch. 55, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 179, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 85, § 1.


§ 40-9.1-4. Enforcement of anti-discrimination provisions

The Rhode Island commission for human rights is empowered and directed, as hereinafter provided, to prevent any person from violating any of the provisions of this chapter; provided that before instituting a formal hearing it shall attempt by informal methods of conference, persuasion and conciliation, to induce compliance with those sections. Upon the commission's own initiative or whenever an aggrieved individual or an organization chartered for the purpose of combating discrimination or of safeguarding civil liberties or rights of persons with disabilities, such individual or organization being hereinafter referred to as “the complainant”, makes a charge to the commission that any person, agency, bureau, corporation or association, hereinafter referred to as “the respondent”, has violated or is violating any of the provisions of this chapter, the said commission may proceed in the same manner and with the same powers as provided in §§ 28-5-16 - 28-5-27, and the provisions of §§ 28-5-13 and 28-5-16 - 28-5-36, as to the powers, duties and rights of the commission, its members, hearing examiners, the complainant, respondent, interviewer and the court shall apply in any proceedings under this section.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1997, ch. 85, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 83, § 100; P.L. 1999, ch. 130, § 100.
 
 
§ 40-9.1-5. Family therapy pets in public places

(a) The privileges of access and transportation provided to personal assistance animals in § 40-9.1-2 shall be extended to family therapy pets which are further defined as primary companions which include, but are not limited to, dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs, that are working in the provision of pet assisted therapy treatment and education.

(b) The provisions are such that the pet assisted therapy facilitator is working in conjunction with the family therapy pet in a predetermined medical or educational setting, with a selected clientele. The medical interactions are to be individually planned, goal-oriented, and treatment based, and the educational settings are to be classroom based.

(c) Throughout the interactions, the pet assisted therapy facilitator and the family therapy pet will abide by a set code of ethics, and will follow professional guidelines to ensure that the actions and deeds of the pet assisted therapy facilitator reflect advocacy of profession, pets, and clients, and other professions; while simultaneously ensuring that the interaction of the family therapy pet and client remains beneficial and strives to enhance the quality of life through this animal-human bond.

(d) Prior to any interactions, the family therapy pet must first meet the immunization criteria, a current certificate of good health, which shall be issued by a licensed, practicing veterinarian, as well as the temperament criteria, a certificate of good temperament, which shall be issued from a certified or practicing dog trainer or animal behaviorist, and training criteria, in which the pet assisted therapy facilitator and the family therapy pet learn to work as a team learning together to execute safely and effective interaction, which are accepted in the field, specifically other pet assisted animal facilitators, veterinarians, dog trainers, animal behaviorists and the state of Rhode Island.

(e) Access and transportation privileges are only extended while the family therapy pet is on the way to or actively participating in a program.

(f) The animal assisted therapy facilitator, an individual who has successfully completed or is in the process of completing an accepted pet assisted therapy program, shall be responsible for the control and safety of the pet, which is to include cleaning up and elimination of wastes, keeping the pet on a proper leash and collar, carrying a smaller animal in a travel crate, adhering to all standard rules, regulations, and laws within both the facility and the state of Rhode Island, and upholding an active insurance policy that will cover an unforeseen mishap and/or accidental occurrence which may result in causing property damage and/or personal injury while actively participating in a program.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 2000, ch. 451, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 216, § 22, eff. July 3, 2006.

§ 40-9.1-6. Closed-captioning activation required

(a) On request, a place of public accommodation shall keep closed-captioning activated on any closed-captioning television receiver that is in use during regular hours in any public area.

(b) This section does not require a place of public accommodation to make closed-captioning available in a public area at the place of public accommodation if:

(1) No television receiver of any kind is available in the public area; or

(2) The only public television receiver available in the public area is not a closed-captioning television receiver.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 2012, ch. 90, § 2, eff. May 22, 2012; P.L. 2012, ch. 100, § 2, eff. May 25, 2012.




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