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Rhode Island

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 4. Animals and Animal Husbandry. Chapter 13. Dogs; Chapter 13.1. Regulation of Vicious Dogs; Chapter 19. Animal Care

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: Gen. Laws, 1956, 4-13-1 - 42; 4-13.1 - 15; 4-19-1 - 21

Citation: RI ST 4-13-1 - 42; 4-13.1 - 15; 4-19-1 - 21


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 12/2013

Summary:   These statutes comprise Rhode Island's dog laws.  Among the provisions include licensing requirements, which are specified by county or town, vicious dog laws, and euthanasia provisions.


Statute in Full:

Link to Chapter 25. Pet Warranties--Dogs. (Pet Purchaser Protection Law)

CHAPTER 13. DOGS. Regulation by Towns and Ordinance Powers:

§ 4-13-1  Regulatory ordinances – Enforcement and penalties.

§ 4-13-1.1  Towns of Portsmouth, West Warwick, and Middletown and city of Woonsocket – Vicious dog ordinance.

§ 4-13-1.2  Definitions.

§ 4-13-1.3  Rabies control board.

§ 4-13-2  Tax imposed by cities and towns – Enactment of local laws to prevent damage to livestock.

§ 4-13-3  Prior ordinances preserved.

Licensing, Registration, & Collaring:

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

§ 4-13-4.1  Notice to new owner of inoculation and licensing requirements.

§ 4-13-5  License information and record.

§ 4-13-6  [Repealed.].

§ 4-13-7  Notice as to time and place of issuing licenses.

§ 4-13-8  Disposition of license fees.

§ 4-13-9  Pups exempt from license.

§ 4-13-10  Thoroughbred dogs exempt – Kennel licenses.

§ 4-13-11  Annual census of dogs – List of licenses issued.

§ 4-13-12  [Repealed.].

§ 4-13-13  Wrongful removal of collar – Theft or destruction of licensed dogs – Poisoning.

§ 4-13-14  Licensing by police authorities.

§ 4-13-15  Collaring of dogs – Impoundment and disposition of uncollared dogs.

§ 4-13-15.1  Ordinances concerning unrestricted and vicious dogs prohibited – Leash laws.

Damage Done by Dogs:

§ 4-13-16  Action for damages to animals – Double damages on second recovery – Destruction of offending dog.

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

§ 4-13-17  Civil liability of person harboring dog for damages.

§ 4-13-18  Destruction of dogs in defense of person or livestock.

§ 4-13-19  Order to confine or kill vicious dog – Subsequent damages.

§ 4-13-20  Appraisal of damages done by dogs.

§ 4-13-21  Appraisal and payment of damages in certain Newport county towns.

§ 4-13-22  Subrogation of town or city to claim for damages.

§ 4-13-23  Sworn testimony before appraiser.

§ 4-13-24  Penalty for neglect of duties.

§ 4-13-25  Election of special constable and appraiser in Pawtucket.

§ 4-13-26  – 4-13-28. [Repealed.].

Rabies Control:

§ 4-13-29  Quarantine to suppress rabies – Report of cases.

§ 4-13-29.1  Responsibility for local rabies control.

§ 4-13-29.2  Exemption from liability.

§ 4-13-29.3  Regulations for suppression of rabies.

§ 4-13-30  [Obsolete.].

§ 4-13-31  Compulsory rabies vaccination.

§ 4-13-32  Penalty for violation of rabies suppression provisions.

Agent of Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; Special Constables:

§ 4-13-33  Agent of society for prevention of cruelty as special constable.

§ 4-13-34  Correction of defects in prosecutions.

§ 4-13-35  Immunity of officers from costs.

§ 4-13-36  Agent of Robert Potter league for animals in town of Portsmouth as special constable.

§ 4-13-37  Agent of Robert Potter league for animals in town of Middletown as special constable.

Dogs Chasing Deer:

§ 4-13-38  Dogs attacking deer.

§ 4-13-39  Penalties.

Exemptions; Use of Terms Owner or Guardian:

§ 4-13-40  Exemptions from application of chapter.

§ 4-13-41  Use of the terms owner or guardian.

§ 4-13-42. Care of dogs

§ 4-13-43. Prohibition of breed specific regulation

 CHAPTER 4-13.1. Regulation of Vicious Dogs.

§ 4-13.1-1  Declaration of purpose.

§ 4-13.1-2  Definitions.

§ 4-13.1-3  Requirements for registration.

§ 4-13.1-4  Control of vicious dogs.

§ 4-13.1-5  Harboring dogs for dog fighting – Training dogs to attack humans – Selling, breeding, or buying dogs.

§ 4-13.1-6  [Repealed.].

§ 4-13.1-7  Action for damages – Destruction of offending vicious dog.

§ 4-13.1-8  Exemptions.

§ 4-13.1-9  Penalties for violation – Licensing ordinances and fees.

§ 4-13.1-10  Legal registration drives.

§ 4-13.1-11  Determination of a vicious dog.

§ 4-13.1-12  Uniform summons – Mail-in fines – Prosecution.

§ 4-13.1-13  Liability of parents for damages caused by dog owned by minor.

§ 4-13.1-14  Severability.

§ 4-13.1-15  Use of the terms owner or guardian.

§ 4-13.1-16. Prohibition of breed specific regulation

CHAPTER 4-19. Animal Care:

§ 4-19-1  Purpose.

§ 4-19-2  Definitions.

§ 4-19-3  Registration of municipal dog pounds.

§ 4-19-4  Registration of animal shelters.

§ 4-19-5  Pet shop licenses.

§ 4-19-6  Public auction and kennel licenses.

§ 4-19-7  Dealer licenses.

§ 4-19-8  Denial of certificates of registration or licenses.

§ 4-19-9  Operation of pet shop, kennel or public auction without a license.

§ 4-19-10  Dealing in animals without a license.

§ 4-19-11  Mistreatment of animals.

§ 4-19-11.1  Destruction of animals by carbon monoxide poisoning.

§ 4-19-11.2  Destruction of animals and cats – Reporting.

§ 4-19-11.3  Penalty for violations.

§ 4-19-12  Disposition of animals.

§ 4-19-12.1. Public health exemptions

§ 4-19-13  Rules and regulations.

§ 4-19-14  Chapter inapplicable.

§ 4-19-15  Access of inspectors to property.

§ 4-19-16  Mandatory spaying and neutering of dogs and cats adopted from a licensed releasing agency.

§ 4-19-17  Forfeited deposits.

§ 4-19-18  Penalties for violations.

§ 4-19-19  Adoption of municipal ordinances.

§ 4-19-20  Severability.

§ 4-19-21  Use of the terms owner or guardian.

 

 

TITLE 4. ANIMALS AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY.  CHAPTER 13. DOGS.

4-13-1. Regulatory ordinances -- Enforcement and penalties.

(a) City or town councils may make any ordinances concerning dogs in their cities or towns as they deem expedient, to be enforced by the destruction or disposition of the animal, or by pecuniary penalties not exceeding ten dollars ($10.00) for the first offense, not exceeding fifteen dollars ($15.00) for the second offense within a year, not exceeding twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the third and any subsequent offense within a year to be recovered by action of debt, or by complaint and warrant, to use as that city council or town council may prescribe.

(b)(1) Barrington town council is authorized to enact an ordinance:

(i) Permitting the animal control officer in the town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for violation of any animal control ordinance which may be paid by mail and;

(ii) To prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine of not more [FN1] seventy-five dollars ($75.00) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(2)(i) Bristol town council is authorized to enact an ordinance permitting the dog officer in that town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any dog ordinance which may be paid by mail, and to prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine not exceeding twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(ii) The Bristol town council may by ordinance prescribe the number of licensed dogs and their breeds which may be kept at any single-family residence other than a breeding kennel licensed under § 4-13-10, and may enforce those ordinances by pecuniary penalties not exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

(3) Coventry town council is authorized to enact ordinances permitting the dog officer in the town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any dog ordinance which may be paid by mail.

(4)(i) Cumberland town council may prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine not exceeding twenty dollars ($20.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine not exceeding thirty dollars ($30.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(ii) The town council of the town of Cumberland is authorized to enact an ordinance permitting the animal control officer or any police officer in that town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any dog ordinance which may be paid by mail.

(iii) The town council of the town of Cumberland is authorized to enact an ordinance establishing the expense of the impoundment of dogs as determined by the town council and providing for the payment to the town of the impoundment expense by the dog owner prior to removal of the dog from the pound.

(5) Glocester town council is authorized to enact an ordinance to prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(i) A fine not more than twenty dollars ($20.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(ii) A fine not more than thirty dollars ($30.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(iii) A fine not more than thirty-five dollars ($35.00) for the third offense and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(6) Jamestown town council may prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(i) A fine not exceeding twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(ii) A fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(iii) A fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(7)(i) Middletown may prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows for the violation of animal control ordinances on any beach within the town of Middletown:

(A) A fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for the first (1st) offense within the calendar year;

(B) A fine not exceeding one hundred fifty dollars ($150) for the second (2nd) offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine not exceeding two hundred dollars ($200) for the third (3rd) and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(ii) Middletown may prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows for the violation of animal control ordinances anywhere else within the town:

(A) A fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine not exceeding one hundred fifty dollars ($150) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(iii) The Middletown town council is authorized to enact an ordinance permitting the dog officer in that town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any dog ordinance which may be paid by mail.

(8) Narragansett town council is authorized to enact an ordinance:

(i) Permitting the animal control officer in the town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any animal control ordinance which may be paid by mail; and

(ii) Establishing the expense of the impoundment of dogs as determined by the town council and providing for the payment to the town of the impoundment expense by the dog owner prior to removal of the dog from the pound; and

(iii) Prescribing pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine of not more than seventy-five dollars ($75.00) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(9) Newport city council is authorized to enact an ordinance:

(i) Permitting the animal control officer, and his or her agents, in that city to issue citations to the owners of dogs for violation of any animal control ordinance which may be paid by mail;

(ii) To prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(10) North Providence town council is authorized to enact an ordinance permitting the animal control officer in that town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any dog ordinance which may be paid by mail.

(11)(i) Portsmouth may prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine not exceeding twenty dollars ($20.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine not exceeding thirty dollars ($30.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(ii) The Portsmouth town council is authorized to enact an ordinance permitting the dog officer in that town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any dog ordinance which may be paid by mail.

(iii) The Portsmouth town council may, by ordinance, prescribe the number of licensed dogs which may be kept at any single family residence other than a breeding kennel licensed under § 4-13-10 and may enforce those ordinances by pecuniary penalties not exceeding twenty-five dollars ($25.00).

(12) The Richmond town council is authorized to enact ordinances:

(i) Establishing the following penalties for animal control offenses:

(A) A fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for the first offense within one year;

(B) A fine of not more than seventy-five dollars ($75.00) for the second offense within one year of the first offense;

(C) A fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100) for the third and each subsequent offense within one year of the first offense.

(ii) Permitting the animal control officer or any police officer to issue citations for violation of any animal control ordinance punishable by a fine of five hundred dollars ($500) or less, and to provide for payment of those fines by mail.

(13)(i) Scituate town council may prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine not exceeding twenty dollars ($20.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine not exceeding thirty dollars ($30.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(ii) Scituate town council is authorized to enact ordinances permitting the dog officer in the town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any dog ordinance which may be paid by mail.

(14)(i) Smithfield town council may prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine not exceeding twenty dollars ($20.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine not exceeding thirty dollars ($30.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(ii) The Smithfield town council is authorized to enact an ordinance permitting the animal control warden in the town to issue citations which may be paid by mail to the owners of dogs for the violation of any dog ordinance in that town.

(15) Tiverton town council may prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(i) A fine not exceeding twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the first offense;

(ii) A fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) for the second offense;

(iii) A fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for the third and each subsequent offense.

(16) Warwick city council may prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(i) A fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(ii) A fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(iii) A fine not exceeding two hundred dollars ($200) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year; and

(iv) A fine not exceeding three hundred dollars ($300) for the fourth and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(17) Westerly town council is authorized to enact an ordinance:

(i) Permitting the animal control officer in the town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any animal control ordinance which may be paid by mail; and

(ii) Establishing the expense of the impoundment of dogs as determined by the town council and providing for the payment to the town of the impoundment expense by the dog owner prior to removal of the dog from the pound; and

(iii) Prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(18) West Greenwich town council is authorized to enact an ordinance:

(i) Permitting the animal control officer in the town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any animal control ordinance which may be paid by mail; and

(ii) Establishing the expense of the impoundment of dogs as determined by the town council and providing for the payment to the town of the impoundment expense by the dog owner prior to removal of the dog from the pound; and

(iii) Prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(19) The town council of the town of Exeter is authorized to enact any ordinance prescribing fines and penalties, in addition to those otherwise allowed by law, as follows:

(i) Providing a fine of up to twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the first offense;

(ii) Providing a fine of up to one hundred dollars ($100) for the second offense; and

(iii) Providing a fine of up to two hundred dollars ($200) for the third and for any subsequent offenses within a one year period. In addition, the town may require proof of owners liability insurance for a twelve (12) month period insuring against injury and damages caused by the dog. That insurance shall be in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) and shall name the town as a named insured for the purposes of notice.

(20) West Warwick town council may prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(i) A fine not exceeding fifteen dollars ($15.00) for the first offense;

(ii) A fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) for the second offense;

(iii) A fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for the third and each subsequent offense.

(21) Woonsocket city council is authorized to enact an ordinance:

(i) Permitting the animal control office of the city to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any animal control ordinance which may be paid by mail;

(ii) Establishing the expense of the impoundment of dogs as determined by the city council and providing for the payment to the city for the impoundment expense by the dog owner prior to removal of the dog from the pound; and

(iii) Prescribing pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine of not more than one hundred fifty dollars ($150) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(22) Pawtucket city council is authorized to prescribe pecuniary penalties directly related to its ordinance banning the owning or keeping of pit bulls in the city as follows:

(i) For a pit bull properly licensed according to the city ordinance;

(A) A fine not exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for the first offense;

(B) A fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) on a second offense;

(C) A fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) on a third offense.

(ii) For a pit bull that is not licensed pursuant to the exceptions in the city ordinance:

(A) A fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) on a first offense;

(B) A fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) on a second or subsequent offense.

(iii) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, Pawtucket may through its Municipal Court impose a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding thirty (30) days in addition to the fines in subsection (ii)(A) or (B).

(23)(i) The Lincoln town council is authorized to prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine of not more than one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(ii) The Lincoln town council is authorized to enact an ordinance permitting the dog officer and police officers in that town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any dog ordinance, which citation may be paid by mail.

(24)(i) The East Providence city council is authorized to enact an ordinance permitting the animal control officer or any police officer in that city to issue citations to persons in violation of any animal ordinances, which may be paid by mail, and to prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine of not more than thirty dollars ($30.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine of not more than sixty dollars ($60.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine of not more than one hundred twenty dollars ($120) for the third offense within a calendar year; and

(D) A fine of not more than three hundred dollars ($300) for the fourth offense and any subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(25)(i) The Warren town council is authorized to enact an ordinance permitting the animal control officer in the town to issue citations to the owners of animals for violation of any animal control ordinance which may be paid by mail, and to prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(A) A fine of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(B) A fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(C) A fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

(26)(i) The Burrillville town council is authorized to enact an ordinance:

(A) Permitting the animal control officer in the town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any animal control ordinance which may be paid by mail; and

(B) To prescribe penalties for violation of the provisions of revised general ordinances, Town of Burrillville, Rhode Island, 2004, as amended, Chapter 4, entitled “Animals”; and

(C) Establishing an expense not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00) for the day during which impoundment occurs plus five dollars ($5.00) every day the animal is detained and providing for the payment to the town of the impoundment expense by the dog owner prior to removal of the dog from the animal control facility.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1970, ch. 96, § 1; P.L. 1970, ch. 196, § 1; P.L. 1976, ch. 86, § 1; P.L. 1977, ch. 43, § 1; P.L. 1978, ch. 74, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 65, § 1; P.L. 1980, ch. 120, § 1; P.L. 1983, ch. 94, § 1; P.L. 1983, ch. 275, § 1; P.L. 1983, ch. 286, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 17, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 27, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 99, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 370, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 91, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 111, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 133, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 210, § 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 157, § 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 304, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 118, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 480, § 1; P.L. 1993, ch. 338, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 36, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 119, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 276, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 278, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 35, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 201, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 58, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 401, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 72, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 101, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 260, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 372, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 29, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 78, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 120, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 217, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 500, § 1, eff. July 7, 2006; P.L. 2008, ch. 279, § 1, eff. July 8, 2008; P.L. 2008, ch. 470, § 1, eff. July 5, 2008; P.L. 2009, ch. 122, § 1, eff. July 16, 2009; P.L. 2009, ch. 176, § 1, eff. July 16, 2009; P.L. 2010, ch. 197, § 1, eff. June 25, 2010; P.L. 2010, ch. 225, § 1, eff. June 25, 2010; P.L. 2011, ch. 30, § 1, eff. May 31, 2011; P.L. 2011, ch. 35, § 1, eff. May 31, 2011; P.L. 2011, ch. 141, § 1, eff. June 29, 2011; P.L. 2011, ch. 142, § 1, eff. June 29, 2011

 

4-13-1.1. Towns of Portsmouth, West Warwick, and Middletown and city of Woonsocket -- Vicious dog ordinance. --

(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section or the general laws to the contrary, the town councils of the towns of Portsmouth, West Warwick and Middletown may, by ordinance, provide that the owner or keeper of any dog that assaults any person shall be fined an amount not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than two hundred dollars ($200) to be used as that city or town council may prescribe. However, this fine shall not be imposed unless the officer responsible for enforcement of that ordinance has conducted an investigation of the assault and has certified that the dog was off the property of its owner or keeper and at large at the time the assault occurred or that the assault resulted from the negligence of the owner or keeper.

(b) In the city of Woonsocket an owner shall not be declared negligent if an injury or damage is sustained by a person who, at the time that injury or damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort upon premises occupied by the owner or keeper of the dog, or was teasing, tormenting, provoking, abusing or assaulting the dog or was committing or attempting to commit a crime.

P.L. 1984, ch. 370, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 480, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 401, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 72, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 372, § 1.

 

4-13-1.2. Definitions. --

(1) “Board” means the rabies control board.

(2) “Department” means the department of environmental management or its successor.

(3) “Director” means the director of the department of environmental management (or its successor) or his or her designee.

(4) “Division” means the division of agriculture.

(5) “Livestock” means domesticated animals which are commonly held in moderate contact with humans which include, but are not limited to, cattle, bison, equines, sheep, goats, llamas, and swine.

(6) “Owner or keeper” means any person or agency keeping, harboring or having charge or control of or responsibility for control of an animal or any person or agency which permits any dog, cat, ferret, or domestic animal to habitually be fed within that person's yard or premises. This term shall not apply to veterinary facilities, any licensed boarding kennel, municipal pound, pet shop, or animal shelter.

(7) “Person” means an individual, firm, joint stock company, partnership, association, private or municipal corporation, trust, estate, state, commission, political subdivision, any interstate body, the federal government or any agency or subdivision of the federal government, other government entity, or other legal entity.

(8) “Pets” means domesticated animals kept in close contact with humans, which include, but may not be limited to dogs, cats, ferrets, equines, llamas, goats, sheep, and swine.

(9) “Quarantine” means the removal, isolation, the close confinement or related measures of an animal under conditions and for time periods that are set by regulation of the board.

(10) “Guardian” means a person(s) having the same rights and responsibilities as an owner or keeper, and the terms may be used interchangeably. A guardian shall also mean a person who possesses, has title to or an interest in, harbors or has control, custody or possession of an animal and who is responsible for an animal's safety and well-being.

(11) “Tether” means the practice of fastening a dog to a stationary object or stake by a chain, rope or other tethering device as a means of keeping the dog under control. A dog being walked on a leash is not tethered.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1992, ch. 353, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 388, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 441, § 10; P.L. 2001, ch. 72, § 4; P.L. 2012, ch. 301, § 1, eff. June 20, 2012; P.L. 2012, ch. 358, § 1, eff. June 20, 2012.

 

4-13-1.3. Rabies control board. --

(a) There shall be a rabies control board consisting of seven (7) people as follows:
(1) The director of the Rhode Island department of environmental management or his or her designee;
 
(2) The director of the Rhode Island department of health or his or her designee;
 
(3) A Rhode Island licensed veterinarian, appointed by the governor, who is a member of the Rhode Island veterinary medical association;
 
(4) A livestock farmer, appointed by the governor, who is a member of the Rhode Island farm bureau;
 
(5) A member of a recognized Rhode Island humane group (such as the Rhode Island society for prevention of cruelty to animals), appointed by the governor;
 
(6) The state veterinarian, who shall serve as chairperson;
 
(7) A member of the Rhode Island animal control association, appointed by the governor.

(b) All appointments made under this section after the effective date of this act [April 20, 2006] shall be subject to the advice and consent of the senate. The members of the board shall serve without compensation. The board members from the departments of health and environmental management shall serve at the discretion of their directors. The state veterinarian shall serve without term. Nongovernmental members shall serve for a period of three (3) years and reappointments shall be made by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate.

(c) Vacancies for citizen members shall be filled by appointment, in the same manner as the original appointment, for the unexpired term only. Four (4) members of the board shall constitute a quorum.

(d) Members of the board shall be removable by the governor pursuant to § 36-1-7 of the general laws and for cause only, and removal solely for partisan or personal reasons unrelated to capacity or fitness for the office shall be unlawful.

(e) The board may elect from among its members such other officers as they deem necessary.

(f) The director of the department of environmental management shall direct staff to support the board within the constraints of available resources.

(g) Within ninety (90) days after the end of each fiscal year, the board shall approve and submit an annual report to the governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, and the secretary of state of its activities during that fiscal year. The report shall provide: an operating statement summarizing meetings or hearings held, including meeting minutes, subjects addressed, decisions rendered, rules or regulations promulgated, studies conducted, policies and plans developed, approved or modified, and programs administered or initiated; a consolidated financial statement of all funds received and expended including the source of the funds, a listing of any staff supported by these funds, a summary of any clerical, administrative or technical support received; a summary of performance during the previous fiscal year including accomplishments, shortcomings and remedies; a synopsis of any legal matters related to the authority of the board; a summary of any training courses held pursuant to subsection 4-13-1.3(i); a briefing on anticipated activities in the upcoming fiscal year; and findings and recommendations for improvements. The report shall be posted electronically as prescribed in § 42-20-8.2. The director of the department of administration shall be responsible for the enforcement of this provision.

(h) Newly appointed and qualified members and new designees of ex officio members of the board are required to complete a training course within six (6) months of their qualification or designation. The course shall be developed by the chair of the board, approved by the board and conducted by the chair of the board. The board may approve the use of any board or staff members or other individuals to assist with training. The course shall include instruction in the following areas: chapters 4-13, 42-46, 36-14 and 38-2; and the board's rules and regulations. The director of the department of administration shall, within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this act [April 20, 2006], prepare and disseminate training materials relating to the provisions of chapters 42-46, 36-14 and 38-2.

P.L. 1992, ch. 353, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 388, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 180, § 3; P.L. 2006, ch. 22, § 2, eff. April 20, 2006; P.L. 2006, ch. 27, § 2, eff. May 3, 2006.

4-13-2. Tax imposed by cities and towns -- Enactment of local laws to prevent damage to livestock. --

The city or town council of any city or town may impose a yearly tax upon every person in their city or town for every dog owned or kept by him or her as the council shall judge proper; and also make any laws to prevent damage to sheep and cattle as they may deem necessary.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 2; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 2; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 2; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 2; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-2.

 

4-13-3. Prior ordinances preserved. --

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as to repeal any ordinance concerning dogs, not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter, which has been passed by any town or city council.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 9; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 9; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 9; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 9; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-3.

 

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.

(xiii) The Middletown town council may:

(A) Provide by ordinance for an annual licensing fee not to exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per dog.

(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; P.L. 2011, ch. 30, § 1, eff. May 31, 2011; P.L. 2011, ch. 35, § 1, eff. May 31, 2011.

 

4-13-4.1. Notice to new owner of inoculation and licensing requirements. --

(a) It is unlawful for any dog pound, animal shelter, kennel, pet store, or any other facility licensed pursuant to chapter 19 of this title to sell, give away, or adopt out any dog without providing the new owner with a form indicating that inoculation against rabies and permanent licensing are required within thirty (30) days.

(b) The facility shall also require the new owner to sign a register indicating that the new owner has received a form and register shall also contain the name and address of the new owner and shall be permanently maintained by the facility.

(c) The person obtaining a dog in this manner is required to have this dog inoculated against rabies and obtain a permanent license within thirty (30) days.

(d) Any person who violates the provisions of this section is subject to the penalty provisions of § 4-13-4.

P.L. 1987, ch. 388, § 1.

 

4-13-5. License information and record. --

Every owner or keeper of a dog applying for a license as provided for in § 4-13-4 shall furnish the city or town clerk with the following information: name and address of owner or keeper, and breed, sex, color, and name of dog to be licensed. The city or town clerk shall assign a registered number for each dog licensed and shall enter on the license the registered number, name, and address of the owner or keeper, and the breed, sex, color, and name of the dog licensed, and shall keep a record of all licenses issued.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 10; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 10; P.L. 1916, ch. 1384, § 1; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 10; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 10; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-5; P.L. 1970, ch. 196, § 1.

 

4-13-6. [Repealed.]

Repealed Sections.

This section (G.L. 1923, ch. 135, § 10; P.L. 1916, ch. 1384, § 1; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 10; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 10; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-6), concerning certification as to spayed dog, was repealed by P.L. 1970, ch. 196, § 2.

 

4-13-7. Notice as to time and place of issuing licenses. --

The city or town clerks of the several cities and towns shall annually, in the month of March, give notice by publication at least once in a newspaper of general circulation within the city or town, giving notice to the people of the time and place for issuing the licenses provided for in this chapter.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 19; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 19; G.L. 1932, ch. 136, § 19; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 19; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-7; P.L. 1970, ch. 196, § 1.

 

4-13-8. Disposition of license fees. --

Towns and cities may adopt ordinances or regulations concerning the use of money received, but where no ordinances or regulations are adopted, town and city clerks shall issue licenses and receive the money and pay the money into the treasury of the city or town retaining fifty cents (50centsfor his or her own use for each license issued.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 11; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 11; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 11; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 11; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-8; P.L. 1962, ch. 7, § 1; P.L. 1970, ch. 196, § 1.

 

4-13-9. Pups exempt from license. --

No license shall be required for any dog under the age of six (6) months.

G.L. 1909, ch. 111, § 29; P.L. 1897, ch. 462, § 2; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 29; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 29; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 30; G.L. 1976, § 4-13-9.

 

4-13-10. Thoroughbred dogs exempt -- Kennel licenses. --

No license fee is imposed on any thoroughbred dogs kept for breeding and stud purposes only; provided, that the dog is owned by a breeder or annual exhibitor of thoroughbred dogs; and provided, further, that the dogs are kept in a breeding kennel licensed in accordance with the provisions of this section, and only allowed at large in charge of the owner or keeper of that kennel. Every owner or keeper of thoroughbred dogs may make application to the city or town clerk or board of police commissioners or chief of police granting the dog licenses in the town or city in which that kennel is proposed to be located for what shall be known as a kennel license. The application states the name or names of the owner and keeper of the kennel, the proposed location of the kennel, and the number of dogs to be kept; and that the dogs are to be kept only for breeding and stud purposes. If that town or city clerk or board of police commissioners or chief of police deems that the kennel and the use and operation of that kennel at that location would not constitute a public nuisance, he, she, or they shall issue a kennel license authorizing the owner or keeper to keep the kennel in the definite location to be specified in the license, upon the payment by the applicant of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for the license. Every kennel license is for a period not exceeding one year and expires on the first day of April. All moneys received shall be credited to the dog fund of the town or city. Any person without a kennel license who establishes or keeps a kennel shall be fined not exceeding five dollars ($5.00) for each day the kennel is kept.

G.L. 1909, ch. 111, § 28; P.L. 1897, ch. 462, § 1; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 28; P.L. 1915, ch. 1240, § 2; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 28; P.L. 1925, ch. 645, § 1; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 29; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-10; P.L. 1970, ch. 196, § 1.

 

4-13-11. Annual census of dogs -- List of licenses issued. --

The city or town sergeant of each city or town, or any special constables as the city or town council of the city or town may appoint, annually in the month of April, shall ascertain and make a list of the owners or keepers of dogs in the city or town and return the list to the city or town clerk on or before the last day of May. The sergeant or constables shall receive from the city or town treasury the sum of twenty cents (20centsfor each dog listed, except in the city of Providence, where the special constable shall receive from the city treasurer a sum fixed by the city council of the city for each dog listed. The city or town clerk shall within two (2) weeks thereafter furnish to the city or town sergeant or to each special constable appointed and sworn a list of all dogs licensed for the current year and a list of those not licensed, with the names of the owners or keepers, and shall, except in the cities of Newport and Providence, post the list in at least three (3) public places in the city or town or publish the list in any other manner as the city or town council may direct. This section does not apply to the city of Pawtucket insofar as special provision is made for that city.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 12; P.L. 1897, ch. 453, § 1; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 12; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 12; P.L. 1932, ch. 1951, § 3; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 12; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-11.

 

4-13-12. [Repealed.]

Repealed Sections.

This section (G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 13; P.L. 1897, ch. 453, § 1; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 13; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 13; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 13; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-12), concerning destruction of unlicensed dogs, was repealed by P.L. 1985, ch. 270, § 1, effective June 19, 1985.

 

4-13-13. Wrongful removal of collar -- Theft or destruction of licensed dogs -- Poisoning. --

Whoever wrongfully removes the collar from the neck of a dog licensed and collared according to the provisions of this chapter, or steals a dog licensed or collared, or kills, maims, entices, carries away, or detains a licensed dog, or distributes or exposes a poisonous substance, with the intent that the poisonous substance shall be eaten by a licensed dog, shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten dollars ($10.00), nor more than one hundred dollars ($100) or be imprisoned not exceeding thirty (30) days, or both, and shall be liable to the dog's owner for damages in a civil action.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 14; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 14; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 14; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 14; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-13; P.L. 1969, ch. 135, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 434, § 1.

 

4-13-14. Licensing by police authorities. --

The duties imposed on town and city clerks by this chapter shall be performed by the boards of police commissioners, respectively, in the cities and towns where these boards grant the dog licenses, and in the city of Newport by the chief of police of that city.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 26; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 26; P.L. 1915, ch. 1240, § 1; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 26; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 27; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-14.

 

4-13-15. Collaring of dogs -- Impoundment and disposition of uncollared dogs. --

(a) Every owner or keeper of a dog shall cause the dog to wear a collar around its neck distinctly marked with its owner's or keeper's name and with its registered number. Any person may cause any dog not so collared to be impounded in the public pound of the town or city where the dog is found; and if the dog is not claimed by its owner or keeper within a period of five (5) days after the impoundment, the dog may be disposed of or destroyed. The five (5) days shall not include any day or part of a day that the public pound is not open for a specified period of time, not to be less than one-half ( 1/2 ) the normal hours of business, for the purpose of reclaiming any impounded dog by its rightful owner. All periods of time shall be listed in a prominent location at the entrance to all public pounds. The owner or keeper of any dog so impounded shall not take the dog out of the pound until he or she has first paid to the poundkeeper the expense of keeping the dog, that expense not to exceed two dollars ($2.00) per day and to be determined by the city or town council in which impoundment occurs. The town council of the town of Glocester may, by ordinance, determine an expense not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00) for each of the first five (5) days during which this impoundment occurs plus five dollars ($5.00) every day the animal is detained, plus an additional ten dollars ($10.00) if the owner or keeper is unable to show that the dog has a current rabies shot pursuant to § 4-13-31, and further, the dog shall not be released from the pound until all the provisions of this chapter and the ordinances of the city or town are complied with. The provisions of this section relating to the five (5) day waiting period shall not be deemed to apply to any dog which, when impounded, was injured or maimed, and after the dog has been examined by a licensed veterinarian who shall confirm, in writing, that the dog be destroyed for humanitarian purposes.

The town of West Warwick may provide by ordinance an impounding fee of five dollars ($5.00) per day and may provide by ordinance for a fee for the purposes of transferring ownership or for the disposition of said animals according to law for each adult dog (six (6) months or older) the sum of twenty dollars ($20.00) and for each puppy the sum of five dollars ($5.00) for each adult cat (six (6) months or older) the sum of ten dollars ($10.00).

(b) Any person violating the provisions of this section is subject to the penalty provisions of § 4-1-2.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) the town council of the town of Exeter may impose an initial impoundment fee of up to fifteen dollars ($15.00) plus two dollars ($2.00) per day for each day of impoundment.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), the city council of the city of East Providence is authorized to enact an ordinance imposing an initial impoundment fee of up to twenty dollars ($20.00) plus five dollars ($5.00) per day for each day of impoundment.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), the town council of the town of Richmond is authorized to enact an ordinance providing for an impoundment fee of not more than twenty dollars ($20.00) per day for any impounded animal, and requiring payment of the fee before an impounded animal may be released to its owner.

CREDIT(S)
P.L. 1911, ch. 666, § 1; P.L. 1970, ch. 196, § 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 63, § 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 176, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 37, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 59, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 401, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 500, § 1, eff. July 7, 2006; P.L. 2011, ch. 141, § 1, eff. June 29, 2011; P.L. 2011, ch. 142, § 1, eff. June 29, 2011.
 
Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 4; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 4; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 4; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 4.
 

4-13-15.1. Ordinances concerning unrestricted and vicious dogs prohibited -- Leash laws. --

(a) City or town councils may make any ordinances concerning dogs in their cities or towns as the councils deem expedient, pertaining to the conduct of dogs, which ordinances shall include regulations relating to unrestricted dogs, leash laws, confinement, and destruction of vicious dogs. Those ordinances may provide as follows:

(1) Every owner or custodian of a dog shall cause that dog not to run unrestricted anywhere in the city or town. This section does not apply to any person who uses a dog under his or her direct supervision while lawfully hunting, while engaged in a supervised formal obedience training class or show or during formally sanctioned field trials.

(2) It is unlawful for any owner of a dog to place that dog or allow it to be placed in the custody of any other person not physically capable of maintaining effective control of restricting the dog.

(3) The city or town dog officer is empowered to seize and impound any dog found off the property of its owner or custodian when that dog is unrestricted.

(4) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be fined not exceeding two hundred and fifty dollars ($250).

(b) The town council of the town of Westerly is authorized to enact an ordinance permitting the animal control officer in that town to issue citations to the owner of any dog found off the property of its owner or custodian and to prescribe a pecuniary penalty not to exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00) for each violation.

(c) The town council of the town of Exeter is authorized to enact an ordinance imposing an initial fee of up to fifteen dollars ($15.00) for the impoundment of a dog plus two dollars ($2.00) per day for each day of impoundment. The town of Exeter may also, in addition to the fines provided for under subsection (a)(4) of this section and under any other provision of law, require proof of liability insurance for a twelve (12) month period in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for third time offenders of its animal control ordinances. Said insurance policy shall cover injuries and damages caused by the dog and shall, for purposes of notice, name the town as an additional insured.

P.L. 1984, ch. 306, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 35, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 60, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 275, § 1.

 

4-13-16. Action for damages to animals -- Double damages on second recovery -- Destruction of offending dog. --

If any dog kills, wounds, worries, or assists in killing, wounding or worrying, any sheep, lamb, cattle, horse, hog, swine, fowl, or other domestic animal belonging to or in the possession of any person, or assaults, bites, or otherwise injures any person 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 aggrieved, for all damage sustained, to be recovered in a civil action, with costs of suit. If afterwards any such damage is done by that dog, the owner or keeper of the dog shall pay to the party aggrieved double the damage, to be recovered in the manner set forth and an order shall be made by the court before whom that 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 the dog knew that the dog was accustomed to causing this damage.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 3; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 3; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 3; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 3; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-16.

 

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.

 

4-13-17. Civil liability of person harboring dog for damages. --

Any person keeping or harboring in his or her house or on his or her lands any dog, or knowingly suffering this to be done by any other person, shall be liable for all damages done by the dog in the same manner as if he or she were the owner.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 5; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 5; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 5; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 5; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-17.

 

4-13-18. Destruction of dogs in defense of person or livestock. --

Any person may kill any dog that suddenly assaults him or her or any person of his or her family or in his or her company, while the person assaulted is out of the enclosure of the owner or keeper of that dog and any person may kill any dog found out of the enclosure of its owner or keeper, assaulting, wounding, or killing any cattle, sheep, lamb, horse, hog, or fowl, not the property of its owner.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 6; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 6; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 6; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 6; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-18; P.L. 1981, ch. 374, § 1.

 

4-13-19. Order to confine or kill vicious dog -- Subsequent damages. --

(a) If any person, or any member of his or her family shall be assaulted by any dog, out of the enclosure of its owner or keeper, or if any person shall have reason to believe that any dog will, out of that enclosure, do any injury to his or her person, family or property, and shall make complaint under oath, to any judge of the district court, that judge shall issue a summons to the owner or keeper of the dog, to appear before the division of the district court having jurisdiction of the case; and if, on examination, the court shall believe that the assault is proved, or that the complaint has reasonable grounds for the belief, it shall adjudge, and shall adjudge that the defendant pay costs of the proceedings and award execution of the proceedings, otherwise the costs shall be paid by the complainant; and the court shall issue written notice to the owner or keeper, and the owner or keeper shall forthwith confine or kill the dog; and if he or she neglects to kill the dog or keep the dog confined, he or she shall forfeit the sum of not less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100), to be recovered for the use of the city or town, and any person may kill the dog; and if, after that notice, the dog wounds or injures any person, or shall, elsewhere than on its owner's or keeper's premises, worries, wounds or kills any neat-cattle, sheep, lamb, geese or fowl, or does any other mischief, the owner or keeper is liable to pay the person injured triple damages with costs; and in all cases of complaints under this section recognizance shall be given for costs, and the fees and costs shall be the same as in other cases of complaints before the district court.

(b) The district court judge may, in his or her discretion, if the court determines the dog, while out of the enclosure of its owner or keeper, has assaulted a person or killed a domesticated animal and is dangerous, order the detention or destruction of the dog.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 7; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 7; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 7; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 7; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-19; P.L. 1969, ch. 239, § 46; P.L. 1980, ch. 249, § 1.

 

4-13-20. Appraisal of damages done by dogs. --

Each town or city council, excepting the town and city councils in the cities of Newport and Pawtucket and in the towns of Jamestown, Little Compton, New Shoreham, Tiverton, Exeter, and Burrillville shall annually in the month of April appoint one or more suitable persons as appraisers, who shall be sworn to the faithful discharge of their duties, to appraise the damage that may be done to any owner of any sheep, goats or lambs, cattle or horses, hogs or fowls, closely confined game birds, or closely confined rabbits suffering loss by reason of the biting, maiming, or killing by any dog or dogs, and to give a statement in writing to the owner suffering the loss; and the owner, suffering loss, shall, within two (2) days after the loss comes to his or her knowledge, notify the appraiser, appointed and sworn, living nearest to him or her in the city or town where the damage occurred, of the loss; and the appraiser shall, on receipt of twenty-five cents (25centsfor each mile's travel (or, in the towns of Middletown and Portsmouth, twenty cents (20centsfor each mile's travel) and the sum of one dollar ($1.00) from the owner, appraise the damage and give a statement in writing, with his or her lawful fees taxed thereon, to the owner; and the owner shall, within sixty (60) days, present the statement to the city or town council of the city or town, who shall draw an order on the city or town treasurer for the amount of the appraisal and fees, or for any other amount as the council, in the council's discretion, after careful examination, shall deem just; and the order, when presented to the city or town treasurer, shall be paid in the same manner as any other order made by the city or town council upon the city or town treasurer.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1932, ch. 1942, § 1; P.L. 1932, ch. 1951, § 3; P.L. 1949, ch. 2233, § 1; P.L. 1949, ch. 2323, § 1; P.L. 1962, ch. 7, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 93, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 298, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 455, § 1.

 

4-13-21. Appraisal and payment of damages in certain Newport county towns. --

Each town or city council in the county of Newport, except in the towns of Middletown and Portsmouth, shall annually in the month of April appoint one or more suitable persons appraisers, who shall be sworn to the faithful discharge of their duties, to appraise the damage that may be done to any owner of any sheep or lambs, cattle, horses, hogs, goats, or fowls, suffering loss by reason of the biting, maiming, or killing by any dog, and to give a statement in writing to the owner suffering loss; and the owner, suffering loss shall within two (2) days after the loss comes to his or her knowledge, notify the appraiser, appointed and sworn, living nearest to him or her in the city or town where the owner resides, of the loss; and the appraiser shall, on receipt of twenty cents (20centsfor each mile's travel and the sum of one dollar ($1.00) from the owner, appraise the damage and give a statement in writing, with his or her lawful fees taxed thereon, to the owner; and the owner shall, within sixty (60) days, present to the town or city council of the town or city where the damage is done the appraisal, and the town or city council of the town or city shall draw an order on the town or city treasurer for the amount of the appraisal and fees, or for any other amount as the council, in the council's discretion, after careful examination, shall deem just. The town or city treasurer shall annually, on the last Monday in March, pay all those orders in full, if the gross amount received by the town or city under the provisions of this chapter, after deducting all sums previously laid out under those provisions, is sufficient; otherwise the town or city treasurer shall divide the amount, after deducting the sums, pro rata among the orders, and the payment shall be in full discharge of the orders.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1949, ch. 2233, § 1; P.L. 1962, ch. 7, § 1; P.L. 1975, ch. 31, § 1.

 

4-13-22. Subrogation of town or city to claim for damages. --

Upon drawing an order as provided in §§ 4-13-20 and 4-13-21, the town or city may recover, in a civil action against the keeper or owner of any dog involved in the damage, full compensation for the damage done by his or her dog and costs of appraisal. Should the person suffering loss avail himself or herself of the provisions in §§ 4-13-20 -- 4-13-22, he or she shall not be entitled to maintain a suit for damages against the owner or keeper of the dog.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 17; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 17; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 17; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 17.

 

4-13-23. Sworn testimony before appraiser. --

Whenever any owner of a sheep or lamb, cattle, horse, hog or fowl, suffering loss by reason of the biting, maiming or killing by any dog, notifies the appraiser as provided in §§ 4-13-20 and 4-13-21, the appraiser shall require the owner and any other person to be sworn before him or her, touching the loss, and, when sworn, to answer in writing as to any facts or circumstances relating to the loss, and the special constable or appraiser shall administer the oath.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 20; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 20; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 20; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 20.

 

4-13-24. Penalty for neglect of duties. --

Any person appointed under the provisions of this chapter who qualifies himself or herself to act, and every city or town clerk and every city or town council, who willfully neglects to perform any of the duties imposed upon him, her, or them by the provisions, shall forfeit one hundred dollars ($100) for the use of any person who sues for the penalty.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 18; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 18; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 18; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 18; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-24.

 

4-13-25. Election of special constable and appraiser in Pawtucket. --

The council of the city of Pawtucket shall in the month of February in each year elect a special constable under the dog law, and an appraiser of damage done by dogs.

P.L. 1932, ch. 1951, § 1; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 26; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-25.

 

4-13-26 -- 4-13-28. [Repealed.]

Repealed Sections.

Former §§ 4-13-26 -- 4-13-28 (P.L. 1912, ch. 800, §§ 1, 2; P.L. 1912, ch. 842, § 1; G.L. 1923, ch. 135, § 30; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, §§ 30 -- 32; P.L. 1929, ch. 1348, § 1; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, §§ 31 -- 33; G.L. 1956, §§ 4- 13-26 -- 4-13-28), concerning rabies examination and authorization and payment for rabies treatment, were repealed by P.L. 1992, ch. 353, §§ 3, 4, and 5, effective July 21, 1992.

 

4-13-29. Quarantine to suppress rabies -- Report of cases. --

(a) The rabies control board of Rhode Island is empowered to issue any rules and regulations not contrary to law that may be necessary in setting the terms and conditions of each type of quarantine or to quarantine any area or areas within the state that the board may from time to time deem necessary for the purpose of prevention, controlling, or suppressing rabies. The rabies control board is authorized to quarantine any animal suspected of harboring rabies and/or to delegate the authority to quarantine dogs, cats, and ferrets suspected of harboring rabies to local animal control officers (ACO) or other representatives authorized by the municipality. The board or its agents are authorized to seek a warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction for entry to any premises, public or private, where probable cause exists that a violation of this section and/or § 4-13-31 is occurring within or about the premises. Notification shall be given immediately to the board or any of its members by any person or persons, including but not limited to veterinarians, licensed to practice in this state, and city or town health officials, upon the detection by them of an animal suspected to be affected with rabies.

(b) Any appeal from an order of quarantine shall be to the superior court of Providence County or in the county in which the cause of action arose.

G.L. 1938, ch. 136, § 33; P.L. 1930, ch. 1597, § 1; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 34; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-29; P.L. 1992, ch. 353, § 2; P.L. 1995, ch. 388, § 1.

 

4-13-29.1. Responsibility for local rabies control. --

Each city and town is required to provide for the control of rabies in cats, dogs, and ferrets within its boundaries. The municipality may elect to adopt into ordinance provisions at least as stringent as this chapter and the regulations adopted by the board or it may choose to accept delegation of the authority of the board as provided in § 4-13-29. The rabies control board has the authority to institute a civil action to enforce the provisions of this section.

P.L. 1995, ch. 388, § 2.

 

4-13-29.2. Exemption from liability. --

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, neither the rabies control board, any member of the board, the state or any of the state's subdivisions, or any person acting as their agent, is subject to civil liabilities or penalties of any type, arising out of their actions performed in the course of their duties pursuant to this chapter. Nothing in this section is to be construed to limit or otherwise affect the liability of any person for damages resulting from the person's gross negligence or from the person's reckless, wanton, or intentional misconduct.

P.L. 1995, ch. 388, § 2.

 

4-13-29.3. Regulations for suppression of rabies. --

The rabies control board has the authority to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out the functions required to prevent, control, or suppress rabies and every person who fails to comply with any regulation made shall be fined not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), or be imprisoned not exceeding one year.

P.L. 1995, ch. 388, § 2.

 

4-13-30. [Obsolete.]

Compiler's Notes.

This section (G.L. 1938, ch. 136, § 34; P.L. 1930, ch. 1597, § 1; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 35; impl. am. P.L. 1939, ch. 660, § 180; G.L. 1956, § 4-13- 30), relating to notice of quarantine to director of health, was omitted as obsolete in the 1976 Reenactment because of the provisions of P.L. 1962, ch. 80, § 12, as amended by P.L. 1963, ch. 74, § 1, which provided that "state veterinarian" shall be deemed to mean and include the director of health, thereby rendering meaningless the provisions of this section, which read: "The state veterinarian shall upon declaring a quarantine, as provided in § 4-13- 29, notify the state director of health of such action."

 

4-13-31. Compulsory rabies vaccination. --

(a) For the purpose of preventing the introduction of rabies when rabies appears in any nearby area and its appearance creates a threat of introduction into Rhode Island, or for the suppression, or for the control of rabies, the board shall make regulations requiring compulsory vaccination of dogs, cats, ferrets or any other domestic animal as deemed necessary against rabies in a manner specified by it in any area or areas within the state, which are deemed necessary to prevent that introduction, or for the purposes of suppression and control.

(b) The board is authorized to engage any personnel within the department of health or department of environment to assist in carrying out any regulation which may be promulgated for the suppression and control of rabies.

(c) Upon receipt of a written request from any city or town council or the mayor of any town or city and with the consent and approval of the health officers of those towns and cities, the board shall establish in cooperation with local and state health department authorities, public clinics for the vaccination of dogs, cats, and ferrets against rabies. Those clinics shall be conducted in accordance with provisions and regulations proposed by and under the supervision of the board.

(d) Rabies vaccine for animals may be administered only by or under the direct and specific supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

(e) Except as otherwise amended by board regulation, the owner or keeper of a dog, cat, or ferret shall have the animal vaccinated not earlier than three (3) months of age nor later than four (4) months of age and at regular intervals as prescribed by board regulations, but at no time to exceed recommendations made by the most current compendium of animal rabies control.

(f) Any veterinarian or any person directed by a veterinarian who vaccinates a dog, cat, or ferret against rabies must issue a rabies vaccination certificate to the animal's owner. This certificate shall meet the minimum standards approved by the board, which include: the veterinarian's name, the veterinarian's practice name, address and telephone number; the pet owner's name and address, the pet's name, species, age coloration and sex; the rabies vaccine manufacturer's name; the date of inoculation and the signature of the doctor who administered or directed the administration of the rabies vaccine. For dogs, cats, and ferrets, there shall be a record kept which lists the number of the rabies tag issued in conjunction with the rabies vaccination certificate.

(g) No city or town may register or license a pet that is not vaccinated for rabies in accordance with this chapter. Proof of rabies vaccination shall be a current, valid rabies certificate for any species.

(h) This chapter shall not apply to any dog or cat imported into this state strictly for exhibition or breeding purposes, and which does not remain in this state for more than fifteen (15) days and which is accompanied by a valid health certificate or certificate of veterinary inspection.

(i) A person who fails to have or refuses to have each dog, cat, and/or ferret owned or kept by the person vaccinated against rabies violates the provisions of this chapter.

G.L. 1956, ch. 639, § 34; P.L. 1954, ch. 3364, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-31; P.L. 1958, ch. 181, § 1; P.L. 1962, ch. 80, § 12; P.L. 1963, ch. 74, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 353, § 2; P.L. 1995, ch. 388, § 1.

 

4-13-32. Penalty for violation of rabies suppression provisions. --

Any person violating the provisions of §§ 4-13-29 and 4-13-31 shall be charged with a misdemeanor and fined not less than two hundred dollars ($200) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each offense or be imprisoned for not less than ten (10) days nor more than thirty (30) days and/or be subject to confiscation of the animal(s) which is/are the basis of the violation.

G.L. 1956, ch. 136, § 35; P.L. 1930, ch. 1597, § 1; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 37; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-32; P.L. 1992, ch. 353, § 2; P.L. 1995, ch. 388, § 1.

 

4-13-33. Agent of society for prevention of cruelty as special constable. --

The board of police commissioners of any city, and the city council and town council of any city or town where there is no board of police commissioners, may appoint an agent of the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals as special constable or officer to enforce this chapter, and when appointed that agent shall have all the authority and power and be subject to all the duties and liabilities imposed upon special officers by this chapter. The general agent or any special agent of The Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shall have the authority to enforce this chapter whenever any violation of this chapter comes to the attention of that general agent or special agent.

G.L. 1938, ch. 141, § 20; P.L. 1927, ch. 1037, § 1; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 36; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-33; P.L. 1986, ch. 429, § 4.

 

4-13-34. Correction of defects in prosecutions. --

Any defect in any action, complaint and warrant, indictment or other proceeding commenced and prosecuted under this chapter, either of form or substance, may be amended by the court before which the action, complaint and warrant or indictment is originally brought or may be pending.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 21; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 21; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 21; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 21; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-34.

 

4-13-35. Immunity of officers from costs. --

No officer making complaint under this chapter shall be required to give surety for costs, or be liable for the costs that may arise upon any complaint brought under this chapter.

G.L. 1896, ch. 111, § 27; G.L. 1909, ch. 135, § 27; G.L. 1923, ch. 136, § 27; G.L. 1938, ch. 639, § 28; G.L. 1956, § 4-13-35.

 

4-13-36. Agent of Robert Potter league for animals in town of Portsmouth as special constable. --

The town council of the town of Portsmouth may appoint an agent of the Robert Potter league for animals as special constable or officer to enforce this chapter, and when appointed, that agent shall have all the authority and power and be subject to all the duties and liabilities imposed upon special officers by this chapter.

P.L. 1962, ch. 79, § 1.

 

4-13-37. Agent of Robert Potter league for animals in town of Middletown as special constable. --

The town council of the town of Middletown may appoint an agent of the Robert Potter league for animals as special constable or officer to enforce this chapter, and when appointed, that agent shall have all the authority and power and be subject to all the duties and liabilities imposed upon special officers by this chapter.

P.L. 1962, ch. 119, § 1.

 

4-13-38. Dogs attacking deer. --

A person owning, keeping or possessing a dog shall not allow, permit or consent to this dog chasing, hunting, molesting, attacking, or killing a deer. The director of environmental management is authorized to issue an order to restrain all dogs from running at large in any city or town where, in the director's opinion, this restraining order is necessary to prevent dogs from chasing, hunting, molesting, attacking, or killing deer. This order shall be in effect forty-eight (48) hours after publication in one or more newspapers circulated in the city or town. When, in the director's opinion, the director determines that this restraining order is no longer necessary, the director shall, by publication, rescind this order. A person owning, keeping, or possessing a dog shall restrain it from running at large in any city or town in which this restraining order is in effect. The chief of the division of enforcement, the chief's assistants, conservation officers, members of the state police, members of the local police, in areas over which they have jurisdiction, may issue a citation to the owner of any dog found chasing, hunting, molesting, attacking, or killing a deer, charging the owner with a violation of this chapter. During any period when this order is not in force, the chief of the division of enforcement, the chief's assistants, conservation officers and members of the state police and members of the local police and park police in areas over which they have jurisdiction, may issue a citation to the owner of any dog found chasing or hunting a deer if the dog is chasing or hunting with the knowledge or consent of the owner. Whenever a dog has been found chasing, hunting, molesting, attacking, or killing a deer and the owner or keeper of the dog has been notified by the director, and the same dog is found chasing, hunting, molesting, attacking, or killing, it shall be prima facie evidence that this chasing, hunting, molesting, attacking, or killing was with the knowledge or consent of the owner or keeper.

P.L. 1988, ch. 586, § 1.

 

4-13-39. Penalties. --

Any person convicted of a violation of this chapter shall be fined fifty dollars ($50) for a first offense and one hundred dollars ($100) for a second and subsequent offense.

P.L. 1988, ch. 586, § 1.

 

4-13-40. Exemptions from application of chapter. --

The provisions of this chapter do not apply to K-9 and/or other dogs owned by any police department or any law enforcement officer which are used in the performance of police work.

P.L. 1996, ch. 417, § 1.

 

4-13-41. Use of the terms owner or guardian. --

Wherever the word "owner" shall appear in this chapter it shall also mean and may be interchanged with the word "guardian" as defined in § 4-13-1.2.

P.L. 2001, ch. 72, § 3.

 

§ 4-13-42. Care of dogs

(a) It shall be a violation of this section for an owner or keeper to:

 (1) Keep any dog on a permanent tether that restricts movement of the tethered dog to an area less than one hundred thirteen square feet (113 sq. ft.), or less than a six foot (6’) radius at ground level.

 (2) Tether a dog with a choke-type collar or prong-type collar.

 (3) Keep any dog tethered for more than ten (10) hours during a twenty-four (24) hour period or keep any dog confined in a pen, cage or other shelter for more than fourteen (14) hours during any twenty-four (24) hour period.

(b) It shall be a violation of this section for an owner or keeper to fail to provide a dog with adequate feed, adequate water, or adequate veterinary care as those terms are defined in § 4-19-2; provided however, that adequate veterinary care may be provided by an owner using acceptable animal husbandry practices.

(c) Any person in violation of this section shall be given a warning for a first violation. Second and subsequent violations of this subsection can be considered a violation of § 4-1-2. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.

(d) The provisions of this section shall not apply:

(1) If the tethering or confinement is authorized for medical reasons in writing by a veterinarian licensed in Rhode Island, the authorization is renewed annually, and shelter is provided;

(2) If tethering or confinement is authorized in writing by an animal control officer;

(3) To a training facility, grooming facility, commercial boarding kennel, pet shop licensed in accordance with chapter 4-19, animal shelter, municipal pound or veterinary facility;

 (4) To licensed hunters, field trial participants or any person raising or training a gun dog or hunting dog, provided that the licensed hunter or field trial hunt test participant is actively engaged in hunting, training or field trial hunt testing or is transporting the dog to or from an event;

 (5) To livestock farmers who use their dogs to protect their livestock from predators;

 (6) To an exhibitor holding a class C license under the Animal Welfare Act, (7 U.S.C. § 2133) that are temporarily in the state; or

 (7) To sled dog owners who are actively training their dogs to pull sleds in winter conditions.

(e) Any person in violation of this section shall be imprisoned not exceeding eleven (11) months, or fined not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), or both. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.

(f) General agents or special agents of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) are hereby authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter in cooperation with animal control officers.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 2012, ch. 301, § 2, eff. June 20, 2012; P.L. 2012, ch. 358, § 2, eff. June 20, 2012.

 

§ 4-13-43. Prohibition of breed specific regulation

No city or town may enact any rule, regulation or ordinance specific to any breed of dog or cat in the exercise of its power to further control and regulate dogs, cats or other animals as authorized by this chapter.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 2013, ch. 450, § 1, eff. July 16, 2013.

 

TITLE 4.  Animals and Animal Husbandry.  CHAPTER 4-13.1.  Regulation of Vicious Dogs.

 § 4-13.1-1  Declaration of purpose. –

(a) It is declared that vicious dogs have become a serious and widespread threat to the safety and welfare of citizens of the state, in that vicious dogs have in recent years assaulted without provocation and seriously injured numerous individuals, particularly children, and have killed numerous dogs. Many of these attacks have occurred in public places.

(b) The number and severity of these attacks are also attributable to the failure of owners to register, confine, and properly control vicious dogs.

(c) It is further declared that the necessity for the regulation and control of vicious dogs is a statewide problem, requiring statewide regulation, and that existing laws are inadequate to deal with the threat to public health and safety posed by vicious dogs.

(d) It is further declared that the owning, keeping or harboring of vicious dogs is a nuisance.

(e) It is further declared that because of the danger posed to the public, health, safety and welfare by vicious dogs, this chapter constitutes an emergency measure providing for the immediate preservation of the public health, safety and welfare.

P.L. 1985, ch. 400, § 1.

 

 § 4-13.1-2  Definitions.

As used in §§ 4-13.1-1--4-13.1-14, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context indicates another or different meaning or intent:

(1) "Dog officer" means any person defined by the provisions of chapter 19 of this title.

(2) "Domestic animals" means animals which, through extremely long association with humans, have been bred to a degree which has resulted in genetic changes affecting the temperament, color, conformation, or other attributes of the species to an extent that makes them unique and distinguishable from wild individuals of their species. Such animals may include but are not limited to:

(i) Domestic dog (Canis familiaris);
 
(ii) Domestic cat (Felis catus);
 
(iii) Domestic horse (Equus caballus);
 
(iv) Domestic ass, burro, and donkey (Equus asinus);
 
(v) Domestic cattle (Bos taurus and Bos indicus);
 
(vi) Domestic sheep (Ovi aries);
 
(vii) Domestic goat (Capra hircus);
 
(viii) Domestic swine (Sus scrofa domestica);
 
(ix) Llama (lama alama);
 
(x) Alpaca (lama pacos);
 
(xi) Camels (Camelus bactrianus and Camel dromedarius);
 
(xii) Domestic races of European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus);
 
(xiii) Domestic races of chickens (Callus gallus);
 
(xiv) Domestic races of duck and geese (Anatidae) morphologically distinguishable from wild birds;
 
(xv) Domestic races of guinea fowl (Numida meleagris);
 
(xvi) Domestic races of peafowl (Pavo scristatus).

(3) "Enclosure" means a fence or structure of at least six feet (6') in height, forming or causing an enclosure suitable to prevent the entry of young children, and suitable to confine a vicious dog in conjunction with other measures which may be taken by the owner or keeper, such as tethering of the vicious dog. The enclosure shall be securely enclosed and locked and designed with secure sides, top, and bottom and shall be designed to prevent the animal from escaping from the enclosure.

(4) "Impounded" means taken into the custody of the public pound in the city or town where the vicious dog is found.

(5) "Person" means a natural person or any legal entity, including but not limited to, a corporation, firm, partnership, or trust.

(6) "Vicious dog" means:

(i) Any dog that, when unprovoked, in a vicious or terrorizing manner, approaches any person in apparent attitude of attack upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds or places;
 
(ii) Any dog with a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals;
 
(iii) Any dog that bites, inflicts injury, assaults, or otherwise attacks a human being or domestic animal without provocation on public or private property; or
 
(iv) Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or any dog trained for dog fighting.

Notwithstanding the definition of a vicious dog in subsection (6), no dog may be declared vicious in accordance with § 4-13.1-11 of this chapter if an injury or damage is sustained by a person who, at the time that injury or damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort upon premises occupied by the owner or keeper of the dog, or was teasing, tormenting, provoking, abusing or assaulting the dog or was committing or attempting to commit a crime.

No dog may be declared vicious if an injury or damage was sustained by a domestic animal which at the time that injury or damage was sustained was teasing, tormenting, provoking, abusing or assaulting the dog. No dog may be declared vicious if the dog was protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the dog from an unjustified attack or assault.

(7) "Guardian" shall mean a person(s) having the same rights and responsibilities of an owner, and both terms shall be used interchangeably. A guardian shall also mean a person who possesses, has title to or an interest in, harbors or has control, custody or possession of an animal and who is responsible for an animal's safety and well-being.

(8) "Muzzle" means a device which shall not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration but shall prevent the dog from biting a person or animal.

(9) "Serious injury" means any physical injury consisting of a broken bone(s) or permanently disfiguring lacerations requiring stitches, multiple stitches or sutures, or cosmetic surgery.

(10) "Enclosed area" means an area surrounded by a fence that will prevent the dog from leaving the owner's property.

(11) "Tie-out" means a cable, rope, light weight chain, or other means attached to the dog that will prevent the dog from leaving the owner's property.

(12) "Leash" means a rope, cable, nylon strap, or other means attached to the dog that will provide the owner with control of the dog.

P.L. 1985, ch. 400, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 429, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 274, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 72, § 5; P.L. 2004, ch. 365, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 374, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 308, § 1, eff. July 6, 2007; P.L. 2007, ch. 430, § 1, eff. July 6, 2007. 

 

  § 4-13.1-3  Requirements for registration.

(a) No dog that has been declared vicious shall be licensed by any city or town for any licensing period commencing after April 1986, unless the owner or keeper of that dog that has been declared vicious meets any or all of the following requirements as may be imposed by the hearing panel:

(1) A panel convened pursuant to § 4-13.1-11 of this chapter and/or a judge of the district court may require the owner or keeper to present to the city or town clerk or other licensing authority proof that the owner or keeper has procured liability insurance in the amount of at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), covering any damage or injury which may be caused by the vicious dog during the twelve (12) month period for which licensing is sought, which policy contains a provision requiring the city or town to be named as additional insured for the sole purpose of the city or town clerk or other licensing authority where that dog is licensed to be notified by the insurance company of any cancellation, termination or expiration of the liability insurance policy.
 
(2) The owner or keeper shall, at his or her own expense, have the licensing number assigned to the vicious dog, or any other identification number that the city or town clerk or other licensing authority determines, tattooed upon the vicious dog by a licensed veterinarian or person trained as a tattooist and authorized a licensed veterinarian or tattooist by any state, city or town police department. The tattoo shall be placed on the upper inner left rear thigh of the vicious dog. The dog officer may, in his or her discretion, designate the particular location of the tattoo. The licensing number shall be noted on the city or town licensing files for the vicious dog, if it is different from the license number of the vicious dog. For the purposes of this section, tattoo shall be defined as any permanent numbering of a vicious dog by means of indelible or permanent ink with the number designated by the licensing authority, or any other permanent, acceptable method of tattooing. A microchip may be used in lieu of a tattoo. Each city or town shall affix a two (2) letter prefix to the identification number in order to identify the particular city or town where the dog was initially licensed.
 
(3) The owner or keeper shall display a sign on his or her premises warning that there is a vicious dog on the premises. The sign shall be visible and capable of being read from the public highway.
 
(4) The owner or keeper shall sign a statement attesting that:
 
(i) The owner or keeper shall maintain and not voluntarily cancel the liability insurance required by this section during the twelve (12) month period for which licensing is sought, unless the owner or keeper ceases to own or keep the vicious dog prior to expiration of the license.
 
(ii) The owner or keeper shall have an enclosure for the vicious dog on the property where the vicious dog will be kept or maintained.
 
(iii) The owner or keeper shall notify the police department or the dog officer within two (2) hours if a vicious dog is on the loose, is unconfined, has attacked another animal or has attacked a human being, or has died.
 
(5) When the dog is off the owner's property, it shall be on a leash and/or muzzled.
 
(6) When the dog is outdoors on the owner's property, it must be on a leash and/or muzzled, or tie-out, or in an enclosed area which prevents its escape.

(b) A dog officer is empowered to make whatever inquiry is deemed necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter, and any dog officer is empowered to seize and impound any vicious dog whose owner or keeper fails to comply with this chapter.

(c) In the event that the owner or keeper of the dog refuses to surrender the animal to the dog officer, the dog officer may request a police officer to obtain a search warrant from a justice of the district court and to seize the dog upon execution of the warrant.

(d) A dog must be spayed or neutered unless a licensed veterinarian states in writing that the procedure would threaten the life of the dog.

(e) If an owner or keeper moves, he or she shall notify the dog officer of the city or town in which he/she resides and the dog officer of the city or town in which he or she is to reside.

(f) An owner or keeper may leave a dog under the care and control of someone over the age of sixteen (16) years.

(g) It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper to sell or give away any dog declared vicious.

P.L. 1985, ch. 400, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 429, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 274, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 365, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 374, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 308, § 1, eff. July 6, 2007; P.L. 2007, ch. 430, § 1, eff. July 6, 2007.

 

   § 4-13.1-4  Control of vicious dogs. 

(a) All dogs that have been declared vicious shall be confined in an enclosure. It is unlawful for any owner or keeper to maintain a dog that has been declared vicious upon any premises which does not have a locked enclosure.

(b) It is unlawful for any owner or keeper to allow any vicious dog to be outside of the dwelling of the owner or keeper or outside of the enclosure unless it is necessary for the owner or keeper to obtain veterinary care for the vicious dog or to comply with commands or directions of the dog officer with respect to the vicious dog, or to comply with the provisions of § 4- 13.1-3(a)(1) or (a)(2). In this event, the vicious dog shall be securely muzzled and restrained with a leash or chain having a minimum tensile strength of three hundred (300) pounds and not exceeding three feet (3') in length, and shall be under the direct control and supervision of the owner or keeper of the vicious dog.

P.L. 1985, ch. 400, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 365, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 374, § 1.

 

§ 4-13.1-5  Harboring dogs for dog fighting – Training dogs to attack humans – Selling, breeding, or buying dogs.

(a) No person shall own or harbor any dog for the purpose of dog fighting, or train, torment, badger, bait, or use any dog for the purpose of causing or encouraging the dog to unprovoked attacks upon human beings or domestic animals.

 (b) No person shall possess with intent to sell, or offer for sale, breed, or buy or attempt to buy within the state any vicious dog.

P.L. 1985, ch. 400, § 1.

 

   § 4-13.1-6  [Repealed.]. –

 

   § 4-13.1-7  Action for damages – Destruction of offending vicious dog.

If any dog declared vicious under § 4-13.1-11, when unprovoked, kills or wounds, or assists in killing or wounding, any domestic animal, belonging to or in the possession of any person, or, when unprovoked, attacks, assaults, bites, or otherwise injures any human being or assists in attacking, assaulting, biting or otherwise injuring any human being while out of or within the enclosure of the owner or keeper of the vicious dog, or while otherwise on or off the property of the owner or keeper whether or not the vicious dog was on a leash and securely muzzled or whether the vicious dog escaped without fault of the owner or keeper, the owner or keeper of the dog may be liable to the person aggrieved for all damage sustained, to be recovered in a civil action, with costs of suit. It is rebuttably presumed as a matter of law that the owning, keeping, or harboring of a dog that has been declared vicious in violation of this chapter is a nuisance. It shall not be necessary, in order to sustain any action, to prove that the owner or keeper of a dog that has been declared vicious knew that the dog that has been declared vicious possessed the propensity to cause this damage or that the dog had a vicious nature.

P.L. 1985, ch. 400, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 429, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 274, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 365, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 374, § 1.

 

   § 4-13.1-8  Exemptions. –

(a) Sections 4-13.1-3 – 4-13.1-7 shall not apply to kennels licensed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter or chapter 19 of this title.

(b) This chapter shall not apply to K-9 or other dogs owned by any police department or any law enforcement officer which are used in the performance of police work.

P.L. 1985, ch. 400, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 429, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 274, § 1.

 

   § 4-13.1-9  Penalties for violation – Licensing ordinances and fees.

(a) Any dog declared vicious under § 4-13.1-11:

(1) Whose owner or keeper does not secure the liability insurance coverage required in accordance with § 4-13.1-3;
 
(2) Which is not maintained on property with an enclosure;
 
(3) Which is outside of the dwelling of the owner or keeper, or outside of an enclosure except as provided in § 4-13.1-4; or
 
(4) Which is not tattooed or microchipped, may be confiscated by a dog officer or may be destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner after the expiration of a five (5) day waiting period exclusive of Sundays and holidays which shall not include any day or part thereof that the public pound is not open for a specified period of time, not to be less than one half ( 1/2 ) the normal hours of business, for the purpose of reclaiming any such dog by its rightful owner. In addition, the owner or keeper shall pay a five hundred fifty dollar ($550) fine.
 
(5) Provided, further, that in addition to the violations listed herein, if any section of this chapter does not specifically provide a penalty for a violation, the penalty shall be five hundred fifty dollars ($550) for the first offense and one thousand dollars ($1000) for any subsequent violation.

(b) If any dog declared vicious under § 4-13.1-11, when unprovoked, kills, wounds, or worries or assists in killing or wounding any animal described in § 4-13.1-7, the owner or keeper of the dog shall pay a five hundred fifty dollar ($550) fine. The dog officer is empowered to confiscate the dog. After the expiration of a five (5) day waiting period, excluding Sundays and holidays, which shall not include any day or part thereof that the public pound is not open for a specified period of time, not to be less than one half ( 1/2 ) the normal hours of business, for the purpose of the rightful owner's reclaiming the dog, the dog officer may destroy the vicious dog. For each subsequent violation, the owner or keeper of the dog shall pay a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000).

(c)(1) If any dog declared vicious under § 4-13.1-11, when unprovoked, attacks, assaults, wounds, bites, or otherwise injures, kills or seriously injures a human being, the owner or keeper shall pay a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000) and the dog officer is empowered to confiscate and, after the expiration of a five (5) day waiting period, which shall not include any day or part thereof that the public pound is not open for a specified period of time, not to be less than one half ( 1/2 ) the normal hours of business, for the purpose of reclaiming any such dog by its rightful owner, may destroy the vicious dog. For each subsequent violation, the owner or keeper shall pay a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), for owning or keeping a vicious dog which attacks, assaults, wounds, bites or otherwise injures or kills a human being. In the event a dog kills a person, the dog shall be humanely euthanized.

(2) The dog officer may confiscate a dog for any violation of this section. If the owner or keeper does not contact the dog officer, or if the dog officer cannot, with a reasonable effort, contact the owner or keeper, the dog may be euthanized under § 4-13-15. If the owner or keeper is found, the dog officer may give the owner or keeper up to ten (10) days to meet the previously imposed requirements. If the requirements are not met in the allotted time, the dog may be euthanized. The owner or keeper will be responsible for the kennel and euthanizing cost.
 
(3) No person shall be charged under subsections (a), (b) or (c), unless the dog, prior to the offense alleged, has been declared vicious pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
 
(4) If any dog declared vicious under § 4-13.1-11, seriously injures a person as that term is defined in § 4-13.1-2 or kills or seriously injures a domestic animal, the dog may be humanely euthanized, at the owner's expense, upon a unanimous vote of the hearing panel.

(d)(1) Every city or town shall enact an ordinance requiring the licensing of dogs within their jurisdiction at a fee not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00). In addition, each city or town shall charge an additional fee of two dollars ($2.00) for each license, that fee to be used exclusively by the cities and towns for enforcement of laws pertaining to animals.

(2) Every owner or keeper of any dog found to be in violation of any city or town ordinance governing the licensing of dogs shall for the first offense be fined twenty-five dollars ($25.00) and for a second violation of the ordinance shall be fined two hundred dollars ($200) and shall be required at his or her own expense, to have the dog tattooed in a manner prescribed this chapter, and for a third or subsequent offense shall be fined five hundred dollars ($500), and shall be required at his or her own expense, to have the dog tattooed or microchipped in a manner prescribed by this chapter.
 
(3) No fine and/or tattooing or microchipping requirement shall be suspended by any court of competent jurisdiction.

(e)(1) If the owner or keeper of a dog impounded for an alleged violation of §§ 4-13.1-3, 4-13.1-4, or 4-13.1-5 believes that there has not been a violation of those sections, the owner or keeper may petition the district court which has jurisdiction in the city or town where the dog is impounded praying that the impounded dog not be destroyed. The impounded dog shall not be destroyed pending resolution of the owner's or keeper's petition.

(2) The petition shall be filed within five (5) days of impoundment of the dog. Notice shall be served within five (5) days of the impoundment of the dog upon the dog officer or keeper of the dog pound. The hearing shall be conducted within fourteen (14) days from serving of the notice.
 
(3) The decision of the district court may be appealed to the superior court by any aggrieved party within forty eight (48) hours of the decision. The dog shall remain impounded pending the appeal. A hearing de novo, without a jury, shall be conducted within fourteen (14) days of the appeal.
 
(4) The decision of the superior court shall be final and conclusive upon all parties thereto. However, the dog officer or any law enforcement officer shall have the right to convene a hearing under § 4-13.1-3 for any actions of the dog subsequent to the date of violation. If the court finds that there has not been a violation of §§ 4-13.1-3 through 4-13.1-5, the dog may be released to the custody of the owner or keeper upon payment to the pound keeper or dog officer of the expense of keeping the dog. The city or town councils may establish by ordinance a schedule of those costs.

(f) One-half ( 1/2 ) of all fines paid pursuant to this section shall be paid to the city or town in which the violation occurred for the purpose of defraying the cost of the implementation of the provisions of this chapter.

(g) No dog shall be destroyed within five (5) days of being impounded, exclusive of Sundays and holidays, and which shall not include any day or part of a day that the public pound is not open for a specified period of time, not to be less than one half ( 1/2 ) the normal hours of business, for the purpose of reclaiming any such dog by its rightful owner.

(h) If a dog has been declared vicious pursuant to § 4-13.1-11, the owner or keeper shall display a sign on his or her premises warning that there is a vicious dog on the premises. The sign shall be visible and capable of being read from the public highway.

(i) If a dog has been declared vicious pursuant to § 4-13.1-11, the owner or keeper shall sign a statement attesting that the owner or keeper shall maintain and not voluntarily cancel any liability insurance required pursuant to this section during the twelve (12) month period for which licensing is sought, unless the owner or keeper shall cease to own or keep the vicious dog prior to the expiration of the license.

(j) The owner or keeper shall notify the local police or animal control officer within two (2) hours if a dog that has been declared vicious is on the loose, is unconfined, has attacked another animal or has attacked a human being or has died.

(k) It shall be unlawful for any owner to sell or give away a dog that has been declared vicious within the state.

(l) A dog officer is hereby empowered to make whatever inquiry is deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter, and any such dog officer is hereby empowered to seize and impound any dog that has been declared vicious whose owner or keeper fails to comply with these provisions.

P.L. 1985, ch. 400, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 429, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 274, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 365, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 374, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 308, § 1, eff. July 6, 2007; P.L. 2007, ch. 430, § 1, eff. July 6, 2007.

 

   § 4-13.1-10  Legal registration drives. –

It shall be the duty of each city or town to conduct a licensing drive annually after September 1, 1985 in order to ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

P.L. 1985, ch. 400, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 429, § 1.

 

   § 4-13.1-11  Determination of a vicious dog.

(a) In the event that the dog officer or law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a dog is vicious, the chief dog officer or his or her immediate supervisor or the chief of police, or his or her designee, is empowered to convene a hearing for the purpose of determining whether or not the dog in question should be declared vicious. The dog officer or chief of police shall conduct or cause to be conducted an investigation and shall notify the owner or keeper of the dog that a hearing will be held, at which time he or she may have the opportunity to present evidence why the dog should not be declared vicious. The hearing shall be held promptly within no less than five (5) nor more than ten (10) days after service of notice upon the owner or keeper of the dog while said notice shall be served upon the owner. The hearing shall be informal and shall be open to the public. The hearing shall be conducted by a panel of three (3) persons which shall consist of the chief of police or his or her designee, the executive director of the society for the prevention of cruelty to animals (S.P.C.A.) or his or her designee, and a person chosen by the chief of police and the executive director of the S.P.C. A. All members of the panel shall have one vote in making a determination whether or not the dog in question is vicious. Hearing officers shall have immunity.

(b) After the hearing, the owner or keeper of the dog shall be notified in writing of the determination. If a determination is made that the dog is vicious, the owner or keeper shall comply with this chapter in accordance with a time schedule established by the dog officer or chief of police, but in no case more than thirty (30) days subsequent to the date of the determination. If the owner or keeper of the dog contests the determination, he or she may, within five (5) days of that determination, bring a petition in the district court within the judicial district where the dog is owned or kept, praying that the court conduct its own hearing on whether or not the dog should be declared vicious. After service of notice upon the dog officer, the court shall conduct a hearing de novo and make its own determination as to viciousness. The hearing shall be conducted within seven (7) days of the service of the notice upon the dog officer or law enforcement officer involved. The issue shall be decided upon the preponderance of the evidence. If the court rules the dog to be vicious, the court may establish a time schedule to insure compliance with this chapter, but in no case more than thirty (30) days subsequent to the date of the court's determination. If the owner has not complied with the provisions of this chapter at the end of thirty (30) days from the written notification that the dog is vicious, the dog may be euthanized.

(c) The court may decide all issues for or against the owner or keeper of the dog regardless of the fact that the owner or keeper fails to appear at the hearing.

(d) The determination of the district court shall be final and conclusive upon all parties. The dog officer or any law enforcement officer shall have the right to convene a hearing under this section for any subsequent actions of the dog.

(e) In the event that the dog officer or law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that the dog in question is vicious and may pose a threat of serious harm to human beings or other domestic animals, the dog officer or law enforcement officer may seize and impound the dog pending the hearings. The owner or keeper of the dog is liable to the city or town where the dog is impounded for the costs and expenses of keeping the dog. The city or town council may establish by ordinance a schedule of those costs and expenses.

P.L. 1986, ch. 429, § 3; P.L. 1989, ch. 470, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 365, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 374, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 308, § 1, eff. July 6, 2007; P.L. 2007, ch. 430, § 1, eff. July 6, 2007.

 

   § 4-13.1-12  Uniform summons – Mail-in fines – Prosecution. –

The attorney general shall establish a uniform summons or citation to be used by state and municipal law enforcement agencies in the enforcement of this chapter. Fines of one hundred dollars ($100) or less may be paid by mail. All other fines or penalties shall require a court appearance. Any offense under this chapter may be prosecuted by complaint.

P.L. 1986, ch. 429, § 3; P.L. 1998, ch. 274, § 1.

 

   § 4-13.1-13  Liability of parents for damages caused by dog owned by minor. –

In the event that the owner or keeper of the vicious dog is a minor, the parent or guardian of that minor is liable for all injuries and property damage sustained by any person or domestic animal caused by an unprovoked attack by that vicious dog.

P.L. 1986, ch. 429, § 3.

 

   § 4-13.1-14  Severability. –

If any provision of this chapter, or the application of this chapter to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of the chapter and the application of those provisions to other persons and circumstances shall not be affected by that invalidity.

P.L. 1985, ch. 400, § 1.

 

   § 4-13.1-15  Use of the terms owner or guardian. –

Wherever the word "owner" shall appear in this chapter it shall also mean and may be interchanged with the word "guardian" as defined in § 4-13.1-2.

P.L. 2001, ch. 72, § 6.

 

§ 4-13.1-16. Prohibition of breed specific regulation

No city or town may enact any rule, regulation or ordinance specific to any breed of dog or cat in the exercise of its power to further control and regulate dogs, cats or other animals as authorized by this chapter.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 2013, ch. 450, § 2, eff. July 16, 2013.

 

TITLE 4.  Animals and Animal Husbandry.  CHAPTER 4-19.  Animal Care.

   § 4-19-1  Purpose. – The purpose of this chapter is:

 (1) To protect the owners of dogs and cats from the sale or use of stolen pets;

 (2) To insure that all warm-blooded vertebrate animals, as items of commerce are provided humane care and treatment by regulating the transportation, sale, purchase, housing, care, handling and treatment of these animals by persons or organizations engaged in transporting, buying, or selling them for commercial use;

 (3) To insure that animals confined in pet shops, kennels, animal shelters, auction markets, and pounds are provided humane care and treatment;

 (4) To release for sale, trade or adoption only those animals which appear to be free of infection, communicable disease, or abnormalities, unless veterinary care subsequent to release is assured; and

 (5) To ensure the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats which are adopted from a releasing agency.

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1; P.L. 1993, ch. 24, § 1.

 

   § 4-19-2  Definitions. –

As used in this chapter, chapter 13 of this title, and the regulations promulgated under this chapter:

(1) “Adequate feed” means the provision at suitable intervals, not to exceed twenty-four (24) hours, of a quantity of wholesome foodstuff suitable for the species and age, sufficient to maintain a reasonable level of nutrition in each animal. The foodstuff shall be served in a sanitized receptacle, dish, or container.

(2) “Adequate water” means a constant access to a supply of clean, fresh, potable water provided in a sanitary manner or provided at suitable intervals for the species and not to exceed twenty-four (24) hours at any interval.

(3) “Adequate veterinary care” means care by a licensed veterinarian sufficient to prevent the animal from experiencing unnecessary or unjustified physical pain or suffering.

(4) “Adopt” means when an adopting party voluntarily acquires and assumes responsibility for a dog or a cat from a releasing agency.

(5) “Adopting party” means any person who enters into a contract acquiring a dog or cat from a releasing agency.

(6) “Ambient temperature” means the temperature surrounding the animal.

(7) “Animal” means any dog or cat, rabbit, rodent, nonhuman primate, bird or other warm-blooded vertebrate amphibian, fish or reptile but shall not include horses, cattle, sheep, goats, swine, and domestic fowl.

(8) “Animal shelter” means a facility which is used to house or contain animals and which is owned, operated, or 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.

(9) “Breeder” means a person engaged in the propagation of purebred dogs and/or cats for the purpose of improving and enhancing a breed recognized and registered by the American kennel club, American field stud book, or a registered cat breed association.

(10) “Dealer” means any person who sells, exchanges, or donates, or offers to sell, exchange, or donate animals to another dealer, pet shop, or research facility, or who breeds dogs and/or cats for the purpose of selling or donating to another dealer or pet shop, or research facility.

(11) “Director” means the director of environmental management of the state of Rhode Island.

(12) “Dog officer” means any person employed, contracted or appointed by the state or any political subdivision of the state for the purpose of aiding in the enforcement of this chapter or any other law, or ordinance relating to the licensing of dogs, cats or other animals, the control of dogs, cats or other animals, or the seizure and impoundment of dogs, cats or other animals and includes any state or municipal peace officer, animal control officer, sheriff, constable or other employee whose duties in whole or in part include assignments which involve the seizure or taking into custody of any dog, cat or other animal.

(13) “Euthanasia” means the humane destruction of an animal accomplished by a method that involves instantaneous unconsciousness and immediate death or by a method that involves anesthesia, produced by an agent which causes painless loss of consciousness, and death during that loss of consciousness.

(14) “Hobby breeder” means those persons whose regular occupation is not the breeding and raising of dogs and cats and whose method of sale is at retail only.

(15) “Housing facility” means any room, building, or area used to contain a primary enclosure or enclosures.

(16) “Kennel” means a place or establishment other than a pound or animal shelter where animals not owned by the proprietor are sheltered, fed, and watered in return for a fee.

(17) “Licensed releasing agency” means any animal shelter, animal rescue league, pound, dog pound, animal control facility, animal control officer, humane society, or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals which is required to be licensed with the director and is so licensed.

(18) “Neuter” means to surgically render a male dog or cat unable to reproduce.

(19) “Person” means any individual, partnership, firm, joint stock company, corporation, association, trust, estate, or other legal entity.

(20) “Pet shop” means a temporary or permanent establishment where animals are bought, sold, exchanged, or offered for sale or exchange to the general public at retail. This shall not include an establishment or person whose total sales are the offspring of canine or feline females maintained on their premises and sold from those premises.

(21) “Pound” or “dog pound” means a facility operated by a state, or any political subdivision of a state, for the purpose of impounding or harboring seized, stray, homeless, abandoned or unwanted dogs, cats, and other animals or a facility operated for that purpose under a contract with any municipal corporation or incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

(22) “Primary enclosure” means any structure used to immediately restrict an animal or animals to a limited amount of space, as a room, pen, cage, compartment, or hutch.

(23) “Public auction” means any place or location where dogs or cats are sold at auction to the highest bidder regardless of whether those dogs or cats are offered as individuals, as a group, or by weight.

(24) “Research facility” means any place, laboratory or institution at which scientific tests, investigations or experiments, involving the use of living animals are carried out, conducted, or attempted.

(25) “Sanitize” means to make physically clean and to remove and destroy to a practical minimum, agents injurious to health.

(26) “Sexual maturity” means when a dog or cat reaches six (6) months. In all instances the licensed releasing agency will determine the age of the dog or cat.

(27) “Spay” means to surgically render a female dog or cat unable to reproduce.

(28) “State veterinarian” means a licensed veterinarian from the department of environmental management.

(29) “Guardian” shall mean a person(s) having the same rights and responsibilities of an owner, and both terms shall be used interchangeably. A guardian shall also mean a person who possesses, has title to or an interest in, harbors or has control, custody or possession of an animal and who is responsible for an animal's safety and well-being.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1; P.L. 1993, ch. 24, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 231, § 2; P.L. 1994, ch. 420, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 260, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 72, § 10; P.L. 2012, ch. 301, § 3, eff. June 20, 2012; P.L. 2012, ch. 358, § 3, eff. June 20, 2012.

 

   § 4-19-3  Registration of municipal dog pounds. –

No municipality shall operate a dog pound unless a certificate of registration for that dog pound has been granted by the director. Application for that certificate shall be made in the manner provided by the director. No fee is required for the application or certificate. Certificates of registration are valid for a period of one year or until revoked and may be renewed annually on the first day of January for like periods upon application in the manner provided.

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 231, § 2.

 

   § 4-19-4  Registration of animal shelters. –

No person shall operate an animal shelter unless a certificate of registration for that animal shelter has been granted by the director. Application for that certificate shall be made in the manner provided by the director. No fee is required for the application or certificate. Certificates of registration are valid for a period of one year or until revoked and may be renewed annually on the first day of January for like periods upon application in the manner provided.

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 231, § 2.

 

   §4-19-5  Pet shop licenses. –

No person shall operate a pet shop, as defined in this chapter unless a license to operate that establishment shall have been granted by the director. Application for that license shall be made in the manner provided by the director. The license period is the fiscal year and the license fee is one hundred dollars ($100.00) for each license period or partial period beginning with the first day of the fiscal year.

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 231, § 2; P.L. 2004, ch. 595, art. 33, § 4.

 

   § 4-19-6  Public auction and kennel licenses. 

(a) No person shall operate a public auction or a kennel, as defined in this chapter, unless a license to operate that establishment has been granted by the director. Application for the license shall be made in the manner provided by the director. The license period is the fiscal year and the license fee shall be fifty dollars ($50.00) for each license period or part thereof beginning with the first day of the fiscal year.

(b) This section shall not be interpreted to interfere in any manner with the issuing of a public auction or kennel license by any city or town, nor any fee charged by any city or town. No license shall be issued by the director except for those premises as shall be designated by the respective city or town council.

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 231, § 2; P.L. 2004, ch. 595, art. 33, § 4.

 

   § 4-19-7  Dealer licenses. –

No person shall be a dealer, as defined in this chapter, after the first day of the fiscal year unless a license to deal has been granted by the director to that person. Application for the license shall be made in the manner provided by the director. The license period is the fiscal year and the license fee is one hundred dollars ($100) for each license period or part beginning with the first day of the fiscal year.

 P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1.

 

   § 4-19-8  Denial of certificates of registration or licenses. –

A certificate of registration may be denied to any pound or animal shelter and a license may be denied to any public auction, kennel, pet shop or dealer or, if granted, the certificate or license may be revoked by the director if, after a hearing, it is determined that the housing facilities and/or primary enclosures are inadequate for the purposes of this chapter or if the feeding, watering, sanitizing and housing practices at the pound, animal shelter, public auction, pet shop or kennel are not consistent with the intent of this chapter or with the intent of the rules and regulations which may be promulgated pursuant to the authority of this chapter.

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1.

 

   § 4-19-9  Operation of pet shop, kennel or public auction without a license. –

Any person who operates a pet shop, kennel or public auction without a currently valid license shall upon conviction for the first offense be punished by a fine not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00), for the second and subsequent offense by a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100).

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 231, § 2.

 

   § 4-19-10  Dealing in animals without a license. –

Any person dealing in animals, as defined in this chapter, without a currently valid license shall upon conviction for the first offense be punished by a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100), for the second offense by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500), or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both.

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1.

 

   § 4-19-11  Mistreatment of animals. –

Failure of any person licensed or registered to adequately house, feed and water animals in his or her possession or custody shall constitute a misdemeanor, and upon conviction the person shall be subject to a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100) per animal. Those animals shall be subject to seizure and impoundment and upon conviction of the person may be sold or euthanized at the discretion of the director and that failure shall also constitute grounds for revocation of license or registration after a public hearing.

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1.

 

   § 4-19-11.1. Repealed by P.L. 2005, ch. 256, § 1, eff. July 13, 2005; P.L. 2005, ch. 262, § 1, eff. July 13, 2005.

 

   § 4-19-11.2  Destruction of animals and cats – Reporting. –

All cities and towns are required to notify the department of environmental management monthly of the number of animals and cats destroyed.

 P.L. 1990, ch. 42, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 231, § 2; P.L. 1994, ch. 420, § 1.

 

   § 4-19-11.3  Penalty for violations. –

Any person, firm or corporation who violates any provision of this chapter unless otherwise stated is subject upon conviction to a fine of five hundred dollars ($500) for the first offense and not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1000) for the second and subsequent offense and loss of specimen(s) and revocation of license and/or certificate after a public hearing.

P.L. 1994, ch. 231, § 3.

 

   § 4-19-12  Disposition of animals. 

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of the general or public laws to the contrary, it shall be unlawful to dispose of any animal by using a carbon monoxide chamber or gas chamber. All animals, which must be disposed of by a municipal pound or shelter, the humane society animal shelter, or any other private pound or animal shelter, however, described, must be disposed of by lethal injection. In the event of an emergency, if a licensed veterinarian cannot be secured without undue delay and, in the opinion of the animal control officer, animal control administrator, approved humane investigator, or animal shelter employee, the animal is so severely injured, diseased, or suffering in such a manner the animal cannot otherwise be humanely destroyed in an expeditious manner, the animal may be destroyed by shooting; provided, that:

(1) Maximum precaution is taken to minimize the animal's suffering and to protect other persons and animals;

(2) The animal is restrained in a humane manner;

(3) Shooting is performed by highly skilled and trained personnel utilizing a weapon, ammunition of suitable caliber, and other characteristics, and proper placement of the shot to produce an instantaneous death by a single gunshot.

If any type of restraint or confinement is deemed necessary for the safety of those involved or for efficiency in euthanizing the animal, it must be done in the most humane way possible to cause the least amount of additional stress to that animal.

(b)(1) No dog officer shall give or sell or negotiate for the gift or sale to a dealer or research facility of any animal which may come into his or her custody in the course of carrying out his or her official assignments.

(2) No dog officer shall be granted a dealer's license. Each application for a dealer's license shall include a statement made under oath, that neither the applicant or any member or employee of the firm, partnership, or corporation making application is a dog officer within the meaning of this chapter.

(3) A dog officer, or incorporated humane society, upon taking custody of any animal in the course of their official duties, shall immediately make a record of the matter in the manner prescribed by the director and the record shall include a description of the animal including color, breed, sex, reason for seizure, location of seizure, the owner's name and address if known and all license or other identification numbers if any. Complete information relating to the disposition of the animal, including compliance with the provisions of §§ 4-19-16 and 4-19-18 and any legal actions taken to uphold and enforce this law, shall be added in the manner provided by the director immediately after disposition. The information shall be forwarded monthly to the department of environmental management.

(c) This section shall not apply to any research laboratories or facilities of any hospital, college, or university within the state.

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 420, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 162, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 125, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 203, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 256, § 2; P.L. 2005, ch. 262, § 2.

 

§ 4-19-12.1. Public health exemptions

Destruction of animals using gas shall be permitted only by state agencies for the protection of public health. In addition, companies permitted by the department of environmental management pursuant to § 20-1-18 shall also be exempt from this ban on the use of gas.

P.L. 2005, ch. 256, § 4; P.L. 2005, ch. 262, § 4.

 

   § 4-19-13  Rules and regulations. –

The director may, as he or she deems indicated and appropriate, promulgate rules and regulations consistent with the objectives and intent of this chapter for the purpose of carrying out those objectives and intent. Those rules and regulations may include, but are not limited to, provisions relating to humane transportation to and from registered or licensed premises, records of purchase and sale, identification of animals handled, primary enclosures, housing facilities, sanitation, euthanasia, ambient temperatures, feeding, watering, adequate veterinary medical care, disposition and voluntary surrender of animals at shelters with and without a request for disposition or destruction of the animal. He or she may, at his or her discretion, after public hearing, adopt in whole or in part, those portions of the rules and regulations promulgated by the secretary of the United States department of agriculture pursuant to the provisions of the animal welfare act, 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq., which are consistent with the intent and purpose of this chapter.

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 483, § 1.

 

   § 4-19-14  Chapter inapplicable. –

This chapter does not apply to a place or establishment which is operated under the immediate supervision of a duly licensed veterinarian as a hospital where animals are harbored, boarded and cared for incidental to the treatment, prevention, or alleviation of disease processes during the routine practice of the profession of veterinary medicine except that, if animals are accepted by that place, establishment or hospital for the primary purpose of boarding in return for a fee, the place, establishment or hospital is subject to the kennel license provisions of this chapter and the regulations relating to the license which may be promulgated by the director. This chapter shall not apply to any dealer or research facility during the period that the dealer or research facility is in the possession of a valid license or registration granted by the secretary of agriculture pursuant to 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq. This chapter shall not apply to breeders, nor to hobby breeders.

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1.

 

   § 4-19-15  Access of inspectors to property. –

Any authorized representative of the director, and the general agent of the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, has the power to enter at reasonable times upon any private or public property for the purposes of inspection and investigating conditions relating to the provisions of this chapter.

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1.

 

   §4-19-16  Mandatory spaying and neutering of dogs and cats adopted from a licensed releasing agency. –

(a)(1) No licensed releasing agency shall release, sell, trade, give away, exchange, adopt out, or otherwise transfer with or without a fee any dog or cat that has not been spayed or neutered unless the adopting party executes a written agreement with the licensed releasing agency to have the dog or cat spayed or neutered in accordance with subdivisions (2) and (3).

(2) The licensed releasing agency is authorized to enter into a written adoption agreement with the adopting party provided that at the time of execution of the written agreement, the licensed releasing agency collect from the adopting party an amount equal to the cost to the licensed releasing agency for the spaying or neutering of the dog or cat to be adopted. The written agreement must include the dog or cat's age, sex, and general description; the date the adoption agreement was executed; the date by which the licensed releasing agency anticipates that the dog or cat will be spayed or neutered; the date by which the adoptive party shall claim the dog or cat; the adopting party's name, address, phone number, and signature; the licensed releasing agency's name, address, phone number, and the dollar amount remitted to the licensed releasing agency for the cost of spaying or neutering the dog or cat.

(3) After execution of the agreement, the licensed releasing agency shall cause the dog or cat to be spayed or neutered and, when medically fit, shall transfer custody of the dog or cat to the adopting party. Any dog or cat that is not claimed by the adoptive party within ten (10) days of the date enumerated in the written adoption agreement shall be considered unclaimed and may be offered for adoption to another party.

(b) The following are exemptions from the provisions of subsection (a):

(1) A licensed releasing agency returns a stray dog or cat to its owner.

(2) A licensed releasing agency receives a written report from a licensed veterinarian stating that the life of the dog or cat would be jeopardized by the surgery and that this health condition is likely to be permanent.

(3) A licensed releasing agency receives a written report from a licensed veterinarian stating that there is a temporary health condition, including sexual immaturity, which would make surgery life threatening to the dog or cat or impracticable, in which instance the licensed releasing agency shall enter into a written agreement for the spaying or neutering of the dog or cat upon resolution of the temporary health condition or the animal reaching maturity and shall collect from the adopting party an amount equal to the cost to the licensed releasing agency for the spaying or neutering of the dog or cat to be adopted. The licensed releasing agency may then allow the transfer of the dog or cat to the adopting party who shall return the dog or cat to the licensed releasing agency for spaying or neutering upon resolution of the temporary health condition or the animal reaching sexual maturity. The licensed releasing agency may grant the adopting party an appropriate extension of time in which to have the dog or cat spayed or neutered based on the veterinarian's report.

(4) A licensed releasing agency transfers a dog or cat to another licensed releasing agency.

(c) If requested to do so, a licensed releasing agency shall refund fees collected for the purpose of spaying or neutering the dog or cat to the adopting party upon reasonable proof being presented to the releasing agency by the adopting party that the dog or cat died before the spaying or neutering was required to be completed.

(d) Any and all licensed releasing agencies:

(1) May enter into cooperative agreements with each other and with veterinarians in carrying out this section; and

(2) Shall make a good faith effort to cause an adopting party to comply with this section.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1993, ch. 24, § 2; P.L. 1995, ch. 260, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 312, § 1, eff. July 15, 2013; P.L. 2013, ch. 417, § 1, eff. July 15, 2013.

 

   § 4-19-17  Forfeited deposits. 

Upon request, the adoptive party shall receive a refund for the fee collected by the licensed releasing agency under the provisions of subsection 4-19-16(a) provided that the licensed releasing agency has not caused the dog or cat to be spayed or neutered at the time the request for such refund is made.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1993, ch. 24, § 2; P.L. 1995, ch. 260, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 125, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 203, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 312, § 1, eff. July 15, 2013; P.L. 2013, ch. 417, § 1, eff. July 15, 2013.

 

   § 4-19-18  Penalties for violations. 

(a) Violations of the provisions of § 4-19-16 or the written agreement executed pursuant to § 4-19-16 by an adopting party are punishable by a fine of fifty dollars ($50.00) for the first offense, one hundred fifty dollars ($150) for the second offense and four hundred dollars ($400) for the third and subsequent offenses. Each and every incidence of non-compliance by an adopting party which continues unremedied for thirty (30) days after written notice of a violation under this section constitutes a subsequent offense and the attendant penalties will apply. Second and subsequent offenses may constitute grounds for seizure and forfeiture of the dog or cat, which seizure will be conducted by a dog officer or a police officer for the city or town in which the adopting party resides, and the seized animal will be returned to the licensed releasing agency from which it was adopted, which licensed releasing agency will be free to adopt out or euthanize the seized dog or cat. The adopting party loses all ownership rights in the seized dog or cat, forfeits all rights to any fee or deposit paid for the dog or cat, and shall have no claim against the licensed releasing agency or any other person for any expenses incurred by the adopting party for the dog or cat's maintenance. The provisions of §§ 4-19-16 -- 4-19-18 will be enforced against an adopting party by a dog officer or a police officer for the city or town in which the adopting party resides. Licensed releasing agencies must notify the animal control officer or police officer in the city or town in which the adopting party resides, in writing, within fourteen (14) days of any violation of the provisions of § 4-19-16.

(b) Violations of § 4-19-16 or 4-19-17 by a licensed releasing agency are punishable by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for the first offense, two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for the second offense and five hundred dollars ($500) for the third and subsequent offenses. The third and subsequent offenses may result in the temporary or permanent revocation of the licensed releasing agency's license to operate. Compliance by the releasing agency with §§ 4-19-16 -- 4-19-18 will be monitored as to the licensed releasing agencies by the state veterinarian. The provisions of §§ 4-19-16 through 4-19-18 will be enforced against a licensed releasing agency by the division of law enforcement of the department of environmental management.

(c) All fines collected under subsection (a) will be remitted to the town or city clerk of the municipality where the adopting party of the dog or cat resides. These fines shall be used by the municipality only for programs for the spaying or neutering of dogs or cats. All fines collected under subsection (b) will be remitted to the general treasurer and placed in a separate fund within the general fund to be called the “Animal Health Fund” which shall be administered by the general treasurer in the same manner as the general fund. All funds deposited in the “Animal Health Fund” shall be made available to the department of environmental management division of agriculture to defray any costs or expenses incurred by the state veterinarian in the enforcement of §§ 4-19-16, 4-19-17 and 4-19-18.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1993, ch. 24, § 2; P.L. 1995, ch. 260, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 125, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 203, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 312, § 1, eff. July 15, 2013; P.L. 2013, ch. 417, § 1, eff. July 15, 2013.

 

   §4-19-19  Adoption of municipal ordinances. –

No provision of this chapter prohibits any city or town from adopting any provision of this chapter as a municipal ordinance.

 P.L. 1993, ch. 24, § 2.

 

   § 4-19-20  Severability. –

If any provision of this chapter or the application of any provision to any person or circumstances are held invalid, the remainder of the chapter and the application of any provision to persons or circumstances other than those as to which it is held invalid shall not be affected by this invalidity.

P.L. 1972, ch. 46, § 1.

 

   § 4-19-21  Use of the terms owner or guardian. –

Wherever the word "owner" shall appear in this chapter it shall also mean and may be interchanged with the word "guardian" as defined in § 4-19-2.

P.L. 2001, ch. 72, § 11.

 

 



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