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Rhode Island

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 4. Animals and Animal Husbandry. Chapter 15. Animals at Large. 4-15-15. Veterinarian's emergency treatment of animals--Immunity from liability

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: Gen.Laws 1956, 4-15-15

Citation: RI ST 4-15-15


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 12/2013

Summary:   This Rhode Island statute provides that any licensed veterinarian of this state has the right to treat any animal which has become injured upon any public highway of this state or upon any public or private property of this state which is transported to that veterinarian by any person.  If in the veterinarian's opinion the injuries sustained by the animal will result in death, the veterinarian has the right to apply euthanasia to eliminate any unnecessary suffering.  Further, any animal treated by the veterinarian not reclaimed within 72 hours may be relinquished to the appropriate animal control facility.  A veterinarian incurs no civil liability for actions taken in treating such animals.


Statute in Full:

(a) Any licensed veterinarian of this state has the right to treat any animal which has become injured upon any public highway of this state or upon any public or private property of this state which is transported to that veterinarian by any person.

(b) If in the veterinarian's opinion the injuries sustained by the animal will result in death, the veterinarian has the right to apply euthanasia to eliminate any unnecessary suffering.

(c) If, at the conclusion of a seventy-two (72) hour period the legal owner of the animal has not been identified or presented himself or herself to the veterinarian, the veterinarian has the right to return the animal to the animal control warden or dog officer of the community where the animal was injured for disposition. The animal warden or dog officer shall have the right to dispose of the animal in accordance with the ordinances set forth by the community.

(d) The veterinarian, animal control officer, or dog officer, or any person shall not be held liable for any actions taken by them in the treatment or care of the animal by the owner should the owner become known and the owner shall then be responsible for any fees reasonably incurred in the treatment and care of the animal.

P.L. 1977, ch. 81, § 1.

(See also § 5-25-17. Immunity from liability for gratuitous emergency care for a provision specific to veterinarians.)

 



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