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Rhode Island

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 4. Animals and Animal Husbandry. Chapter 18. Importation of Wild Animals

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: Gen. Laws, 1956, 4-18-1 - 15

Citation: RI ST 4-18-1 - 15


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 12/2013

Summary:   This chapter of Rhode Island laws proclaims that its intent is to provide safeguards for the protection of persons in the state from disease hazards associated with imported wild animals. Under the chapter, no person shall import into, receive, or possess in this state without first obtaining a permit from the department, animals of the following orders, families, and genera: primates, carnivores, amphibia, reptilia, canidae, and insecta. Personal pets under a special permit are exempted from the importation permit requirement. A permit may be granted by the department to import a wild animal as a personal pet, if a written affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury is completed at the time of entry at the site of first arrival. This chapter also requires that certain species undergo quarantine for specified periods of time. Any person who violates any provisions of this chapter shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100), and the loss of any specimen referred to in this chapter.


Statute in Full:

 

§ 4-18-1. Purpose and scope

§ 4-18-2. Definitions

§ 4-18-3. Permit required to import wild animals

§ 4-18-4. Application for import permits

§ 4-18-5. Issuance of import permits

§ 4-18-6. Exempted importations

§ 4-18-7. Repealed

§ 4-18-8. Permit fees

§ 4-18-9. Rules and regulations

§ 4-18-10. Approved quarantine facilities

§ 4-18-11. Quarantine

§ 4-18-12. Tuberculin tests

§ 4-18-13. Exceptions

§ 4-18-14. Penalty for violations

§ 4-18-15. Enforcement of this chapter

 

 


§ 4-18-1. Purpose and scope

This chapter is intended to provide safeguards for the protection of persons in the state from disease hazards associated with imported wild animals. This chapter applies to all persons, including, but not limited to, the following: educational and research institutions, zoological gardens, schools, colleges, universities, pet stores, animal care facilities, and laboratories, who import, hold, sell, purchase or possess any wild animal for which an import permit is required under this chapter.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1971, ch. 58, § 1.


 

§ 4-18-2. Definitions

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1) “Animal” means any wild animal or bird specified under the provisions of § 4-18-3.

(2) “Approved quarantine facility” means a facility approved by the department for the quarantine confinement of imported animals.

(3) “Department” means the Rhode Island department of environmental management.

(4) “Euthanasia” means the human 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.

(5) “Housing facility” means any room, building, or area used to contain a primary enclosure or enclosures during the required period of quarantine.

(6) “Person” means any person, firm, association, organization, partnership, business trust, corporation, or company.

(7) “Primary enclosure” means any structure used to immediately restrict an animal or animals to a limited amount of space, such as a room, pen, run, cage, or compartment within the quarantine facility.

(8) “Primate” means a nonhuman member of the highest order of mammals, including prosimians, monkeys, and apes as specified in § 4-18-3.

(9) “Standards” means the requirements with respect to the quarantine housing, handling, care, treatment, and transportation of imported animals.

(10) “Veterinarian” means a person authorized to practice veterinary medicine in Rhode Island.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1971, ch. 58, § 1.

 


§ 4-18-3. Permit required to import wild animals

(a) No person shall import into, receive, or possess in this state without first obtaining a permit from the department, animals of the following orders, families, and genera: primates, carnivores, amphibia, reptilia, canidae, and insecta. The director may by regulation designate additional orders, families, genera, or species requiring a permit to import, receive or possess; or the director may by regulation waive the permit requirement for specific species, orders, families and genera.

(b) Any animal care facility accredited by the American zoo and aquarium association (AZA) shall be exempt from this provision, provided, however, the facility provides the state veterinarian with a quarterly summary of any and all animal acquisitions and dispositions.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1971, ch. 58, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 58, § 1; P.L. 1980, ch. 12, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 159, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 232, § 1.

 


§ 4-18-4. Application for import permits

Import permits for animals listed under § 4-18-3 shall be issued only upon written application from the person desiring to import them. The application shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(1) The number and true scientific name of each species (Reference: Walker, E. P., and others. Mammals of the World. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press, 1964. Volumes I and II and subsequent editions).

(2) The carrier and probable point of first arrival in this state of each shipment.

(3) The purpose for which they are to be imported (exhibition, research, sale to the public, etc.).

(4) The name and address of the consignee.

(5) The name and address of the consignor.

(6) The place or premise where the animals shall be held in quarantine pending the completion of any tests, veterinary examinations, and observation period as may be specified by the department in issuance of the import permit. Adequate quarantine facilities must be available and approved by the department before issuance of the import permit can be made.

(7) The name and address of the veterinarian who conducts the tests and examinations specified by the department.

(8) For personal pets only, the date of acquisition and name and address of supplier.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1971, ch. 58, § 1.

 

§ 4-18-5. Issuance of import permits

Issuance of import permits for animals listed under § 4-18-3 may be made by the department upon:

(1) Submission of written application providing the information enumerated under § 4-18-4 not less than seven (7) days preceding the probable date of shipment;

(2) Completion of an inspection indicating that the quarantine facility or premises designated in the application are adequate;

(3) Payment of the necessary permit fees required under § 4-18-8;

(4) Determination by the department that the public health and safety is not endangered; and

(5) Approval of the probable point of first arrival into this state.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1971, ch. 58, § 1.

 

§ 4-18-6. Exempted importations

(a) Short term nonresident exhibitions. Animals subject to this chapter may be brought into the state for short term nonresident exhibition purposes without permit. Animal(s) permitted entry under this section shall not be disposed of by sale, trade or gift during the period within this state. Short term nonresident exhibition purposes shall not exceed thirty (30) days.

(b) Animal breeding. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 4-18-5, animals being moved for breeding purposes as part of a recognized animal colony established for experimental breeding of animals in captivity, may be moved for this purpose upon issuance of permit provided that the conditions specified by the department in the permit are adhered to in full.

(c) Personal pets under special permit. Notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 4-18-4 and 4-18-5, a permit may be granted by the department to import a wild animal as a personal pet, if a written affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury is completed at the time of entry at the site of first arrival and transmitted either by mail or in person to the department immediately. The affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(1) The number and true scientific name of the species being imported as required in § 4-18-3;

(2) The date and location of acquisition of the pet animal;

(3) A statement of the place or premises where the animal will be held in quarantine pending completion of veterinary examination;

(4) An agreement that within ten (10) days the department will be notified of the name and address of the veterinarian who conducts examinations and tests required by the department, and that the required import fees be paid within the ten (10) days.

(d) Zoological collections and managed propagation facilities accredited by the American zoo and aquarium association (AZA) and licensed by the United States department of agriculture (USDA). Animals subject to this chapter may be brought into the state or propagated for zoological exhibition purposes without permit if imported or born directly to a facility which is both AZA accredited and USDA licensed. The facilities shall comply with Departmental import/possession specifications prior to importation. The importation/possession requirements may include but are not limited to: disease diagnostic tests, veterinary procedures and examinations, and individual identification requirements for the importation/possession of each animal subject to this chapter. The department reserves the right to immediate examination and testing of the imported/possessed wild animals when there is probable cause as determined by the department to suspect that the animals are harboring diseases or parasites suspected of endangering public health or the health of domestic animals, or that of native wild animals. Measures deemed necessary to protect domestic animals, public health, and native wild animals may include but are not limited to: quarantine, treatment, seizure, destruction, and postmortem examination. The department shall be notified within three (3) months of the death of any animal subject to this chapter. Furthermore, the department shall be notified immediately upon the death of any animal subject to this chapter which death may have resulted from infectious, contagious, or zoonotic disease or upon the escape of any animal subject to this chapter.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1971, ch. 58, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 159, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 232, § 1.

 

§ 4-18-7. Repealed

 

§ 4-18-8. Permit fees

(a) Each application for an import permit shall be accompanied by payment of an import permit fee to the department. Except as provided in § 4-18-6(a) and (b), the permit fee charged shall be at the rate of five dollars ($5.00) per animal.

(b) If the actual number of animals received in the shipment exceeds the number enumerated in the application, payment of an additional fee for the unpaid animal(s) shall be due at the rate of five dollars ($5.00) per animal.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1971, ch. 58, § 1.

 


§ 4-18-9. Rules and regulations

The director may make reasonable rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this chapter concerning the following:

(1) Quarantine facilities and operating standards;

(2) Primary enclosures;

(3) Animal health and husbandry standards;

(4) Quarantine records;

(5) Quarantine reporting;

(6) The establishment of certain classes, orders, families, genera and species of animals which may be imported into, received, or possessed in this state without permit; and

(7) The establishment of certain classes, orders, families, genera and species of animals other than those specified in § 4-18-3 which may be imported into, received or possessed in this state subject to obtaining a permit.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1971, ch. 58, § 1; P.L. 1980, ch. 72, § 1.

 


§ 4-18-10. Approved quarantine facilities

Quarantine facilities used to house imported animals are subject to inspection and approval by representatives of the department for any periods of time that the department deems indicated. Those facilities may be used for housing imported animals only as long as they are maintained and operated in conformance with standards prescribed by regulation.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1971, ch. 58, § 1.

 


§ 4-18-11. Quarantine

(a) Quarantine period and conditions for release. All imported animals must be maintained for any period of quarantine required by the department and under any conditions as prescribed in this section:

(1) Primates.--The normal quarantine period required for primates is that which provides for a physical examination, administration of a tuberculin test by a veterinarian upon entry, and a repeat physical examination and tuberculin test thirty (30) days later. Primates may be released from quarantine by the department upon completion of the second tuberculin test provided that in the judgment of the attending veterinarian:

(i) Both tuberculin tests are negative.

(ii) The animals exhibit no visible oral ulcers at the end of quarantine period.

(iii) The animals show no clinical evidence of dysentery or diarrhea, emesis, emaciation, contagious skin lesions, central nervous system disturbances, jaundice, or abnormal respiratory signs at the end of quarantine period.

(iv) There is no evidence of a zoonotic disease traced back to the quarantined animals.

(v) In the opinion of the attending veterinarian the animals are healthy. A summary report by the attending veterinarian, in writing over his or her signature, shall be made to the department incorporating (1) the results of all tests, physical examinations, etc., performed and (2) his or her opinion that the animals are healthy.

(2) Carnivores.--Carnivores shall be confined in a place and manner approved by the department for a ninety (90) day period. A primary enclosure as defined under § 4-18-2 or an equivalent approved by the department is acceptable for confinement. If at the end of quarantine, the animals are examined and found healthy by a veterinarian, they may be released by the department upon receipt of this certification in writing by the attending veterinarian without further restriction.

(b) Animals refused release. Imported animals refused release from quarantine shall be handled in any manner as approved and specified by the department.

(c) Variations from quarantine procedures. Where the quarantine procedures specified are not compatible with the objective of a specific research project, the department may authorize variations from the requirements specified, provided that no public health hazard results from the variations allowed.

(d) Sales to institutions, zoos, etc. Any person importing animals for purposes of sale to any educational and research institution, zoological garden, laboratory, college, or university may satisfy the requirements of this chapter by contract with that institution. The quarantine shall meet all of the requirements with regard to period, observation, reporting and other conditions of quarantine.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1971, ch. 58, § 1.

 


§ 4-18-12. Tuberculin tests

The method of tuberculin testing used is subject to approval by the department. Normal variations in site of administration and type and dilution of tuberculin used for intradermal injection may be accepted by the department. The use of such testing methods as the patch and multiple puncture tests will not be accepted.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1971, ch. 58, § 1.

 

§ 4-18-13. Exceptions

The department upon application may grant variances from the requirements of these regulations as it determines are authorized by law and will not result in hazard to the public health. Those applications, and variances made, shall be in writing and any variances granted under this section shall set forth conditions designed to protect the public health, and shall be granted only for a specified period.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1971, ch. 58, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 159, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 232, § 1.

 


§ 4-18-14. Penalty for violations

Any person who violates any provisions of this chapter shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100), and the loss of any specimen referred to in this chapter.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1979, ch. 58, § 3; P.L. 1980, ch. 72, § 1.

 

§ 4-18-15. Enforcement of this chapter

The director of environmental management or his or her designee shall enforce the provisions of this chapter.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1980, ch. 72, § 1.

 



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