Statutes / Laws

Navigation

Full Site Search

Loading...

The navigation select boxes below will direct you to the selected page when you hit enter.

Topical Explanations

Primary Legal Materials

Select by Subject

Select by Species

Select Administrative Topic


World Law

Secondary Legal Materials

Great Apes and the Law

Great Apes and the Law

Maps of State Laws

Map of USA
Share |
Rhode Island

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 4. Animals and Animal Husbandry. Chapter 1. Cruelty to Animals. Title 11. Criminal Offenses. Chapter 10. Crime Against Nature

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: Gen. Laws, 1956, 4-1-1 - 40; Gen.Laws 1956, 11-10-1

Citation: RI ST 4-1-1 - 40; RI ST 11-10-1


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 01/2014

Summary:   These Rhode Island statutes comprise the state's anti-cruelty and animal fighting provisions.  The cruelty law provides that whoever overdrives, overloads, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, or cruelly beats, mutilates or kills any animal, is subject to imprisonment up to 11 months, or a fine of $50.00 - $500, or both.  The intentional cruelty provision expands the penalty to 2 years possible imprisonment or a fine of $1,000, or both.  This provision also allows for an animal owner to recover triple damages in a civil action against one who commits the listed intentional acts.  In addition, any person convicted under this section is required to serve 10 hours of mandatory community restitution which is not to be suspended or deferred.  This section does not apply to licensed hunters during hunting season or to a licensed business that kills animals for human consumption.   The section also declares animal fighting a 2-year felony, with penalty enhancements for subsequent convictions.


Statute in Full:

GENERAL LAWS OF RHODE ISLAND ANNOTATED, 1956.  TITLE 4. ANIMALS AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY.  CHAPTER 1. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.

4-1-1. Definitions -- Responsibility for agents and employees. –

4-1-2. Overwork, mistreatment, or failure to feed animals--Shelter defined

4-1-3. Unnecessary cruelty

4-1-3.1. Prohibited practices in destruction of animals

4-1-4. Abandonment of infirm animals

4-1-5. Malicious injury to or killing of animals

4-1-6. Shearing of horses in winter. –

§ 4-1-6.1. Operating upon tails of bovines prohibited

4-1-7. Live poultry containers. --

4-1-8. Sale of chicks and ducklings -- Dyeing prohibited. --

4-1-9. Animal fighting. --

4-1-10. Possession or training of fighting animals. --

4-1-11. Attendance at bird or animal fight. --

4-1-12. Entry of premises where bird or animal fights are conducted -- Arrest -- Seizure of birds or animals. --

4-1-13. Forfeiture of fighting birds or animals. --

4-1-14. Appeal of sentence of forfeiture. --

4-1-15. Expense of care of seized birds or animals. --

4-1-16. Use of birds as targets. –

4-1-17. Unloading of animals in transit for rest, water, and feeding. --

4-1-18. Arrest of violators without warrant -- Care of animals. --

4-1-19. Issuance of search warrants. --

4-1-20. Duty of police officers -- Fines paid to society for prevention of cruelty to animals. --

4-1-21. Powers of agents of society for prevention of cruelty to animals. --

4-1-22. Care of neglected animals by society -- Forfeiture of owner's rights -- Expenses. --

4-1-23. Destruction of infirm animals by society. –

4-1-24. Jurisdiction of offenses -- Appeals. –

4-1-25. Appropriations for prevention of cruelty -- Payments to society. --

4-1-26. Abandonment of animals. --

4-1-27. Auction of lost or abandoned animals and poultry. --

4-1-28. Greasy pig contests prohibited. --

4-1-29. Release of caged animals in park or zoo. --

4-1-30. Cruelty to police animals. --

4-1-31. Assignment of state veterinarian. --

4-1-32. [Repealed.]

4-1-33. Persons using animals for research -- Registration. --

4-1-34. Destruction of racing greyhounds. --

4-1-34.1. Restriction on sale of greyhounds. --

4-1-34.2. Autopsies and medical treatment permitted. --

4-1-34.3. Violations -- Penalties. --

4-1-35. Community restitution. --

4-1-36. Psychiatric counseling. --

4-1-37. Immunity from suit. –

4-1-38. Use of the terms owner or guardian. --

§ 4-1-39. Transport and shelter of horses

§ 4-1-40. Possession of animals

§ 4-1-41. Devocalization or declawing as requirement for property occupancy prohibited

Title 11. Criminal Offenses. Chapter 10. Crime Against Nature.

§ 11-10-1. Abominable and detestable crime against nature

 

 

4-1-1. Definitions -- Responsibility for agents and employees. --

(a) In this chapter and in §§ 4-4-9, 4-4-10, and 23-19-8:

(1) “Animal” and “animals” means every living creature except a human being;

(2) “Licensed graduate veterinarian” or “veterinarian” means a person licensed to engage in the practice of veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry in this state who is a graduate of an accredited veterinary medical, surgical, and dental school or college of a standard recognized by the Rhode Island veterinary medical association; and

(3) “Owner”, “person”, and “whoever” means corporations as well as individuals.

(4) “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.

(5) Except for livestock as defined in subsection 4-26-3(7), “adequate living conditions” shall mean a sanitary environment which is dry and free of accumulated feces and free of debris and garbage that may clutter the environment, pose a danger or entangle the animal. The environment in which the animal is kept must be consistent with federal regulatory requirements, where applicable or generally recognized professional standards, where applicable, or otherwise be of sufficient size so as not to inhibit comfortable rest, normal posture or range of movement, and suitable to maintain the animal in a good state of health. “Adequate living conditions” for livestock as defined in subsection 4-26-3(7) shall mean best management practices established, no later than July 1, 2014, by the Rhode Island livestock welfare and care standards advisory council.

(b) The knowledge and acts of agents of and persons employed by corporations in regard to animals transported, owned or employed by or in the custody of that corporation are held to be the acts and knowledge of that corporation.

Credits

P.L. 1945, ch. 1651, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 72, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 180, § 1, eff. July 11, 2013; P.L. 2013, ch. 232, § 1, eff. July 11, 2013.

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 7; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 7; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 7; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 7.

 

 

§ 4-1-2. Overwork, mistreatment, or failure to feed animals--Shelter defined

(a) Whoever overdrives, overloads, drives when overloaded, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, cruelly beats, mutilates or cruelly kills, or causes or procures to be so overdriven, overloaded, driven when overloaded, overworked, tortured, tormented, deprived of necessary sustenance, cruelly beaten, mutilated or cruelly killed, any animal, and whoever, having the charge or custody of any animal, either as owner or otherwise, inflicts cruelty upon that animal, or willfully fails to provide that animal with proper food, drink, shelter or protection from the weather, shall, for each offense, be imprisoned not exceeding eleven (11) months, or be fined not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), or both.

(b) Every owner, possessor, or person having charge of any animal may upon conviction of a violation of this section be ordered to forfeit all rights to ownership of the animal to the animal control officer of the city or town in which the offense occurred or to a humane society which owns and operates the shelter which provided the subject animal shelter subsequent to any confiscation of said animal pursuant to this section.

(c) Shelters means a structure used to house any animal which will provide sufficient protection from inclement elements for the health and well being of the animal.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1898, ch. 548, § 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 298, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 351, § 2; P.L. 1994, ch. 307, § 1.

 
 
§ 4-1-3. Unnecessary cruelty

(a) Every owner, possessor, or person having the charge or custody of any animal, who cruelly drives or works that animal when unfit for labor, or cruelly abandons that animal, or who carries that animal or who fails to provide that animal with adequate living conditions as defined in § 4-1-1, or causes that animal to be carried, in or upon any vehicle or otherwise in a cruel or inhuman manner, or willfully, intentionally, maliciously, recklessly, and/or knowingly authorizes or permits that animal to be subjected to unnecessary torture, suffering or cruelty of any kind, or who places or causes to have placed on any animal any substance that may produce irritation or pain, or that is declared a hazardous substance by the U.S. food and drug administration or by the state department of health, shall be punished for each offense in the manner provided in § 4-1-2.

(b) The substances proscribed by subsection (a) do not include any drug having curative and therapeutic effect for disease in animals and which is prepared and intended for veterinary use.

(c) University, college or hospital research facilities licensed and/or inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the U.S. Public Health Service of the department of health and human services shall be exempt from the provisions of subsection (a) provided that they are in good standing with the federal agency responsible for licensing or assurance of the facility.

Credits

P.L. 1973, ch. 114, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 180, § 1, eff. July 11, 2013; P.L. 2013, ch. 232, § 1, eff. July 11, 2013.

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 2; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 2; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 2; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 2.

 
 
§ 4-1-3.1. Prohibited practices in destruction of animals
It is unlawful for any veterinarian or owner, as defined in § 4-1-1, or any agent of a veterinarian or owner, or any other person to destroy any animal by the use of a high altitude decompression chamber. When carbon monoxide is used as a euthanizing agent, only one animal is placed in the chamber. Violation of this section is punishable by a fine of five hundred dollars ($500).
 
CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1981, ch. 310, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 164, § 1.
 
 
§ 4-1-4. Abandonment of infirm animals
If any maimed, sick, infirm, or disabled animal is abandoned to die, by any owner or person having charge of that animal, that person shall, for each offense, be punished in the manner provided in § 4-1-2.
CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 10; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 10; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 10; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 10.
 
 
§ 4-1-5. Malicious injury to or killing of animals
(a) Every person who cuts out the tongue or otherwise dismembers any animal, maliciously, or maliciously kills or wounds any animal, or maliciously administers poison to or exposes any poisonous substance with intent that the poison shall be taken or swallowed by any animal, or who maliciously exposes poisoned meat with intent that the poisoned meat is taken or swallowed by any wild animal, shall be imprisoned not exceeding two (2) years or be fined not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), and shall, in the case of any animal of another, be liable to the owner of this animal for triple damages, to be recovered by civil action. In addition, any person convicted under this section is required to serve ten (10) hours of community restitution. The community restitution penalty shall not be suspended or deferred and is mandatory.
(b) This section shall not apply to licensed hunters during hunting season or a licensed business killing animals for human consumption.
CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1913, ch. 919, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 238, § 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 316, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 656, § 1.
 

4-1-6. Shearing of horses in winter. --

No person shall cut, clip, or shear the hair or coating of any horse between October 15th and March 1st unless the necessity for the cutting, clipping, or shearing has been certified in writing and filed with the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals by a licensed graduate veterinarian. Any person violating this section shall, for each offense, be imprisoned not exceeding ten (10) days or be fined not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00), or both.

History of Section.

G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 22; P.L. 1945, ch. 1651, § 2; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-6.

 

§ 4-1-6.1. Operating upon tails of bovines prohibited

(a) Any person who intentionally cuts or alters the bone, tissues, muscles or tendons of the tail of any bovine or otherwise operates upon it in any manner for the purpose or with the effect of docking, setting, or otherwise altering the natural carriage of the tail, or who knowingly permits the same to be done upon the premises of which he or she is the owner, lessee, proprietor or user, or who assists in or is voluntarily present at such cutting or alteration, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both. If any bovine is found with the bone, tissues, muscles or tendons of its tail cut or altered as aforesaid upon the premises or in the charge and custody of any person, and the wound resulting therefrom is unhealed, such fact may be evidence of a violation of this section by the owner or user of such premises, or the person having such charge or custody.

(b) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to tail docking performed by a veterinarian for veterinary purposes, provided that the procedure is performed under the following conditions:

(1) The animal has been adequately anesthetized to minimize the animal's pain and suffering during the treatment or operation.

(2) The procedure is done in a way that minimizes the long-term pain and suffering resulting from the procedure.

(3) The veterinarian uses suitable instruments.

(4) The procedure is done under hygienic conditions.

(c) The owner of any bovine with a docked tail who purchased the bovine in a state where tail docking is legal shall be exempt from prosecution under this section.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 2012, ch. 353, § 1, eff. June 20, 2012.

 

4-1-7. Live poultry containers. --

Any crate or other container used for the purpose of transporting, shipping, or holding for sale any live poultry shall be in a sanitary condition and shall be constructed so as to provide sufficient ventilation and warmth and the poultry, while in that container, shall receive any reasonable care as may be required to prevent unnecessary suffering. Any person violating any provision of this section shall, for each offense, be imprisoned not exceeding fifteen (15) days or be fined not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100), or both.

History of Section.

G.L. 1945, ch. 640, § 23; P.L. 1945, ch. 1651, § 2; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-7.

 

4-1-8. Sale of chicks and ducklings -- Dyeing prohibited. --

It is unlawful for any person to dye a chick, duckling, or other live poultry, or to have in his or her possession any chick, duckling, or other live poultry which has been dyed. No person shall sell or offer for sale any live chicks or ducklings under two (2) months of age in quantities of less than twelve (12), and provided further, that no person, firm, corporation or association shall offer live chicks or ducklings under two (2) months of age as a bonus, or as an inducement to the sale of or in conjunction with the purchase of any article. Any person, firm, or corporation violating this section shall for each offense be punished in the manner provided in § 4-1-2. No pet store shall sell chicks or ducklings in any quantity.

History of Section.

G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 24; P.L. 1945, ch. 1651, § 2; P.L. 1964, ch. 24, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-8; P.L. 1968, ch. 71, § 1; P.L. 1982, ch. 308, § 1.

 

4-1-9. Animal fighting. --

Any person who causes or encourages the fighting of any bird, dog, or animal with any other bird, dog, or animal, or keeps or maintains any place for the fighting of birds, dogs, or animals, or who knowingly permits, or suffers, any fight to be had on his or her premises or on premises under his or her control, or makes any bet or lays any wager of any kind upon the result of that fight, shall be fined not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or be imprisoned not exceeding two (2) years, or both, for the first offense, and for any subsequent offense shall be fined not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) or be imprisoned not exceeding two (2) years, or both.

History of Section.

G.L. 1896, ch. 283, § 15; P.L. 1901, ch. 848, § 1; G.L. 1909, ch. 349, § 19; G.L. 1923, ch. 401, § 19; G.L. 1938, ch. 612, § 19; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-9; P.L. 1980, ch. 16, § 1; P.L. 1983, ch. 126, § 1.

 

4-1-10. Possession or training of fighting animals. --

Whoever owns, possesses, keeps or trains any bird, dog, or other animal, with the intent that that bird, dog, or animal engages in an exhibition of fighting, shall be fined not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) and/or be imprisoned not exceeding two (2) years for the first offense, and for any subsequent offense shall be fined not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) or be imprisoned not exceeding two (2) years, or both.

History of Section.

G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 15; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 15; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 15; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 15; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-10; P.L. 1980, ch. 5, § 1; P.L. 1983, ch. 126, § 1.

 

4-1-11. Attendance at bird or animal fight. --

Whoever is present at any place, building, or tenement where preparations are being made for an exhibition of the fighting of birds or animals, with the intent being present at that exhibition, or is present at that exhibition, shall be fined not exceeding one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) or imprisoned for not more than two (2) years, or both.

History of Section.

G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 16; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 16; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 16; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 16; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-11; P.L. 1975, ch. 181, § 1; P.L. 1983, ch. 176, § 1.

 

4-1-12. Entry of premises where bird or animal fights are conducted -- Arrest -- Seizure of birds or animals. --

Any deputy sheriff, town sergeant, constable, police officer or any officer authorized to serve criminal process may enter any place, building, or tenement anywhere within the state, where there is an exhibition of the fighting of birds or animals, or where preparations are being made for that exhibition, and without a warrant, arrest all persons present, and take possession of the birds or animals engaged in fighting, and all birds or animals found there and intended to be used or engaged in fighting. Those persons shall be kept in custody in jail or other convenient place not more than twenty-four (24) hours, Sundays and legal holidays excepted, at or before the expiration of which time those persons shall be brought before a district court or the superior court and proceeded against according to law.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1898, ch. 548, § 3; P.L. 1900, ch. 747, § 2; Court & Practice Act (1905), § 1216; P.L. 2012, ch. 324, § 10, eff. June 20, 2012.

 

4-1-13. Forfeiture of fighting birds or animals. --

After the seizure of any birds or animals as provided in § 4-1-12, application shall be made to a district court or the superior court for a sentence of forfeiture of the birds or animals; and if, upon the hearing of the application, it is found that the birds or animals, at the time of their seizure, were engaged in fighting at an exhibition or were owned, possessed, or kept by any person with the intent that they should be engaged in fighting at an exhibition, sentence of forfeiture shall be pronounced against them. Any officer authorized to serve criminal process shall sell them in any manner that the court orders, and pay the proceeds of that sale, after the payment of costs, including costs of seizure and keeping of those birds or animals, to the general treasurer for the use of the state. Whenever a seizure and application for sentence of forfeiture is made by or results from the complaint or information of any officer or agent of the society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, the proceeds of that sale shall be paid over to the society. Should it be found that any seized birds or animals are of no use or value, they shall be set at large, or otherwise disposed of, as the court may direct. The claimant is allowed to appear in the proceedings upon any application for a sentence of forfeiture. All seized birds or animals not sentenced for forfeiture shall be delivered to the owner.

History of Section.

G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 12; C.P.A. 1905, § 1216; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 12; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 12; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 12; G.L. 1956, § 4-1- 13.

 

4-1-14. Appeal of sentence of forfeiture. --

Any claimant aggrieved by a sentence of forfeiture of a district court may, before the execution of that sentence, appeal to the superior court in the manner provided with reference to criminal appeals from district courts.

History of Section.

G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 13; C.P.A. 1905, § 1122; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 13; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 13; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 13; G.L. 1956, § 4-1- 14.

 

4-1-15. Expense of care of seized birds or animals. --

The necessary expenses incurred in the care and disposing of seized birds or animals may be allowed and paid in the same manner that costs in criminal prosecutions are paid.

History of Section.

G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 14; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 14; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 14; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 14; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-15.

 

4-1-16. Use of birds as targets. --

Any person who keeps or uses any live pigeon, fowl, or other bird for the purpose of a target or to be shot at, either for amusement or as a test of skill in marksmanship, and any person who shoots at any bird or is a party to any shooting of any fowl or bird and any person who rents any building, shed, room, yard, field, or premises, or knowingly suffers or permits the use of any building, shed, room, yard, field, or premises, for the purpose of shooting any fowl or bird, shall be fined not exceeding twenty dollars ($20.00) or be imprisoned not exceeding ten (10) days, or both. Nothing in this section applies to the shooting of any wild game in its wild state.

History of Section.

G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 17; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 17; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 17; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 17; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-16.

 

4-1-17. Unloading of animals in transit for rest, water, and feeding. --

(a) No railroad company, in the transportation of animals, shall permit those animals to be confined in cars, after they have been confined twenty-eight (28) consecutive hours, without unloading those animals for rest, water, and feeding for at least five (5) consecutive hours, unless prevented from unloading them by storm or accidental causes. In estimating the confinement, the time during which the animals have been confined without rest on connecting roads from which they are received shall be included. It is the intent of this section to prohibit their continuous confinement longer than twenty-eight (28) hours, except upon the stated contingencies.

(b) Animals unloaded shall be properly fed, watered, and sheltered, during their rest, by the owner or person having the custody of the animals; or in case of his or her default in doing so, then by the railroad company transporting those animals, at the expense of the owner or person in custody of the animals, and the company shall in that case have a lien upon those animals for food, care, and custody furnished and shall not be liable for any detention of those animals authorized by this chapter.

(c) Any company, owner, or custodian of animals in transit failing to comply with this section shall for each offense be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500).

(d) Whenever animals are carried in cars in which they can and do have proper food, water, space and opportunity for rest, the provisions for unloading them shall not apply.

History of Section.

G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 3; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 3; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 3; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 3; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-17.

 

4-1-18. Arrest of violators without warrant -- Care of animals. --

Any person violating this chapter may be arrested on view and held without a warrant; provided, that an arrest or detention without warrant shall not continue longer than twenty-four (24) hours; and the person making an arrest, with or without a warrant, shall use reasonable diligence to give notice to the owner of animals found in the charge or custody of the person arrested, and shall properly care and provide for those animals until the owner shall take charge of them, provided the owner shall do so within thirty (30) days from the date of the notice. The person making an arrest shall have a lien on those animals for the expense of their care and provision.

History of Section.

G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 5; P.L. 1898, ch. 548, § 2; P.L. 1900, ch. 747, § 1; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 5; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 5; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 5; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-18.

 

4-1-19. Issuance of search warrants. --

Whenever complaint is made on oath to any magistrate authorized to issue warrants in criminal cases, that the complainant believes and has reasonable cause to believe that the laws in relation to cruelty to animals have been or are being violated in any building or place, the magistrate, if satisfied that there is reasonable cause for that belief, shall issue a search warrant, authorizing any officer, competent to serve a warrant, to search the building or place; but no search shall be made after sunset, unless specially authorized by the magistrate upon satisfactory cause shown.

History of Section.

G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 6; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 6; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 6; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 6; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-19.

 

4-1-20. Duty of police officers -- Fines paid to society for prevention of cruelty to animals. --

Any deputy sheriff, constable or police officer shall prosecute all violations of this chapter which come to his or her knowledge and all fines and forfeitures resulting from the complaint of any officer or agent of the society for the prevention of cruelty to animals under this chapter, shall enure and be paid over to the society in aid of the benevolent objects for which it was incorporated.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1901, ch. 848, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 324, § 10, eff. June 20, 2012.

 

 

4-1-21. Powers of agents of society for prevention of cruelty to animals. --

The general agent of the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals and any number of special agents as may be appointed by that society have the same power and authority to arrest as any officer authorized to serve criminal process for the purpose of enforcing any of the laws of this state in relation to cruelty to animals, that power and authority to extend throughout the state, and they may serve any search warrant issued under § 4-1-19 and may search any building or place named in that warrant. A general agent and any special agents may, for the purpose of carrying out their duties, possess and carry pistols as defined in § 11-47-2, and the provisions of § 11-47-8 shall not apply to them. Any person who interferes with or obstructs any of those agents in the discharge of their duty shall be guilty of obstructing an officer and punished as provided in § 11-32-1.

Credits

P.L. 1907, ch. 1446, § 1; P.L. 1945, ch. 1651, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 501, § 1, eff. July 17, 2013.

Codifications: G.L. 1909, ch. 114, § 19; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 18; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 18; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 18.

 

4-1-22. Care of neglected animals by society -- Forfeiture of owner's rights -- Expenses. --

(a) An officer or agent of the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals may lawfully take charge of any animal found abandoned or neglected or which in the opinion of that officer or agent is aged, maimed, disabled, lame, sick, diseased, injured, unfit for the labor it is performing, or cruelly treated, and shall give notice to the owner, if known, or his agents, and may provide suitable care.

(b) Every owner or agent, upon conviction of abandonment, neglect, or cruel treatment of any animal taken charge of by the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals under this section, forfeits the rights to ownership or control of that animal to the society for disposition in any manner deemed suitable for that animal.

(c) Whenever any officer or agent of the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals lawfully takes charge of any animal under this section, the expense of suitable care of that animal, upon conviction of the owner of that animal for a violation of any section of this chapter, is charged against the owner or agent of the owner having custody of that animal at the time the officer or agent of the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals took charge of the animal. The Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals has the authority to commence a civil action for damages against the owner or his or her agent thirty (30) days after a written demand for payment of the expense of the suitable care of that animal has been sent and no payment received.

History of Section.

G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 4; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 4; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 4; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 4; P.L. 1945, ch. 1651, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 4-1- 22; P.L. 1981, ch. 289, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 197, § 1.

 

4-1-23. Destruction of infirm animals by society. --

If, upon examination by a licensed graduate veterinarian of any animal taken possession of under § 4-1-22, the veterinarian certifies, in writing, to the society that the animal is so aged, maimed, disabled, lame, sick, diseased, or injured as to be unfit for any useful purpose, any officer or agent of the society may lawfully and humanely destroy that animal or cause it to be humanely destroyed, and the society, its officers and agents, are exonerated from all liability to the owner of that animal on account of its destruction.

History of Section.

G.L. 1956, ch. 640, § 4; P.L. 1945, ch. 1651, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-23.

 

4-1-24. Jurisdiction of offenses -- Appeals. --

The district court has concurrent jurisdiction with the superior court, over all offenses under this chapter and to the full extent of the penalties specified. Parties defendant, however, have the same right to appeal from the sentence of a district court as is now provided by law in other criminal cases.

History of Section.

G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 9; C.P.A. 1905, § 1216; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 9; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 9; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 9; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-24; P.L. 1969, ch. 239, § 53.

 

4-1-25. Appropriations for prevention of cruelty -- Payments to society. --

The general assembly shall annually appropriate any sum it deems necessary, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, to be expended under the direction of the director of environmental management, for the purpose of preventing cruelty to animals, and the director may pay that sum to the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals for that purpose, and the state controller is authorized to draw his or her orders upon the general treasurer for the payment of any sum appropriated, or so much of the sum as may be required, upon receipt by him or her of proper vouchers approved by the director.

History of Section.

G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 18; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 19; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 19; P.L. 1923, ch. 431, § 1; P.L. 1929, ch. 1374, § 5; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 19; impl. am. P.L. 1939, ch. 660, § 65; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-25.

 

4-1-26. Abandonment of animals. --

If any person having possession and/or control of an animal abandons that animal on a street, road, highway or in a public place or on private property or from a motor vehicle, or in a dwelling or any other building or structure without providing for the care of that animal, he or she shall be punished in the manner provided in § 4-1-2 for each such offense. If this abandonment results in the death of the animal, the person shall be punished in the manner provided in § 4-1-5. Abandonment means the relinquishment of all right, title, claim, or possession of the animal with the intention of not reclaiming it or resuming its ownership or possession.

History of Section.

P.L. 1966, ch. 176, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 329, § 1.

 

4-1-27. Auction of lost or abandoned animals and poultry. --

(a) The general agent of the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, within his or her discretion, may sell at public auction any lost or abandoned animals and poultry. Before proceeding to sale, the general agent shall give notice to the owners of the lost or abandoned animals by advertising once a week for three (3) successive weeks prior to the sale in some daily newspaper printed in English and published in this state.

(b) The agent is not liable in any legal action brought against him or her based on the sale. The proceeds of the sales shall be turned over to the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals to be used to defray the cost of shelter and care of animals which are the subject of the sale and to cover any costs incident to the sale.

(c) Any remaining proceeds from the sale shall be held for a period of two (2) years by the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals for the account of the rightful owner, who, upon making a claim and showing satisfactory evidence of ownership, shall be entitled to those proceeds. If unclaimed within that two (2) year period, the proceeds shall then become the property of the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals to be used for any and all purposes of the society.

History of Section.

P.L. 1968, ch. 72, § 1.

 

4-1-28. Greasy pig contests prohibited. --

It is unlawful for any person, as defined in § 4-1-1, to conduct any greasy pig contest within the state. Any person violating this section is subject to the provisions of § 4-1-2.

History of Section.

P.L. 1973, ch. 114, § 2.

 

4-1-29. Release of caged animals in park or zoo. --

It is unlawful for any person to willfully release an animal from captivity in a park, circus, zoo or other such facility. Any person violating this section is be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

History of Section.

P.L. 1975, ch. 131, § 1.

 

4-1-30. Cruelty to police animals. --

Any person who willfully tortures, torments, beats, kicks, strikes, mutilates, injures, disables, or otherwise mistreats any dog or horse owned by a police department of this state or any of its political subdivisions or who willfully by any action interferes with the lawful performance of a police dog or horse shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) and not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

History of Section.

P.L. 1980, ch. 185, § 1.

 

4-1-31. Assignment of state veterinarian. --

(a) Examination of fighting animals. A licensed veterinarian from the department of environmental management, shall be made available to agents of the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals at the request of the state police for the purpose of examining any animal which those agents believe to have been involved in animal fighting in violation of § 4-1-2, 4-1-8, 4-1-9 or 4-1-11.

(b) Right of entry where cruelty suspected. The director of the department of environmental management or any veterinarian employed by the department of environmental management designated by the director for such purpose, having reason to suspect the existence of cruelty to animals within the meaning of this chapter upon any grounds or premises, is hereby authorized and empowered to enter upon those grounds or premises for enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. For such inspections, the department shall, unless a search without a warrant is otherwise allowed by law, seek a search warrant from an official of a court authorized to issue warrants.

(c) The director of the department of environmental management may designate a department veterinarian or veterinarians to act as animal advocates. A general agent or special agent from the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals may also act in that capacity.

(d) The animal advocate shall make recommendations to any court before which the custody or well-being of an animal is at issue.

(e) Any animal care facility licensed by the United States department of agriculture or holding a public health service (PHS) assurance of compliance shall be exempt from the provisions of this section.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1983, ch. 180, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 398, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 193, § 1, eff. June 11, 2012; P.L. 2012, ch. 203, § 1, eff. June 11, 2012.

 

4-1-32. [Repealed.]

HISTORICAL NOTES

Repealed Sections.

This section (P.L. 1983, ch. 306, § 1), concerning shelters for cattle and horses, was repealed by P.L. 1984, ch. 351, § 1, effective May 11, 1984. For present provisions of law, see § 4-1-2.

 

4-1-33. Persons using animals for research -- Registration. --

(a) Any person, firm, partnership, or corporation actively engaged in animal research, who actually utilizes live animals for research purposes, shall register with the department of health by filing with the department of health on forms provided by it, the full name, address and type of research performed by the particular person, firm, partnership, or corporation involved in animal research. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500).

(b) Upon passage of this section the department of health shall publish a notice containing the provisions of this section.

History of Section.

P.L. 1989, ch. 479, § 1.

 

4-1-34. Destruction of racing greyhounds. --

No person shall put to death, within the state, a racing greyhound or a retired racing greyhound except in a humane manner. For the purposes of this section, the phrase in a humane manner means by means of euthanasia by lethal injection, or by any other standard of humane killing that may be established by the American veterinary medicine association.

History of Section.

P.L. 1990, ch. 465, § 1.

 

4-1-34.1. Restriction on sale of greyhounds. --

No person, firm, or other business entity shall sell or otherwise transfer any greyhound or retired racing greyhound to any person, firm, or other business entity for the purpose of medical research.

History of Section.

P.L. 1990, ch. 465, § 1.

 

4-1-34.2. Autopsies and medical treatment permitted. --

Nothing contained in this chapter prohibits the owner of a greyhound from having an autopsy performed on that greyhound, nor prohibits any medical treatment necessary to maintain the health and well being of a greyhound.

History of Section.

P.L. 1990, ch. 465, § 1.

 

4-1-34.3. Violations -- Penalties. --

Any person found guilty of violating § 4-1-34 or 4-1-34.1 shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

History of Section.

P.L. 1990, ch. 465, § 1.

 

4-1-35. Community restitution. --

The general assembly hereby declares that the words "community service" which appear throughout this chapter shall now be substituted with and referred to as "community restitution".

History of Section.

P.L. 1998, ch. 454, § 7.

 

4-1-36. Psychiatric counseling. --

Any person found guilty of violating any of the provisions of this chapter may, in addition to any penalties imposed, be evaluated to determine the need for psychiatric or psychological counseling, and, if determined appropriate by the court, to receive psychiatric or psychological counseling at his or her own expense.

History of Section.

P.L. 2000, ch. 321, § 1.

 

4-1-37. Immunity from suit. --

Any Rhode Island licensed veterinarian shall be held harmless from either criminal or civil liability arising out of any reports, either oral or written, made to local and/or state police, animal control officials or officers of private organizations devoted to humane treatment of animals, concerning any animal that the veterinarian knows or reasonably believed to be abandoned, neglected, or abused, and shall be immune from suit by reason of making the report. Provided, however, that a veterinarian who participates or reports in bad faith or with malice shall not be protected under the provisions of this section.

History of Section.

P.L. 2000, ch. 322, § 1.

 

4-1-38. 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 § 4-1-1.

History of Section.

P.L. 2001, ch. 72, § 2.

 

§ 4-1-39. Transport and shelter of horses

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person may not transport or shelter, or cause or allow to be transported or sheltered any equine animal in or upon any trailer, conveyance or other vehicle whatsoever with two (2) or more levels stacked on top of one another.

(b) Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be subject to a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) per animal for a first offense, and subject to a fine of at least one thousand dollars ($1,000) per animal for all second and subsequent offenses.

P.L. 2008, ch. 257, § 1, eff. July 5, 2008; P.L. 2008, ch. 414, § 1, eff. July 8, 2008.

 

§ 4-1-40. Possession of animals

(a) In addition to any other penalty imposed by law, a person convicted of, or who entered a plea of nolo contendere to, any misdemeanor violation under the provisions of this chapter may, based on the discretion of the sentencing judge, not possess or reside with any animal for a period of up to five (5) years following entry of the conviction or upon acceptance of a plea of nolo contendere by the court. Any offense under this subsection is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment for a term not more than one year, or both, and forfeiture of the animal(s).

(b) In addition to any other penalty imposed by law, a person convicted of, or who entered a plea of nolo contendere to, any felony violation under the provisions of this chapter may, based on the discretion of the sentencing judge, not possess or reside with any animal for a period of up to fifteen (15) years following entry of the conviction or upon acceptance of a plea of nolo contendere by the court. Any offense under this subsection is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment for a term not more than one year, or both, and forfeiture of the animal(s).

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 2011, ch. 194, § 1, eff. July 1, 2011; P.L. 2011, ch. 207, § 1, eff. July 1, 2011.

 

§ 4-1-41. Devocalization or declawing as requirement for property occupancy prohibited

(a) No person or corporation that occupies, owns, manages, or provides services in connection with any real property, including the individual's or corporation's agents or successors-in-interest, may do any of the following if the person or corporation allows an animal on the subject premises:

(1) Advertise, through any means, the availability of real property for occupancy in a manner designed to discourage application for occupancy of that real property because the applicant's animal has not been declawed or devocalized;

(2) Refuse to allow the occupancy of any real property, refuse to negotiate the occupancy of any real estate property, or to otherwise make unavailable or deny to any other person the occupancy of any real property because of that person's refusal to declaw or devocalize any animal; or

(3) Require any tenant or occupant of real property to declaw or devocalize any animal allowed on the premises.

(b) Any person found in violation of this section shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person fined under this section may be barred from owning or possessing any animals, or living on the same property with someone who owns or possesses animals, for a period of time deemed appropriate by the court, and be required to take humane education, pet ownership and dog training classes as ordered by the court.

(c) Nothing contained within this section shall be construed as forbidding a person or corporation that occupies, owns, manages, or provides services in connection with any real property, including the individual's or corporation's agents or successors-in-interest, from prohibiting any animal on the premises.

Credits

P.L. 2013, ch. 318, § 1, eff. July 15, 2013; P.L. 2013, ch. 431, § 1, eff. July 15, 2013.

 

Title 11. Criminal Offenses. Chapter 10. Crime Against Nature.

§ 11-10-1. Abominable and detestable crime against nature

Every person who shall be convicted of the abominable and detestable crime against nature, with any beast, shall be imprisoned not exceeding twenty (20) years nor less than seven (7) years.

P.L. 1998, ch. 24, § 1.

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 281, § 12; G.L. 1909, ch. 347, § 12; G.L. 1923, ch. 399, § 12; G.L. 1938, ch. 610, § 12.

 



Top of Page
Share |