A. Any entities that import a dog or cat for rescue, adoption, foster care, brokering, and/or remote sales must register with the Department via the submittal of an application form provided by the Department. The application can be found at the RI DEM Division of Agriculture/Animal Health website.
B. No entity may import any dog or cat for rescue, adoption, foster care, brokering, or remote sales until the entity is in possession of a valid registration certificate issued by the Department.
C. No entity may transport any dog or cat for rescue, adoption, foster care, brokering, or remote sales into the state for that purpose until the carrier has registered with the Department as a carrier and is in possession of a valid registration certificate issued by the Department. The application can be found at the RI DEM Division of Agriculture/Animal Health website.
D. General Requirements of all entities and carriers:
1. Must register with the Department and hold a valid certificate of registration issued by the Department.
2. Must keep complete records on forms issued by the Department.
3. Must make records available to inspectors from the Department.
4. Must identify a point of contact who resides within the State of Rhode Island who will be responsible for producing all records that the Department may lawfully request. A copy of all records must be kept by the designated point of contact.
5. Must notify the Department of all expected shipments of dogs or cats being imported into the state as to the time and location of the arrival of the shipments. Notification must be received by the Department no less than twenty-four (24) hours prior to arrival of the shipment. Notification may be in the form of email, phone call, voice mail, or written letter. The Department reserves the right to inspect any or all shipments to verify compliance with importation regulations and to verify the health of the animals being imported. It is the responsibility of the entity to notify the Department of the shipment.
6. All animals being imported must be accompanied by a valid Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) and be currently vaccinated against rabies if age eligible.
E. Requirements of Category A entities: Those entities that import dogs or cats for rescue, adoption, foster care, brokering, or remote sales will be classified as Category A entities if they meet all of the General Requirements enumerated in § 1.8(D) of this Part, in addition to the following:
1. The entity has a detailed pre-import animal processing plan that has been reviewed and approved by the Department.
a. The pre-import processing plan must reference, in detail, the housing conditions, any isolation procedures, any vaccination procedures, any health screenings, and any disease testing/treatment/or preventative measures that have been or will be taken prior to the animal(s) being transported into Rhode Island.
b. The Department will review the plan and will approve it if the plan is determined to be acceptable.
2. All dogs or cats being imported must be accompanied by a CVI that was issued within ten (10) days of the importation.
3. The animals are brought into the state via a USDA licensed carrier. The USDA licensed carrier may be classified as a “carrier,” “contract carrier,” or “intermediate handler” as defined under the Animal Welfare Act and the USDA licensed transporter must be registered with the Department.
4. Entities that are seeking a Category A registration, but that are not intending on using a USDA licensed transporter as in § 1.8(E)(3) of this Part are required to submit the following:
a. A detailed transportation plan to include make and model of the vehicle being used for conveyance,
b. Features of the vehicle that will ensure adequate climate control in the animal compartment, and
c. Sanitation protocols for the conveyance.
d. The Department will review the plan defined in §§ 1.8(E)(4)(a) through (c) of this Part, and, if approved, will issue a Category A registration.
e. Entities that are seeking a Category A registration but that are not intending on using a USDA licensed transporter as in § 1.8(E)(3) of this Part are required to keep all records as defined in § 1.8(H)(2) of this Part.
5. Animals imported by a Category A entity are not required to undergo any further isolation or health verification before being offered for adoption, placed into foster care, or otherwise transferred.
F. Requirements of Category B entities: Those entities that import animals for rescue, adoption, foster care, brokering, and remote sales will be classified as a Category B entity if they meet the General Requirements enumerated in § 1.8(D) of this Part but fail to meet all of the requirements of § 1.8(E) of this Part.
1. All animals imported by Category B entities must be held at an isolation facility approved by the Department for five (5) consecutive days commencing immediately upon entry into the state. All animals imported by Category B entities must be brought directly to the isolation facility without commingling with any animals that are not destined for isolation.
2. Upon completion of the five (5) day isolation, all animals imported by Category B entities must be examined by a licensed veterinarian for the presence of infectious diseases or other conditions that may render the animal unsuitable for adoption, foster, or sale. A copy of the results of all examinations must be kept as part of the animal's adoption records and must be available for inspection under § 1.8(I) of this Part.
3. Any animal that is determined to be suitable for adoption, foster, or sale may be transferred upon completion of this examination.
4. Any animal that is determined to be unsuitable for adoption, foster, or sale must be held in isolation until a veterinarian is able to determine that the animal is suitable.
G. Changes in Classification:
1. Category A entities may be downgraded to Category B if after an investigation it is demonstrated that procedures approved by the Department or any of the provisions of §§ 1.8(D) and (E) of this Part are not being adhered to or that in spite of adherence to procedures thought to be protective, animals are being imported by the entity that are found to be afflicted with infectious diseases.
2. Category B entities may be upgraded to Category A if, after a certificate of registration was granted, that entity is now able to meet the requirements of § 1.8(E) of this Part, thus allowing classification as a Category A entity.
3. Certificates of registration for Category A and/or Category B entities may be revoked pursuant to the provisions of R.I. Gen. Laws § 4-19-8.
H. Record Keeping:
1. Access to records: All entities, carriers, and sub-registrants are required to maintain and provide any records requested by the Department upon the request of the Department.
a. The carrier must have a valid CVI for every animal in transport and if transporting animals for a Category A entity, all CVIs must be issued no greater than ten (10) days prior to arrival into Rhode Island.
b. The carrier must keep a complete manifest to include the following: Name of all entities supplying animals on this shipment, name of all entities that received animals on the shipment, the physical and mailing addresses of all entities supplying and receiving animals, the telephone numbers of all entities supplying and receiving animals on the transport, the identification of all animals on the shipment, all locations where animals are put onto the conveyance and the ID of those animals, all locations where animals are removed from the conveyance and the ID of those animals. The Department will supply all forms for carrier record keeping and the carrier must complete all forms in full and present those forms to the Department upon request.
c. All records that are required to be kept by transporters must be kept for a minimum of one (1) year from the importation of the dog or cat into the State. All records requested from a transporter must be provided to the authorized agent within twenty-four (24) hours of the agent making the request.
3. Category A and B entities must provide and maintain records of:
a. The name, mailing address, physical address, and phone number of the registered entity and all sub-registrants acting as foster homes.
b. Animal ID to include clear digital photos of the animal taken from the left and right sides and from the front in a manner that will demonstrate all unique markings and identifying features, or, microchip number, and the animal's name, approximate age, gender, predominate color, and predominate breed.
c. The source of the animal and the contact information of the source, where known, including the name, physical address, mailing address, and phone number.
d. The disposition of the animal by adoption to include the adopter's name, mailing address, physical address, and phone number.
e. The disposition of the animal by foster care, the name, physical address, mailing address, and phone number of the foster home.
f. For Category A entities, the name, address, phone number and state registration number of the carrier (unless exempt under conditions of § 1.8(E)(4) of this Part).
g. The Department will supply forms to be fully completed by the entity. The entity must make all forms available for review at the request of the Department.
h. All records are required to be maintained for a period of three (3) years after the importation of the animal.
I. Inspections: All entities, carriers, and sub-registrants are subject to inspection by the Department, at reasonable times, for enforcement and verification of the provisions of these regulations.
Adopted Oct. 8, 2015. Amended Jan. 30, 2020; June 22, 2020. Refiled Jan. 4, 2022.