A collection of the laws concerning cruelty to animals from Rhode Island for the years 1857-1872. The act covers such topics as bird fighting, cruelty to animals, enforcement of the act, and procedural issues concerning the act.
AN ACT FOR THE MORE EFFECTUAL PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. 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, 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, inflict unnecessary cruelty upon the same, or unnecessarily fails to provide the same with proper food, drink, shelter or protection from the weather, shall, for every such offence, be punished by imprisonment in jail, or State work house, or house of correction, not exceeding one year, or by fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
SECTION 2. Every owner, possessor, or person having the charge or custody of any animal who cruelly drives or works the same when unfit for labor, or cruelly abandons the same, or who carries the same, or causes the same to be carried, in , or upon, any vehicle, or otherwise, in an unnecessarily cruel or inhuman manner, or knowingly and willfully authorizes or permits the same to be subjected to unnecessary torture, suffering or cruelty, of any kind, shall be punished for every such offence in manner provided in section one.
SECTION 3. No railroad company, in the carrying or transportation of animals, shall permit the same to be confined in cars, after the same shall have been so confined in cars, after the same shall have been so confined for a period of twenty-eight consecutive hours, without unloading the same for rest, water and feeding, for a period of at least five consecutive hours, unless prevented from so unloading the same for rest, water and feeding, for a period of at least five consecutive hours, unless prevented from so unloading by storm or other accidental causes. In estimating such confinement, the time during which the animals have been confined without such rest on connecting roads from which they are received, shall be included; it being the intent of this act to prohibit their continuous confinement beyond the period of twenty eight hours, except upon contingencies herein before stated. Animals so unloaded shall be properly fed, watered and sheltered during such rest, by the owner or person having the custody thereof, and said company shall in such case have a lien upon such animals for food, care and custody furnished, and shall not be liable for any detention of such animals authorized by this act. Any company, owner, or custodian of such animals who shall fail to comply with the provisions of this section, shall, for each and every such offence, be liable for and forfeit and pay a penalty of not less than one nor more than five hundred dollars; provided, however, that when animals shall be carried in cars in which they can and do have proper food, water, space and opportunity for rest, the foregoing provisions in regard to their being unloaded shall not apply.
SECTION 4. Any person found violating the laws in relation to cruelty to animals, may be arrested and held without warrant, provided that such arrest or detention without a warrant shall not continue longer than six hours; and the person making an arrest with or without a warrant shall use reasonable diligence to give notice thereof to owner of animals found in the charge or custody of the person arrested, and shall properly care and provide for such animals until the owner thereof shall take charge of the same: provided , the owner shall take charge of the same within sixty days from the date of said notice. And the person making such arrest shall have a lien on said animals for the expense of such care and supervision.
SECTION 5. When complaint is made on oath or affirmation 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 particular building or place, such magistrate, if satisfied that there is reasonable cause for such belief, shall issue a search warrant, authorizing any sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable or police officer, to search such building or place; but no such search shall be made after sunset unless specially authorized by the magistrate, upon satisfactory cause shown.
SECTION 6. In this act the word "animal" or "animals" shall be held to include all brute creatures, and the words "owner," "person," and "whoever," shall be held to include corporations as well as individuals, and 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 such corporations, shall be held to be the acts and knowledge of such corporations.
SECTION 7. It shall be the duty of all sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, constables and police officers, to prosecute all violations of this act, which shall come to their notice or knowledge, and fines and forfeitures collected upon or resulting form the complaint or information of any officer or agent of the Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, under this act, shall inure and be paid over to said society in aid of the benevolent objects for which it was incorporated.
SECTION 8. The several trial justices and courts exercising jurisdiction of the justices of the peace, shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the courts of common pleas, over all offences under this act, and to the full extent of the penalties therein specified; parties defendant, however, having the same right to appeal from the judgment of said justices and courts, as is not provided by law in other criminal cases.
SECTION 9. If any maimed, sick, infirm, or disabled animal shall be abandoned to die, by any owner or person having charge of the same, such person shall, for every such offence, be punished in the same manner provided in section one.
SECTION 10. Any officer authorized to serve criminal process may enter any place, building or tenement where there is an exhibition of the fighting of birds or animals, or where preparations are being made for such an exhibition, and without a warrant, arrest all persons there present, and take possession of the birds and animals there found and intended to be used or engaged in fighting such persons shall be kept in custody in jail or other convenient place not more than twenty-four hours, Sundays and legal holidays excepted; at or before the expiration of which time, such persons shall be brought before a trial justice or court exercising jurisdiction of justices of the peace, or court of common pleas, and proceeded against according to law.
SECTION 11. After the seizure of any birds or animals, as provided in the preceding section, application shall be made to a trial justice, or court exercising jurisdiction of justices of the peace, or court of common pleas, for a decree of forfeiture of the same; and if upon the hearing of such an application, it shall be found and adjudged that the same at the time of said seizure were engaged in fighting at an exhibition thereof, or were owned, possessed, or kept by any person with the intent that the same shall be so engaged, they shall be adjudged forfeit, and any officer authorized to serve criminal process shall order, and pay the proceeds of such sale to the use of the city or town. Should it be found and adjudged that any such birds or animals are of no use or value, the same shall be set at large or otherwise disposed of as the court or justice may direct. The claimant shall be allowed to appear in the proceeding upon any such application. Any of such birds or animals not adjudged forfeit, shall be delivered to the owner thereof.
SECTION 12. Any claimant aggrieved by any decree of such court or justice, may, within five days after the entry of such decree, and before execution thereof, appeal therefrom to the Court of Common Pleas or Supreme Court then next to be held in the county.
SECTION 13. The necessary expenses incurred in the care and disposing of such birds or animals may be allowed and paid in the same manner that costs in criminal prosecutions are paid.
SECTION 14. Whoever owns, possesses, keeps, or trains any bird or animal, with the intent that such bird or animals shall be engaged in an exhibition of fighting, shall be punished by fine not exceeding fifty dollars.
SECTION 15. 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 intent to be present at such exhibition, or is present at such exhibition, shall be punished by fine not exceeding ten dollars.