The 2019 legislative season was another great success for the animals in Rhode Island.
With the help of our supporters, the General Assembly and Governor Gina Riamondo, Rhode Island had six key animal welfare bills passed this year:
- Including animals in protective orders: S225/ H5023
- Prohibition on misrepresentation of a service animal: S308/ H5299
- Licensing of animal “trainers”: H5436
- Increased regulations on the sale of puppies in “pet shops”: S699/ H6168
- Special protections for public safety K-9s and horses: S779/ H6043
- Bonding/Pre-conviction forfeiture: S465/ H543**
** A special thanks to Senator Erin Lynch-Prata and Representative Mia Ackerman for sponsoring this bill. S465/H5433 was the Rhode Island SPCA’s priority bill for 2019 and we are extremely grateful for their support and commitment to our mission.
The primary goal of S465/H5433 is to protect the financial welfare of the Rhode Island SPCA during large scale animal seizures and also to allow for a quicker disposition of the seized animals. Prior to the passage of this bill, the Rhode Island SPCA was responsible for all cost of animal care until the final adjudication of the criminal case, often resulting in thousands of dollars, which is never recuperated. In 2018 alone, the Rhode Island SPCA seized over 200 animals from various investigations, leading to costs over $50,000, which were never reimbursed. Furthermore, the seized animals must be held by our agency until the adjudication of the case, which can sometimes take several months or years.
Under S465/H5433, the animal owner most post a bond for cost of care following the seizure of the animals. If they are unable to post the bond, the animals are then forfeited to the Rhode Island SPCA, allowing us to make them available for adoption.
You can find more details on all of these bills on the General Assembly website: http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Pages/Default.aspx