The Rhode Island SPCA has been at the forefront of strengthening animal protection laws for our nearly 150-year existence. If you have any specific questions regarding legislation below please contact Joe Warzycha at You can view the bill itself by clicking its bill number link below.


UPDATE: 2/20/19

On Wednesday 02/27/19, the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare will be hearing testimony on a number of animal welfare related bills:

H 5072: This bill would prohibit pet shops from offering for sale cats or dogs that are not obtained from an animal shelter, dog pound or animal rescue. Further prohibits any person from selling, exchanging, trading, bartering or displaying any dog or cat in public.

H 5073: Prohibits the declawing of cats or other animal, unless a licensed veterinarian has determined that the procedure is necessary for therapeutic purposes.

H5130: Prohibits the practice of importing wild animal into the state, which are not native or indigenous to the state, for the purpose of conducting canned hunting.

H5246: Prohibits renting/leasing/financing sales of dogs/cats

H5265: Establishes an Animal Rights Advisory Council to advise the Governor and General Assembly on matters relating to animal rights, treatment, health and safety.

H5297: Regulates unlicensed animal care providers by subjecting them to inspection by DEM or the RISPCA.


House Bill No. 5076  BY  Lombardi, Cassar, Hull, Nardone, Roberts

ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO DOMESTIC RELATIONS – DOMESTIC ABUSE PREVENTION (Permits the family court to award custody of household pets to the plaintiff in a domestic abuse complaint.){LC205/1}

Status: 01/23/2019 Committee recommended measure be held for further study


The Following are bills we are looking for and hoping will be introduced at the State House soon:

• Pre-conviction Forfeiture/Bonding: What this means, is that any person who is charged with animal cruelty would be required to post funds for the cost of care for any animal(s) seized as a result of the investigation

• Regulation of Unlicensed Animal Welfare Professionals: In 2018, the RISPCA was involved in a number of investigations involving animals that were injured or killed while in the care and custody of dog groomers and dog trainers.

• Rhode Island SPCA License Plate: In 2020, the Rhode Island SPCA will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. To commemorate this, we will be introducing a bill to create a RISPCA license plate, through which funds generated will support our mission.


Please check back here to see updates on the status of these bills and how you can get involved.