House Bill #7171 (2018)

AN ACT RELATING TO ANIMALS AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Permits the trapping and release of unowned feral cats for the purpose of spaying or neutering.

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Changes since original draft

  • 2018 – H 7171
  • 2018 – H 7171 SUBSTITUTE A
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  • LC003594
  • LC003594/SUB A
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  • S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
  • S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
  • IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2018
  • ____________
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO ANIMALS AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
  • Introduced By: Representatives Edwards, Canario, Serpa, Vella-Wilkinson, and
  • Coughlin
  • Date Introduced: January 17, 2018
  • Referred To: House Health, Education & Welfare
  • It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
  • SECTION 1. Section 4-19-2 and 4-19-4 of the General Laws in Chapter 4-19 entitled "Animal Care" are hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 4-19-2. Definitions.
  • As used in this chapter, chapter 13 of this title, and the regulations promulgated under this chapter:
  • (1) "Adequate feed" means the provision at suitable intervals, not to exceed twenty-four (24) hours, of a quantity of wholesome foodstuff suitable for the species and age, sufficient to maintain a reasonable level of nutrition in each animal. The foodstuff shall be served in a sanitized receptacle, dish, or container.
  • (2) "Adequate veterinary care" means care by a licensed veterinarian sufficient to prevent the animal from experiencing unnecessary or unjustified physical pain or suffering.
  • (3) "Adequate water" means a constant access to a sufficient supply of clean, fresh, potable water provided in a sanitary manner and provided at suitable intervals for the species to maintain the health of the animal(s) and not to exceed twenty-four (24) hours at any interval.
  • (4) "Adopt" means when an adopting party voluntarily acquires and assumes responsibility for an animal from a releasing agency that is properly licensed or registered by the department.
  • (5) "Adopting party" means any person who enters into a contract acquiring an animal from a releasing agency that is properly licensed or registered by the department.
  • (6) "Ambient temperature" means the temperature surrounding the animal.
  • (7) "Animal" means any dog or cat, rabbit, rodent, nonhuman primate, bird or other warm-blooded vertebrate, amphibian, fish, or reptile but shall not include horses, cattle, sheep, goats, swine, and domestic fowl.
  • (8) "Animal rescue" or "rescue" means an entity, without a physical brick-and-mortar facility, that is owned, operated, or maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other nonprofit organization devoted to the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals intended for adoption.
  • (9) "Animal shelter" means a brick-and-mortar facility that is used to house or contain animals and that is owned, operated, or maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other nonprofit organization devoted to the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals.
  • (10) "Breeder" means a person engaged in the propagation of purebred or crossbred dogs and/or cats for the purpose of improving and enhancing a breed recognized and registered by the American Kennel Club, American Field Stud Book, a registered cat breed association, or for sale at wholesale or retail, unless otherwise exempted as a hobby breeder as defined below.
  • (11) "Broker" means any third party who arranges, delivers, or otherwise facilitates transfer of ownership of animal(s), through adoption or fostering, from one party to another, whether or not the party receives a fee for providing that service and whether or not the party takes physical possession of the animal(s) at any point.
  • (12) "Dealer" means any person who sells, exchanges, or donates, or offers to sell, exchange, or donate, animals to another dealer, pet shop, or research facility, or who breeds animals for the purpose of selling or donating to another dealer or pet shop or research facility.
  • (13) "Director" means the director of environmental management of the state of Rhode Island.
  • (14) "Dog officer" or "animal-control officer" means any person employed, contracted, or appointed by the state, or any political subdivision of the state, for the purpose of aiding in the enforcement of this chapter or any other law or ordinance relating to the licensing of dogs, cats, or other animals; the control of dogs, cats or other animals; or the seizure and impoundment of dogs, cats, or other animals and includes any state or municipal peace officer, animal-control officer, sheriff, constable, or other employee whose duties, in whole or in part, include assignments that involve the seizure or taking into custody of any dog, cat, or other animal.
  • (15) "Euthanasia" means the humane destruction of an animal accomplished by a method that involves instantaneous unconsciousness and immediate death or by a method that involves anesthesia, produced by an agent that causes painless loss of consciousness and death during that loss of consciousness.
  • (16) "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.
  • (17) "Hobby breeder" means those persons whose regular occupation is not the breeding and raising of dogs and cats and whose method of sale is at retail only. A hobby breeder shall not exceed the limits set forth in § 4-25-1(4). Any person who sells at retail a number in excess of the limits in the aforementioned section shall be considered a breeder.
  • (18) "Housing facility" means any room, building, or area used to contain a primary enclosure or enclosures.
  • (19) "Humane animal welfare group" means any legal entity that is engaged in the activity of trapping feral cats for the purpose of spaying or neutering, provided:
  • (i) The cats will be released at the same location where originally trapped; and
  • (ii) The cats will have been spayed or neutered by a licensed veterinarian, vaccinated for rabies and feline distemper, and identified with a left ear tip.
  • (19)(20) "Kennel" means a place or establishment, other than a pound or animal shelter, where animals not owned by the proprietor are sheltered, fed, and watered in return for a fee.
  • (20)(21) "Licensed releasing agency" means any animal shelter, animal-rescue, pound, animal-control officer, or broker that is required to be licensed or registered with the director pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and is so licensed or registered.
  • (21)(22) "Neuter" means to surgically render a male dog or cat unable to reproduce.
  • (22)(23) "Person" means any individual, partnership, firm, joint stock company, corporation, association, trust, estate, or other legal entity.
  • (23)(24) "Pet shop" means a temporary or permanent establishment where animals are bought, sold, exchanged, or offered for sale or exchange to the general public at retail. This shall not include an establishment or person whose total sales are the offspring of canine or feline females maintained on their premises and sold from those premises and does not exceed the limits set forth in § 4-25-1(4).
  • (24)(25) "Pound" or "dog pound" means a facility operated by a state, or any political subdivision of a state, for the purpose of impounding or harboring seized, stray, homeless, abandoned, or unwanted dogs, cats, and other animals or a facility operated for that purpose under a contract with any municipal corporation or incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.
  • (25)(26) "Primary enclosure" or "enclosure" means the most proximal barrier to an animal that will have the intended purpose or effect of containment of that animal or that will effectively restrict the liberty of the animal.
  • (26)(27) "Public auction" means any place or location where dogs or cats are sold at auction to the highest bidder regardless of whether those dogs or cats are offered as individuals, as a group, or by weight.
  • (27)(28) "Research facility" means any place, laboratory, or institution at which scientific tests, investigations, or experiments, involving the use of living animals, are carried out, conducted, or attempted.
  • (28)(29) "Sanitize" means to make physically clean and to remove and destroy, to a practical minimum, agents injurious to health.
  • (29)(30) "Sexual maturity" means when a dog or cat reaches six (6) months. In all instances, the licensed, releasing agency or a licensed veterinarian will determine the age of the dog or cat.
  • (30)(31) "Spay" means to surgically render a female dog or cat unable to reproduce.
  • (31)(32) "State veterinarian" means a licensed veterinarian from the department of environmental management.
  • 4-19-4. Registration of animal shelters, rescues, and brokers. Registration of animal shelters, rescues, humane animal welfare groups, and brokers.
  • No person shall operate an animal shelter, rescue, humane animal welfare group, or broker unless a certificate of registration for that animal shelter, rescue, humane animal welfare group, or broker has been granted by the director. Application for that certificate shall be made in the manner provided by the director. No fee is required for the application or certificate. Certificates of registration are valid for a period of one year, or until revoked, and may be renewed annually on the first day of January for like periods upon application in the manner provided.
  • SECTION 1. Section 4-1-26 of the General Laws in Chapter 4-1 entitled "Cruelty to Animals" is hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 4-1-26. Abandonment of animals.
  • (a) 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.
  • (b) Any pound or animal shelter as defined under § 4-19-2, shall deem abandoned any animal impounded and not redeemed by its owner within ten (10) days of impoundment if such animal is wearing identification. Any animal impounded and not wearing identification shall be deemed abandoned if not redeemed by its owner within five (5) days of impoundment. Any animal deemed abandoned shall become the property of the impounding agency and may be adopted.
  • (c) Any pound or animal shelter shall make a prompt and reasonable attempt to locate and notify the owner of the impounded animal, including scanning the animal for a microchip.
  • (d) It shall not be considered abandonment and the provisions of § 4-1-26(a) shall not apply to any person who traps unowned feral or free roaming cats, causes those cats to be spayed or neutered, and subsequently releases those cats, provided:
  • (1) Any medical or surgical procedures performed on those cats are performed by a licensed veterinarian;
  • (2) The cats are returned to the property where they were trapped; and
  • (3) If the cats were trapped on private property, the person who is entering the private property shall have in their possession written permission from a person with authority to give such permission stating that they have been granted permission to enter the property for the purpose of trapping cats.
  • SECTION 2. Section 4-24-8 of the General Laws in Chapter 4-24 entitled "Permit Program for Cats" is hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 4-24-8. Abandonment of cats.
  • If any cat is abandoned by their owner or any person having charge or custody of that cat, that person shall, for each offense be punished in the manner provided in § 4-1-2. This section shall not apply to a "humane animal welfare group: as defined in § 4-9-12.
  • SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon passage. ======== LC003594 ========
  • If any cat is abandoned by their owner or any person having charge or custody of that cat, that person shall, for each offense be punished in the manner provided in § 4-1-2, the provisions of § 4-1-26(a) notwithstanding.
  • SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.
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  • LC003594/SUB A
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  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • OF
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO ANIMALS AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
  • ***
  • This act would exempt a "humane animal welfare group" from the offense of the abandonment of cats.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC003594 ========
  • This act would provide that the trapping and subsequent release of any unowned feral or free roaming cat for the purpose of spaying or neutering of the cat shall not be considered abandonment.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC003594/SUB A ========

Votes

NOTE: Electronic voting records are unofficial and may not be accurate. For an official vote tally, check the House or Senate Journal from the day of the vote.

Floor vote for PASSAGE

May 03, 2018 at 4:18pm
Yeas: 65 / Nays: 0 / Not voting: 10 / Recused: 0
Legislator Vote
Rep. Abney Y
Rep. Ackerman Y
Rep. Ajello Y
Rep. Almeida NV
Rep. Amore Y
Rep. Azzinaro Y
Rep. Barros Y
Rep. Bennett NV
Rep. Blazejewski Y
Rep. Canario Y
Rep. Carson Y
Rep. Casey Y
Rep. Casimiro Y
Rep. Chippendale Y
Rep. Corvese Y
Rep. Costantino Y
Rep. Coughlin Y
Rep. Craven Y
Rep. Cunha Y
Rep. Diaz Y
Rep. Donovan Y
Rep. Edwards Y
Rep. Fellela NV
Rep. Filippi Y
Rep. Fogarty Y
Rep. Giarrusso Y
Rep. Handy Y
Rep. Hearn Y
Rep. Hull Y
Rep. Jacquard Y
Rep. Johnston Y
Rep. Kazarian Y
Rep. Keable Y
Rep. Kennedy NV
Rep. Knight Y
Rep. Lancia Y
Rep. Lima Y
Rep. Lombardi Y
Rep. Maldonado Y
Rep. Marshall Y
Rep. Marszalkowski Y
Rep. Mattiello Y
Rep. McEntee NV
Rep. McKiernan Y
Rep. McLaughlin Y
Rep. McNamara Y
Rep. Mendonca Y
Rep. Messier Y
Rep. Morgan Y
Rep. Morin Y
Rep. Nardolillo Y
Rep. Newberry Y
Rep. Nunes NV
Rep. O'Brien Y
Rep. O'Grady NV
Rep. Perez Y
Rep. Phillips Y
Rep. Price NV
Rep. Quattrocchi Y
Rep. Ranglin-Vassell Y
Rep. Regunberg Y
Rep. Roberts Y
Rep. Ruggiero Y
Rep. Serpa Y
Rep. Shanley Y
Rep. Shekarchi Y
Rep. Slater Y
Rep. Solomon Y
Rep. Tanzi NV
Rep. Tobon Y
Rep. Ucci Y
Rep. Vella-Wilkinson Y
Rep. Walsh NV
Rep. Williams Y
Rep. Winfield Y