RI Committee to Consider Dog Ownership Bills TOMORROW (3/9)

RI Committee to  Consider Dog Ownership Bills TOMORROW (3/9)


The Rhode Island Senate Committee on Environment & Agriculture is considering a number of bills tomorrow that would impact dog owners, including a ban on debarking.  All responsible dog owners in Rhode Island are encouraged to attend the hearing or contact the committee and express any concerns or comments you have with these bills.   The hearing information is as follows:

Rhode Island Senate Committee on Environment & Agriculture
Date: March 9, 2011
Time: Upon adjournment of Senate floor action (the Senate will meet at 4 p.m.)
Location: Senate Lounge (Located just behind the Senate Floor)


A number of bills will be considered in committee, including:

  • Senate Bill 266 – This bill would ban debarking, unless a veterinarian files written certification with animal control stating that the procedure is necessary to treat a disease, injury, or an abnormality that is causing pain.  Anyone found guilty of violating this ban would be fined up to $1,000 and prevented from owning any animals or living with anyone who owns an animal for an amount of time deemed appropriate by the court.

The AKC believes that, when performed by a veterinarian, debarking is a viable veterinary procedure that may allow a dog to stay in a loving home, rather than be surrendered to a shelter.  As with other veterinary medical decisions, we believe the decision to debark is best left to owners and their veterinarians.

  • Senate Bill 140 – This bill, in addition to other provisions, would make it a violation of the animal cruelty statute to keep any dog “outside, tethered, penned, caged or otherwise confined” for more than one hour without access to an outdoor housing facility, unless the person caring for the dog also remains outside.  As currently written, this could mean that someone allowing their dog to play in a fenced-in backyard for an hour must have an outdoor facility available, unless they remain outside with the dog.


It also empowers the RISPCA and animal control officers to enter private property without a warrant and examine the dogs to ensure compliance with the tethering, confinement, and basic care requirements in this bill.

A number of other dog-related bills will also be considered, including a registry for those who violate the animal cruelty laws, and a bill that states that any misdemeanor involving the animal cruelty statute would automatically prohibit the violator from owning, or living with someone who owns an animal, for five years.

The AKC Government Relations Department will continue to monitor these bills.  For questions or more information, contact us at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.