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Friday, May 24, 2019

On Thursday, May 23, 2019, the Rhode Island House of Representatives approved H. 5113, which seeks to prohibit anyone convicted of animal cruelty from owning animals by requiring “pet sellers” to check the registry prior to sale or face a $1,000 penalty.  The bill defines “pet seller” as any individual, person, partnership, firm, corporation or other legal entity which offers animals for sale or is engaged in the sale, exchange, or other transfer of ownership of animals.

The bill now advances to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) abhors animal cruelty and supports the humane treatment of animals.  However, adopting a new definition of “pet seller” that mixes those in the business of selling animals with those who sell the offspring of their own animals, conflicts with Rhode Island’s current “hobby breeders” distinction and could create confusion.

All dog owners are encouraged to immediately contact the Senate Judiciary Committee to express serious concerns with H. 5113 as approved by the House, and request the bill be amended to distinguish “hobby breeders” from “pet sellers”.

  • Hobby breeders agree that no one convicted of cruelty should own animals.
  • Hobby breeders are not commercial sellers of animals.
  • Lumping all “pet sellers” into a new definition could have unintended consequences, such as local zoning requirements that prohibit the sale of animals unless zoned commercial.

Email all Senate Judiciary Committee Members at

AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will attend the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and provide additional information as developments warrant.  For more information on these or other legislative issues in Rhode Island, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at 919-816-3720 or