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On Wednesday, February 24, the Rhode Island House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee will consider several dog-related bills, including House Bill 7062, which seeks to further restrict the practice of humane tethering of dogs. 

Current Rhode Island law provides specific exemptions from the state’s restrictions on the practice of tethering animals.  Exempted parties include licensed hunters, sled dog owners, training facilities, and individuals under an order by an animal control officer to tether or confine dogs.  House Bill 7062, a carryover bill from 2015, would remove those exceptions, and require those parties to comply with the state’s general statutory restrictions. 

The AKC encourages and strongly supports the interaction and mutual enjoyment of owners and dogs in sporting activities such as hunting and field trials; in working circumstances such as herding, tracking, and pulling; and in competition events such as dog shows, obedience trials, agility trials, and other performance events and tests.  The AKC believes that dogs should be properly cared for, humanely trained, and not pushed beyond reasonable limits for which they were bred. 

The AKC is concerned that should HB 7062 be enacted, some long-accepted humane practices utilized by trainers and handlers in AKC Performance events and other lawful activities would be unnecessarily and unreasonably restricted and potentially put dogs in danger.  For these reasons, AKC opposes HB 7062 and believes that current law appropriately protects dogs and does not increase the risk of inhumane treatment. 

Other carryover bills scheduled to be considered by the Rhode Island House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee on Wednesday, February 24 include:

 

•    HB 7061, which would prohibit any dog from being kept outside by tether, pen, cage, fencing, or otherwise confined without access to an outdoor housing facility when the ambient temperature is beyond the standard for weather safety as set forth in the most recent version of the Tufts Animal Care and Condition Weather Safety Scale, if the dog is showing signs of poor health due to weather conditions.  

•    HB 7083, which seeks to create mandated conditions that must be met before an animal shelter may euthanize an animal.  

•    HB 7258, which would add the hoarding of non-livestock animals to the list of animal cruelty offenses.  As defined in the bill, “hoarding” means the accumulation of a large number of animals, to a point where the owner, possessor or person having the charge or custody of the aforementioned animals fails to or is unable to provide adequate living conditions, food, water and sustenance, or necessary veterinary care and who keeps said animals in an overcrowded environment resulting in a negative impact on the health and well-being of the animals and/or the owner of said animals.  
 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Rhode Island dog fanciers, enthusiasts, and other owners concerned with HB 5800, HB 5573, and any other the bills listed above are strongly encouraged to contact the members of the House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee (listed below), and respectfully let them know your concerns.

Representative Joseph M. McNamara, Committee Chair – rep-mcnamara@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative Samuel A. Azzinaro, Committee Vice Chair – rep-azzinaro@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative Grace Diaz, Committee Deputy Chair – rep-diaz@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative Dennis M. Canario, Committee Secretary – rep-canario@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative Marvin L. Abney – rep-abney@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative Mia A. Ackerman – rep-ackerman@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative Gregg Amore – rep-amore@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative David A. Bennett – rep-bennett@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative Arthur J. Corvese – rep-corvese@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative Kathleen A. Fogarty – rep-fogarty@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative Arthur Handy – rep-handy@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative Robert B. Lancia – rep-lancia@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative Shelby Maldonado – rep-maldonado@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative James N. McLaughlin – rep-mclaughlin@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative Michael Morin – rep-morin@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative Justin Price – rep-price@rilin.state.ri.us

Representative J. Aaron Regunberg – rep-regunberg@rilin.state.ri.us

For more information on pending Rhode Island legislation, contact AKC Government Relations at (919) 816-3720, or email doglaw@akc.org.  

On Wednesday, February 24, the Rhode Island House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee will consider several dog-related bills, including House Bill 7062, which seeks to further restrict the practice of humane tethering of dogs.

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