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On Wednesday, May 11, the Rhode Island Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee addressed concerns raised by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and Rhode Island residents by adopting an amended S. 2443.  Thank you to those residents who responded to AKC Government Relations’ (GR) alert last month that outlined concerns with the bill as introduced and requested changes.

Senate President Ruggerio filed S. 2443 to authorize forfeiture of animals to the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) for failure to pay the cost of care for seized animals upon a finding of animal cruelty.  After receiving testimony, amended S. 2443 now includes the following procedural protections:

  • A person whose animal has been seized has 60 days to petition the court and either (1) prove they are adequately caring for the animal, or (2) arrange for the adequate provision of care somewhere other than RISPCA pending the court proceedings.  (The cost of care could be significant when alternative options, such as a co-owner, may be a reasonable option.)
  • Limits RISPCA’s animal services pending court actions to the provision of boarding and adequate care, thereby eliminating concerns that an animal in their charge could be spayed/neutered.

AKC is grateful to the Senate President and the Senate Committee for amending S. 2443 to add these ownership and property protections.  The amended bill will now advance to the Senate floor for a vote.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:  Please send an email of appreciation to the Senate President at                     for his willingness to provide these protections.  In the subject line, include “amended S. 2443” and in the body of your email express your appreciation for these changes.  Do not forget to include your name and the town where you reside!

AKC will continue to provide updates on pending dog-related legislation in Rhode Island.  For more information on legislative issues in the state, contact AKC GR at 919-816-3720 or