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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

 Several problematic Rhode Island bills will have a public hearing before the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare on Wednesday, February 27th.

HB 5265 would establish an Animal Rights Advisory Council made up of predominantly animal rights groups to issue annual recommendations to the legislature. AKC supports maintaining the legal status and value of dogs as property so owners, veterinarians and government agencies can protect and care for dogs. Changing this long-standing legal principle could subject people to expensive litigation.

HB 5433 would allow the seizure of animals if in the opinion of an animal control officer there is suspected neglect or abuse, for example, as indicated by an animal being lame. The AKC abhors animal cruelty and supports enforcement of strong animal cruelty laws. This bill authorizes the taking of dogs upon suspicion of neglect without first securing a warrant and raises constitutional due process concerns.

HB 5072 would prohibit pet stores from the sale of dogs not sourced from a shelter, rescue or pound. Pet choice is a concept AKC supports and limiting pet stores to sourcing pets only from shelters, rescues, or pounds limits a person’s ability to choose the best pet for their family and lifestyle. In addition, pet stores are licensed and regulated sources of pets while shelters and rescues are known to import pets with increased risk of infectious disease and behavioral issues.

HB 5297 regulates unlicensed animal care providers by subjecting them to inspections. Any unlicensed person who renders a service to an animal would be subject to inspections, but the bill has no definition of “service”. Hobby breeders are not required to be licensed in Rhode Island.


  1.  Please let AKC GR know if you can attend the hearing in person by emailing The committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, in Room 101 of the State House, 82 Smith St, Providence, RI 02903.
  2. Contact your state representative to register your concerns. To identify your representative, link to this website and click on “find your elected official” to insert your address and get contact information. Ask your state representative to share your concerns with Chairman
  3. Concerned residents are also encouraged to contact the members of the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee to directly express concerns. To access the committee individual member contact list, click here.


AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will provide additional information on these bills prior to the hearing and as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC GR at