Search Menu

Monday, November 11, 2019

A problematic proposed ordinance in Smithfield, Rhode Island, which seeks to ban the sale of animals in any retail pet store or commercial establishment, is scheduled for public hearing on December 17, 2019.  The proposed change to Chapter 126, regarding “Animals,” would instead allow pet stores, retail businesses, or other commercial establishments (such as grooming parlors, canine day care, and boarding facilities) to providing space, care, and adoption for animals kept by shelters, animal control agencies, humane societies, or non-profit rescue organizations.  Violators would be fined $500 and/or 90 days of community service for each offense.

According to the Valley Breeze newspaper, five other Rhode Island towns are considering the same proposal.  They likely include Warwick, West Warwick, and Providence.


  1. Contact your town hall and ask if a pet retail ban is currently under consideration. If so, get details on the timeline for its review and alert AKC Government Relations at


  1. Share this alert with residents in Smithfield, Rhode Island, and encourage them to attend the hearing on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, at 7pm, Smithfield Town Hall, 64 Farnum Pike Smithfield, Rhode Island, 02917, or write their town selectman expressing concerns:
  • 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.
  • This proposal conflicts with Rhode Island state law, which was just enacted in July to ensure pets only come from legitimate commercial breeders and allow pet stores to source puppies and kittens from animal shelters and rescues per Chapter 145 of the Acts of 2019.
  • Pet choice allows people to make the right choice of pet for their lifestyle and needs, including purebred dogs from commercial breeders. Limiting pet stores to sourcing pets only from shelters, rescues, or pounds limits choice.

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