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Senate Bill 2022 passed the Rhode Island Senate on June 1, 2010 and has now been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. Concerned Rhode Island dog owners should contact the members of the Judiciary Committee.

The AKC Government Relations Department continues to monitor this legislation and will provide updates on further action on this bill as information becomes available.


Update: Rhode Island S 2022 Placed On Senate Schedule

[Thursday, May 27, 2010]

Senate Bill 2022 was approved by the Senate Committee on Constitutional and Regulatory Issues on May 26, and will next move to the full Senate.  Concerned Rhode Island dog owners should contact their Senators now.


Rhode Island Senate Bill 2022

[Tuesday, May 25, 2010]

The Committee on Constitutional and Regulatory Issues has scheduled Senate Bill 2022 for consideration on Wednesday, May 26. As currently written, this bill contains a number of provisions of great concern to the American Kennel Club.

As currently written, S 2022 contain the following provisions of concern:

  • Outlaw the keeping of any dog tethered or in an outside enclosure for more than one hour without access to an outdoor housing facility unless the person in charge of the dog was also outside with it. We are concerned that this is not reasonable, as many responsible pet owners have adequate fencing systems that prevent pets from wandering without the need for the specified housing facility. When weather is good, such facilities are not necessary, and could be an unnecessary expense for a responsible owner. Rigid engineering requirements such as those required in this law should not be necessary for letting the family dog spend a nice afternoon outside in the backyard.
  • Allow use of private citizens associated with RISPCA to conduct inspections and investigations. We believe that inspections and investigations are an important function that require a minimum level of formal training. The use of designated law enforcement officers or duly trained municipal canine officers helps ensure that inspections and investigations are conducted in an efficient, fair and legal manner. This helps ensure that evidence is preserved properly in criminal cases and that responsible dog owners are not targeted by potentially well-meaning but untrained inspectors who may violate codes, wrongfully target law-abiding citizens and put the community at risk for lawsuits. 
  • Use of the term “guardian” as interchangeable with “owner”. The American Kennel Club strongly supports the term “owner” in reference to the keeping of dogs. We oppose the use of the term “guardian” which we believe is devoid of the rights and obligations humans have as owners: to keep, nurture, and protect their animals. Whereas the term “owner” places responsibility on people for the care and actions of their dogs, the term “guardian” reduces a person’s legal right to protect his or her dog and does nothing to promote or require kinder treatment of animals. AKC strongly supports efforts to educate the public about their responsibilities as dog owners and their obligation to provide humane care for their animals, but we believe that animals, no matter how cherished or unique, are unable to assume rights and obligations comparable to humans implied by the term “guardian.” Use of this term may also undermine the principle of property rights and open the door to a host of legal challenges.


The AKC encourages all concerned dog owners and breeders in Rhode Island to contact their legislators and the Committee on Constitutional and Regulatory Issues, and urge them  amend this bill to address these issues or to not move this measure further forward. 

The American Kennel Club strongly supports humane treatment of dogs, including an adequate and nutritious diet, clean water, clean living conditions, regular veterinary care, kind and responsive human companionship, and training in appropriate behavior. The AKC supports reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of purebred dogs and do not restrict the rights of breeders and owners who take their responsibilities seriously. We believe this bill as written, does not contribute to either of these goals.



Responsible dog owners in Rhode Island are encouraged to contact their Senators respectfully ask them not to move the bill forward without addressing the unreasonable provisions in this bill.

To find your Rhode Island legislators, click here.

For information on Communicating Effectively with Your Legislators, click here

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail

Senate Bill 2022 passed the Rhode Island Senate on June 1, 2010 and has now been assigned to the…