Senate approves President Ruggerio’s bill
to hold owners of abused animals responsible



STATE HOUSE – The Senate has approved legislation from President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) to establish new requirements for the provision of care to abused animals.


The legislation (S-2443A) establishes a procedure for the owner or guardian of an animal in the custody of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) to pay reasonable expenses for the animal’s care, including shelter and food.


If the owner or guardian neither provides payment nor petitions District Court for the return of the animal within a set timeframe, the animal may be forfeited to the RISPCA through a court petition.


“Pets deserve protection from cruelty and abuse, and people who engage in such deplorable behavior should be held accountable for their actions. That includes providing for the care of animals that have suffered due to their negligence or mistreatment – and, if they fail to meet their obligations, surrendering their ownership rights,” President Ruggerio said. “I’m thankful to my Senate colleagues for supporting this legislation, and I’m proud of our work together to advance numerous animal protection bills during my time in the General Assembly.”


President Ruggerio’s legislation was cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston), Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), Sen. Bridget Valverde (D-Dist. 35, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Narragansett), and Sen. Frank Lombardo III (D-Dist. 25, Johnston).


The legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.