(ANIMAL ABUSE RHODE ISLAND – Animal abusers in Rhode Island lose their right (or privilege, rather) to take care of or live with any animals for up to 15 years following a conviction. Though this law signifies a step in the right direction, we believe the punishment for such an inexcusable crime should be more severe. What do you think? Imprisonment? Forfeiture of the right and privilege to have any animals in their care ever again? Let us know. – Global Animal
Animal Legal Defense Fund, Stephan Otto
Convicted abusers may now be kept from owning or residing with animals for up to 15 years.
Rhode Island will soon have an important new tool for combating animal abuse. On June 29, 2011 the Rhode Island General Assembly gave final passage to HB 5522. Once it is signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee, courts in the state will finally have the authority to prohibit animal abusers from owning or residing with any animals for up to five years following a misdemeanor conviction, and for as many as fifteen years in felony cases. Those who violate these sentencing restrictions will face misdemeanor charges punishable by up to one year imprisonment, a fine, and forfeiture of the animals.
Rhode Island’s new “First Strike & You’re Out” Law will be a huge asset in the fight against animal neglect, cruelty and fighting. Keeping convicted abusers away from potential new animal victims will help stem the high rate of recidivism often associated with these crimes, an issue which is especially problematic in cases of animal hoarding. The new law will also help reduce the huge economic toll which repeat offenders impose on their communities – hoarding cases in particular are very costly, often requiring the cooperation of several local agencies.
ALDF Legislative Affairs assisted with the legislation – the new law will take effect upon signing.