2006-03-23 / News

By Barbara Szepatowski

This is the time of the year when special-interest groups and our legislators are scrambling to change Rhode Island's General Laws.

Last week, we discussed two of the 18 animal-related bills under consideration in the General Assembly.

There are seven more of the 18 bills endorsed by most of the Rhode Island animal protection groups. The other endorsed bills cover everything from warranties for puppies purchased at pet stores, to leg-hold traps. If you believe in these bills, you have an opportunity to make a difference. Please contact the legislative members listed to help make Rhode Island a better place for animals.

There are three additional Senate bills being heard in subcommittee:

+ Senate bill 2476 and Senate bill 2477 are complimentary bills introduced by Senators Perry, Tassoni, Gallo, and Damiani. These are both entitled An Act Relating To Animals And Animal Husbandry. Bill 2476 would amend provisions of municipal laws relative to the method that moneys collected from fines are spent.

The bill would have the fines go back into animal protections. Bill 2477 would amend certain provisions relative to the adoption of animals and the uses of forfeited deposits. Both of these bills were referred to the Senate Constitutional and Gaming Issues Committee.

+ Senate Bill No.2541, introduced by Senators Perry, Tassoni, Gallo, and Damiani, is entitled An Act Relating To Animals And Animal Husbandry. This bill would establish a fund for the spaying and neutering of cats and dogs and provide funds from contributions from a check-off on the state personal income tax form. This bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Passage of this bill will only happen if Rhode Islanders push hard. The General Assembly is biased against having income tax donation check-offs on the tax returns for anything other than political contributions.

Dr. Jack Civic of the Jamestown Animal Hospital wrote a letter to the editor in this week's Jamestown Press discussing other alternatives for lowcost spay/neuter clinics.

There are four additional House bills being heard in Subcommittee:

+ House Bill No.6829, introduced by Representatives Voccola and Williams, is entitled An Act Relating To Animals And Animal Husbandry - Pet Warranties - Dogs. This bill would be a new chapter in the laws extensively covering the sale of dogs, warranties, remedies, and notices. This bill will help to prevent expensive health problems often associated with dogs purchased from puppy mill breeders. This bill was referred to the House Health Education and Welfare Committee.

+ House Bill No.7430, introduced by Representatives Gallison and Lima, is entitled An Act Relating To Cruelty to Animals. This bill would prohibit the operation of an animal circus in this state. For years, Jamestowners have gone to Providence to peacefully protest the circus which comes every May to the Rhode Island Convention Center. This bill was referred to the House Health Education and Welfare Committee.

+ House Bill No.7527, introduced by Representative Trillo, is entitled An Act Relating To Animals And Animal Husbandry - Cruelty To Animals. This bill would substantially increase the fines for cruelty to animals, but would still only make the fine a misdemeanor and not a felony. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

+ House Bill No.7746, introduced Representatives Gemma, Jacquard, Anguilla, Rose, and Singleton, is entitled An Act Relating To Fish And Wildlife - Fur-Bearing Animals.

This bill would eliminate special permits for the use of steeljawed, leg-hold animal traps. This bill could effect the coyote study being completed on Jamestown and Aquidneck Island. This bill was referred to the House Health Education and Welfare Committee.

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