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8/22/2014 Defenders of Animals honors Majority Leader Ruggerio
STATE HOUSE – Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio was presented the Humane Hero Award by Defenders of Animals during the organization’s 20th annual Homeless Animals Day/Candlelight Vigil held recently in Cranston.
Senator Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, Providence, North Providence) was recognized for sponsoring and working for enactment of several pieces of legislation of importance to Defenders of Animals, including an animal confinement bill that became law this year and which led to several recent arrests in Johnston.
The new law resulting from Senator Ruggerio’s bill (2014-S 2312A) makes it a misdemeanor for any person to confine any animal in a motor vehicle which places the animal in a life threatening or extreme health threatening situation by exposing the animal to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold, without proper ventilation or other protection from the extreme temperature.

Under the new law, which was signed into effect by the governor on July 1 of this year, any animal control officer, law enforcement office or firefighter who has probable cause to believe the law is being violated will have the authority to enter a motor vehicle by any reasonable means necessary. The misdemeanor charge carries a punishment of imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. The owner of the animal is also responsible for paying for all charges resulting from the care, medical treatment and impoundment of the animal at the agency where the animal is taken by the rescuing official.

Defenders of Animals, at the annual event, also honored Johnston police for rescuing two dogs last month under the new animal confinement law.

In addition to that new law, Leader Ruggerio was recognized for several other pieces of animal safety/protection legislation he has sponsored in recent years that have become law. Among them are laws that set penalties for requiring the devocalization of dogs and cats as a condition of real estate occupancy, that prohibit the unlawful confinement of calves raised for veal or sows during gestation, and that prohibit the docking of the tails of bovines.

Defenders of Animals was founded in 1978 and is committed to working for the rights of companion animals and wildlife through education, legal and legislative activism. The organization participates in International Homeless Animals Day, which is observed annually in August and includes adopt-a-thons, spay/neuter clinics, rallies and award ceremonies.

For more information, contact:
Greg Pare, Press Secretary for the Senate
State House Room 314
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 276-5558