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7/15/2015 Governor signs legislation that gives RISPCA custody of seized dogs that are trained to attack or fight
STATE HOUSE — Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed legislation that gives the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals custody of seized dogs.

The Senate bill (2015-S 0347), introduced by Sen. William A. Walaska (D-Dist. 30, Warwick), along with the House version (2015-H 5585) introduced by Rep. K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick), mandates that any dog lawfully seized as a result of dog fighting or trained, tormented, badgered, baited, or used for the purpose of unprovoked attacks upon human beings or domestic animals be placed in the care of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for the dog’s physical care and suitability for transfer to an appropriate rescue organization or adoptive home.

 “The Rhode Island SPCA, which is the third oldest humane society in the United States, has a proven track record when it comes to taking care of abused animals,” said Senator Walaska. “Those dogs that have been trained in dog fighting or to engage in unprovoked attacks deserve to be cared for and assessed by an organization that specializes in dealing with the effects of animal cruelty.”

 “Training dogs to fight or attack is just another type of cruelty to animals,” said Representative Shekarchi. “It is imperative that law enforcement get these dogs into the hands of the experts for a proper assessment.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has ranked Rhode Island the 9th best state in the nation in its 2014 U.S. Animal Protection Laws Ranking Report, which surveys animal protection laws of all U.S. states and territories.

The 9th place ranking puts Rhode Island second best of the New England states, behind Maine, which ranked 2nd nationally, and ahead of Massachusetts, the next-best New England state at 13th.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903