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3/1/2018 House panel hears Serpa bill to ban sale of dogs, cats not acquired from an animal shelter
STATE HOUSE — The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare Wednesdayay heard testimony on legislation introduced by Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) that would ban the sale of dogs and cats at pet shops, except those that have come from an animal shelter, dog pound or animal rescue.

The legislation (2018-H 7477) would also make it unlawful for any person to sell, exchange, trade, barter or display any dog or cat on any roadside, public right-of-way, parkway, median, park, or other outdoor market.

“We all know the horror stories of animals that are bred in puppy mills” Representative Serpa said. “What this legislation will do is decrease the demand for dogs and cats that are bred in this terrible fashion while increasing the demand for pets that come from animal shelters. This in turn will encourage pet shops to adopt and adhere to more humane policies in the sales of cats and dogs.”

The legislation (2018-H 7045) would also regulate the sales of the animals by requiring labels that indicate the animal shelter where the dogs or cats originated.

The committee also heard testimony on several other animal-related bills, including legislation introduced by Representative Serpa that would include hunting dogs in an existing law that protects animals from extreme temperatures.

The current law, which the General Assembly enacted last year, makes it illegal to keep any dog outside when the ambient temperature is above or below the industry standard for the weather safety scale as set forth in the most recent adopted version of the Tufts Animal Care and Condition Weather Safety Scale. However, the law makes an exemption for any person raising or training a gun dog or hunting dog.

“Whether for purposes of hunting or not, to keep these dogs tethered, on chains, outside of a wooden box in frigid weather is cruel and unreasonable,” Serpa said. “I have received several phone calls from people who are concerned about the welfare of dogs during deep freezes like the one we had earlier this year. They and I want to guarantee that these animals will be protected.”

Representative Serpa filed the legislation in the wake of an incident in Warwick that garnered national attention. According to news reports, the owner of several pit bulls came under public protest for keeping the dogs tethered outside in order to acclimate them to cold temperatures.

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