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7/6/2018 Bill enacted to ban sale of unweaned puppies
STATE HOUSE  — Legislation has been enacted to prohibit the sale of puppies that aren’t fully weaned without written approval from a licensed veterinarian. The bill, sponsored by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi and Sen. Frank S. Lombardi, was signed by Gov. Gina M. Raimondo this week and took effect immediately.

“It’s unhealthy for puppies to be taken from their mothers before they are fully weaned. They need to go through that natural process to develop a healthy immune system, as well as to learn some very basic socialization from their mothers and littermates. Taking them too soon can hurt their development and health. Responsible pet breeders and pet owners already understand this, but enacting this measure will send a message to any outliers that they must give puppies the time they need with their mothers so they can be healthy pets,” said Leader Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick).

The legislation (2018-H 7641aa, 2018-S 2777A) allows sellers to make arrangements for sales earlier, as long as the puppies do not actually change hands before they are completely weaned. It also contains exemptions for those who get written permission from a licensed veterinarian, and for animal shelters and foster organizations.

“It’s in everybody’s best interest to let puppies stay with their mothers long enough to wean. It’s obviously healthier for the puppy, which means owners who are happy, and breeders who aren’t getting complaints about the health of the puppies they are selling. Making sure puppies get a good start in life makes for a better experience for everyone involved,” said Senator Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston).

Violations are punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and a year in prison, and each puppy sold in violation would be considered a separate offense.

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923