The General Assembly has approved legislation in protecting the interest of pets in court proceedings.
The Governor will sign this bill that allows the director of the Department of Environmental Management to designate a department veterinarian to act as an animal advocate and make recommendations to any court before which the custody or well-being of an animal is at issue.
The legislation allows a representative of the Rhode Island affiliate of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to serve in the same capacity.
Sen. John J. Tassoni Jr. and Rep. Peter John Petrarcasponspored this legislation and was prepared with the assistance of the Windwalker Humane Coalition for Professional Pet Assisted Therapy.
Senator Tassoni said, "judges are not getting the correct or full information from the parties to the court matter. The court should get that information from a person who does an investigation, from an impartial advocate whose goal is to ensure the welfare of the animal, which can't speak for itself."