Bill establishing stricter animal abuse penalties now goes to the Governor

Cranston Animal Shelter

By: Sarah E. Rooney

Email: news@abc6.com

Twitter: @ABC6

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The State House announced Wednesday morning that the General Assembly has passed a bill that would make penalties for animal abuse more strict.

In a release sent out Wednesday, the General Assembly announced that the bill, sponsored by Sen. Frank A. Ciccone III and Rep. Robert A. Nardolillo, has been passed and will now be sent to the Governor’s desk.

The legislation would make it illegal for individuals convicted of animal abuse to own or live with an animal for five or fifteen years, depending on if the crime is a misdemeanor or felony.

This restriction would apply to any person that is convicted of animal abuse or anyone that pleads nolo contendere to animal abuse charges related to overwork, failure to feed, or mistreatment.

“No animal should ever be handed over to someone convicted of animal cruelty,” said Representative Nardolillo, R-Coventry.  “Our courts have the power to protect these innocent creatures from further abuse but only if they are willing to hand down the appropriate sentences. This bill will be a vital first step toward ensuring that no animal in Rhode Island is ever forced to live out their days under inhumane conditions,” said Rep. Nardolillo.          

Under current law, the judge presiding over each individual case is given the discretion to decide whether or not to prohibit convicted persons from owning or living with animals.

The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for signature.

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