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Rhode Island

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 4. Animals and Animal Husbandry. Chapter 13.1. Regulation of Vicious. Dogs. 4-13.1-9. Penalties for violation--Licensing ordinances and fees

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: Gen. Laws, 1956, 4-13.1-9

Citation: RI ST 4-13.1-9


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 12/2013

Summary:   This Rhode Island statute provides that a vicious dog may be confiscated by a dog officer and destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner after the expiration of a five day waiting period if an owner does not secure liability insurance, have his or her dog properly identified, or properly enclose/restrain the dog.  If any dog declared vicious under § 4-13.1-11, when unprovoked, kills, wounds, or worries or assists in killing or wounding any described animal, the owner shall pay a five hundred fifty dollar fine.  The dog officer is empowered to confiscate the dog.  The statute further provides that municipalities may enact vicious dog licensing ordinances and provide for impoundment of dogs that violate such ordinances.  It also outlines other actions owners of vicious dogs must take, including the posting of vicious dog signs and the maintenance of proper insurance.


Statute in Full:

(a) Any dog declared vicious under § 4-13.1-11:

(1) Whose owner or keeper does not secure the liability insurance coverage required in accordance with § 4-13.1-3;

(2) Which is not maintained on property with an enclosure;

(3) Which is outside of the dwelling of the owner or keeper, or outside of an enclosure except as provided in § 4-13.1-4; or

(4) Which is not tattooed or microchipped, may be confiscated by a dog officer or may be destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner after the expiration of a five (5) day waiting period exclusive of Sundays and holidays which shall not include any day or part thereof that the public pound is not open for a specified period of time, not to be less than one half ( 1/2 ) the normal hours of business, for the purpose of reclaiming any such dog by its rightful owner. In addition, the owner or keeper shall pay a five hundred fifty dollar ($550) fine.

(5) Provided, further, that in addition to the violations listed herein, if any section of this chapter does not specifically provide a penalty for a violation, the penalty shall be five hundred fifty dollars ($550) for the first offense and one thousand dollars ($1000) for any subsequent violation.

(b) If any dog declared vicious under § 4-13.1-11, when unprovoked, kills, wounds, or worries or assists in killing or wounding any animal described in § 4-13.1-7, the owner or keeper of the dog shall pay a five hundred fifty dollar ($550) fine. The dog officer is empowered to confiscate the dog. After the expiration of a five (5) day waiting period, excluding Sundays and holidays, which shall not include any day or part thereof that the public pound is not open for a specified period of time, not to be less than one half ( 1/2 ) the normal hours of business, for the purpose of the rightful owner's reclaiming the dog, the dog officer may destroy the vicious dog. For each subsequent violation, the owner or keeper of the dog shall pay a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000).

(c)(1) If any dog declared vicious under § 4-13.1-11, when unprovoked, attacks, assaults, wounds, bites, or otherwise injures, kills or seriously injures a human being, the owner or keeper shall pay a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000) and the dog officer is empowered to confiscate and, after the expiration of a five (5) day waiting period, which shall not include any day or part thereof that the public pound is not open for a specified period of time, not to be less than one half ( 1/2 ) the normal hours of business, for the purpose of reclaiming any such dog by its rightful owner, may destroy the vicious dog. For each subsequent violation, the owner or keeper shall pay a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), for owning or keeping a vicious dog which attacks, assaults, wounds, bites or otherwise injures or kills a human being. In the event a dog kills a person, the dog shall be humanely euthanized.

(2) The dog officer may confiscate a dog for any violation of this section. If the owner or keeper does not contact the dog officer, or if the dog officer cannot, with a reasonable effort, contact the owner or keeper, the dog may be euthanized under § 4-13-15. If the owner or keeper is found, the dog officer may give the owner or keeper up to ten (10) days to meet the previously imposed requirements. If the requirements are not met in the allotted time, the dog may be euthanized. The owner or keeper will be responsible for the kennel and euthanizing cost.

(3) No person shall be charged under subsections (a), (b) or (c), unless the dog, prior to the offense alleged, has been declared vicious pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

(4) If any dog declared vicious under § 4-13.1-11, seriously injures a person as that term is defined in § 4-13.1-2 or kills or seriously injures a domestic animal, the dog may be humanely euthanized, at the owner's expense, upon a unanimous vote of the hearing panel.

(d)(1) Every city or town shall enact an ordinance requiring the licensing of dogs within their jurisdiction at a fee not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00). In addition, each city or town shall charge an additional fee of two dollars ($2.00) for each license, that fee to be used exclusively by the cities and towns for enforcement of laws pertaining to animals.

(2) Every owner or keeper of any dog found to be in violation of any city or town ordinance governing the licensing of dogs shall for the first offense be fined twenty-five dollars ($25.00) and for a second violation of the ordinance shall be fined two hundred dollars ($200) and shall be required at his or her own expense, to have the dog tattooed in a manner prescribed this chapter, and for a third or subsequent offense shall be fined five hundred dollars ($500), and shall be required at his or her own expense, to have the dog tattooed or microchipped in a manner prescribed by this chapter.

(3) No fine and/or tattooing or microchipping requirement shall be suspended by any court of competent jurisdiction.

(e)(1) If the owner or keeper of a dog impounded for an alleged violation of §§ 4-13.1-3, 4-13.1-4, or 4-13.1-5 believes that there has not been a violation of those sections, the owner or keeper may petition the district court which has jurisdiction in the city or town where the dog is impounded praying that the impounded dog not be destroyed. The impounded dog shall not be destroyed pending resolution of the owner's or keeper's petition.

(2) The petition shall be filed within five (5) days of impoundment of the dog. Notice shall be served within five (5) days of the impoundment of the dog upon the dog officer or keeper of the dog pound. The hearing shall be conducted within fourteen (14) days from serving of the notice.

(3) The decision of the district court may be appealed to the superior court by any aggrieved party within forty eight (48) hours of the decision. The dog shall remain impounded pending the appeal. A hearing de novo, without a jury, shall be conducted within fourteen (14) days of the appeal.

(4) The decision of the superior court shall be final and conclusive upon all parties thereto. However, the dog officer or any law enforcement officer shall have the right to convene a hearing under § 4-13.1-3 for any actions of the dog subsequent to the date of violation. If the court finds that there has not been a violation of §§ 4-13.1-3 through 4-13.1-5, the dog may be released to the custody of the owner or keeper upon payment to the pound keeper or dog officer of the expense of keeping the dog. The city or town councils may establish by ordinance a schedule of those costs.

(f) One-half ( 1/2 ) of all fines paid pursuant to this section shall be paid to the city or town in which the violation occurred for the purpose of defraying the cost of the implementation of the provisions of this chapter.

(g) No dog shall be destroyed within five (5) days of being impounded, exclusive of Sundays and holidays, and which shall not include any day or part of a day that the public pound is not open for a specified period of time, not to be less than one half ( 1/2 ) the normal hours of business, for the purpose of reclaiming any such dog by its rightful owner.

(h) If a dog has been declared vicious pursuant to § 4-13.1-11, the owner or keeper shall display a sign on his or her premises warning that there is a vicious dog on the premises. The sign shall be visible and capable of being read from the public highway.

(i) If a dog has been declared vicious pursuant to § 4-13.1-11, the owner or keeper shall sign a statement attesting that the owner or keeper shall maintain and not voluntarily cancel any liability insurance required pursuant to this section during the twelve (12) month period for which licensing is sought, unless the owner or keeper shall cease to own or keep the vicious dog prior to the expiration of the license.

(j) The owner or keeper shall notify the local police or animal control officer within two (2) hours if a dog that has been declared vicious is on the loose, is unconfined, has attacked another animal or has attacked a human being or has died.

(k) It shall be unlawful for any owner to sell or give away a dog that has been declared vicious within the state.

(l) A dog officer is hereby empowered to make whatever inquiry is deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter, and any such dog officer is hereby empowered to seize and impound any dog that has been declared vicious whose owner or keeper fails to comply with these provisions.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1985, ch. 400, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 429, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 274, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 365, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 374, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 308, § 1, eff. July 6, 2007; P.L. 2007, ch. 430, § 1, eff. July 6, 2007.


 



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