Defenders of Animals backs animal protection bills

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Defenders of Animals, Inc., a Rhode Island-based animal rights organization, has recently expressed support for and testified on a number of bills involving animal protection initiatives, ranging from the declawing of cats to the negligent death of a pet.

The organization is backing Warwick Representative Joseph Solomon’s legislation that would require sheltering and nourishment of dogs to conform to standards established by the Tufts Animal Care Conditions Scale “regarding outside sheltering, proper nourishment, sanitary conditions and physical condition.” Defenders of Animals Director Dennis Tabella said such a measure is already active in Warwick, but the Defenders hope it is passed statewide so the scale is followed in all cities and towns. The bill was passed in the House in June 2015 and recommended for passage in occurrence the same month. Representatives Joseph Shekarchi, Anastasia Williams, Patricia Serpa and Sherry Roberts are cosponsors.

The Defenders also support Shekarchi’s “Animal Abuse Registry Act,” which would require all persons convicted of animal abuse to register with an online registry established by the Attorney General’s office. The bill was recommended to be held for further study in March of last year. It is co-sponsored by Representatives Patricia Serpa, Arthur Corvese, Mia Ackerman and Joseph Solomon.

Defenders of Animals are supporting a bill introduced by Serpa that would “make changes to and clarify the definition of what constitutes unlawful confinement of a ‘covered animal,’ to include any sow during gestation, calf raised for veal or egg-laying hen kept on a farm, and would apply them throughout the chapter accordingly.” The bill was recommended to be held for further study in March of last year. It is co-sponsored by Representatives Robert Craven, William O’Brien, Joseph Shekarchi and Charlene Lima.

Tabella said Defenders of Animals testified on a resolution introduced by House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan that would to establish a cross reporting system on animal, child, and domestic abuse. Under Morgan’s resolution, “all child protection and domestic violence case workers must report suspected animal abuse to animal control/humane officer agencies and all animal control and humane officers must report suspected child abuse and/or domestic violence to Child Protection/Domestic Violence agencies.” The resolution is co-sponsored by Representatives Robert Nardolillo, Sherry Roberts, Ken Mendonca and Anthony Giarrusso. It was recommended to be held for further study this month.

Defenders of Animals have endorsed three bills from Cranston Representative Charlene Lima, including her bill that would ban declawing cats, her bill that would require educational institutions using dogs and cats for medical research to make animals no longer useful for research available for adoption (Tabella said those animals are otherwise euthanized), and her bill that would require courts to consider the best interest of animals in divorce or separation proceedings. All three bills were recommended to be held for further study as of this month. The medical research and de-clawing bills are cosponsored by Representatives Patricia Serpa, Deborah Fellela, Cale Keable and Kathleen Fogarty. The third is co-sponsored by Representatives David Coughlin, Joseph Solomon, William O’Brien and Deborah Fellela.

Defenders of Animals are also supporting Johnston/Cranston Representative Stephen Ucci’s legislation that would create a cause of action for the intentional or negligent death of a pet and allow emotional distress damages for the loss of a pet. The bill was recommended held for further study as of March of last month. It is co-sponsored by Representatives Thomas Palangio, Thomas Winfield, Kenneth Marshall and Katherine Kazarian.

Tabella also said Defenders of Animals are currently fighting bills in the House and Senate that would allow hunters to use crossbows to shoot migratory birds.

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