A N A C T
RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES --
RIGHTS TO PUBLIC FACILITIES
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Chapter 40-9.1 of the General Laws entitled "Equal Rights of Blind and Deaf Persons to Public Facilities" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:
40-9.1-5. Family therapy pets in public places. -- The privileges of access and transportation provided to personal assistance animals in section 40-9.1-2 shall be extended to family therapy pets which shall be further defined as primary companions which are to include but not be limited to dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs, that are working in the provision of pet assisted therapy treatment and education. The provisions are such that the pet assisted therapy facilitator is working in conjunction with the family therapy pet in a predetermined medical or educational setting, with a selected clientele. Said medical interactions are to be individually planned, goal-oriented, and treatment based and said educational settings are to be classroom based. Throughout said interactions, the pet assisted therapy facilitator and the family therapy pet will abide by a set code of ethics and will follow professional guidelines to ensure that the actions and deeds of the pet assisted therapy facilitator reflect advocacy of profession, pets, and clients, and other professions; while simultaneously ensuring that the interaction of the family therapy pet and client remains beneficial and strives to enhance the quality of life through this animal-human bond. Prior to any interactions, the family therapy pet must first meet the immunization criteria, a current certificate of good health, which shall be issued by a licensed, practicing veterinarian, as well as the temperament criteria, a certificate of good temperament, which shall be issued from a certified or practicing dog trainer or animal behaviorist, and training criteria, in which the pet assisted therapy facilitator and the family therapy pet learn to work as a team learning together to execute safely and effective interaction, which are accepted in the field, specifically other pet assisted animal facilitators, veterinarians, dog trainers, animal behaviorists and the state of Rhode Island. Access and transportation privileges are only extended while the family therapy pet is on the way to or actively participating in a program. The animal assisted therapy facilitator, an individual who has successfully completed or is in the process of completing accepted pet assisted therapy program, shall be responsible for the control and safety of the pet, which is to include cleaning up and elimination of wastes, keeping the pet on a proper leash and collar, carrying a smaller animal and in a travel crate, adhering to all standard rules, regulations, and laws within both the facility and the state of Rhode Island, and upholding an active insurance policy that will cover an unforeseen mishap and/or accidental occurrence which may result in causing property damage and/or personal injury while actively participating in a program.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.