Animals and Animal Husbandry

Cruelty to Animals


§ 4-1-1 Definitions – Responsibility for agents and employees.

(a) In this chapter and in §§ 4-4-9, 4-4-10, and 23-19-8:

(1) "Animal" and "animals" means every living creature except a human being;

(2) "Licensed graduate veterinarian" or "veterinarian" means a person licensed to engage in the practice of veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry in this state who is a graduate of an accredited veterinary medical, surgical, and dental school or college of a standard recognized by the Rhode Island veterinary medical association; and

(3) "Owner", "person", and "whoever" means corporations as well as individuals.

(4) "Guardian" shall mean a person(s) having the same rights and responsibilities of an owner, and both terms shall be used interchangeably. A guardian shall also mean a person who possesses, has title to or an interest in, harbors or has control, custody or possession of an animal and who is responsible for an animal's safety and well-being.

(5) Except for livestock as defined in subsection 4-26-3(6), "adequate living conditions" shall mean a sanitary environment which is dry and free of accumulated feces and free of debris and garbage that may clutter the environment, pose a danger or entangle the animal. The environment in which the animal is kept must be consistent with federal regulatory requirements, where applicable or generally recognized professional standards, where applicable, or otherwise be of sufficient size so as not to inhibit comfortable rest, normal posture or range of movement, and suitable to maintain the animal in a good state of health. "Adequate living conditions" for livestock as defined in subsection 4-26-3(6) shall mean best management practices established, no later than July 1, 2014, by the Rhode Island livestock welfare and care standards advisory council.

(b) The knowledge and acts of agents of and persons employed by corporations in regard to animals transported, owned or employed by or in the custody of that corporation are held to be the acts and knowledge of that corporation.

History of Section.
(G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 7; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 7; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 7; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 7; P.L. 1945, ch. 1651, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-1; P.L. 2001, ch. 72, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 180, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 232, § 1.)