TITLE 4
Animals and Animal Husbandry

CHAPTER 4-1
Cruelty to Animals

SECTION 4-1-1


§ 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.

(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 § 4-26-3(6), "adequate living conditions" shall mean a sanitary environment that 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 § 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.

(6) Except for livestock as defined in § 4-26-3, "hazardous accumulation of animals" means the accumulation of a large number of animals, to a point where the owner, possessor, or person having the charge of custody of the aforementioned animals fails to or is unable to provide "adequate living conditions" as defined herein, resulting in harm or danger to the health and wellbeing of the animals.

(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; P.L. 2017, ch. 439, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 444, § 1.)