Animals and Animal Husbandry

Cruelty to Animals


§ 4-1-2. Overwork, mistreatment, or failure to feed animals – Shelter defined.

(a) Whoever overdrives, overloads, drives when overloaded, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, cruelly beats, mutilates, or cruelly kills, or causes or procures to be so overdriven, overloaded, driven when overloaded, overworked, tortured, tormented, deprived of necessary sustenance, cruelly beaten, or mutilated, any animal, and whoever, having the charge or custody of any animal, either as owner or otherwise, inflicts cruelty upon that animal, or willfully fails to provide that animal with proper food, drink, shelter, or protection from the weather, shall, for each offense, be imprisoned not exceeding eleven (11) months, or be fined not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), or both. If the offense described in this section results in the death of the animal, the person shall be punished in the manner provided in § 4-1-5.

(b) Any person who has been previously convicted of an offense provided for in chapter 1 of title 4 shall, upon conviction of a second or subsequent violation within a ten-year (10) period, be imprisoned for a period not exceeding six (6) years, or fined not less than five hundred dollars ($500) and not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both. In addition, every person convicted under chapter 1 of title 4 of a second or subsequent offense shall be required to serve one hundred (100) hours of community restitution. The community restitution penalty shall not be suspended or deferred and is mandatory.

(c) Every owner, possessor, or person having charge of any animal may, upon conviction of a violation of this section, be ordered to forfeit all rights to ownership of the animal to the animal-control officer of the city or town in which the offense occurred or to a humane society that owns and operates the shelter that provided the subject animal shelter subsequent to any confiscation of that animal pursuant to this section.

(d) Shelter means a structure used to house any animal that will provide sufficient protection from inclement elements for the health and well being of the animal.

History of Section.
(G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 1; P.L. 1898, ch. 548, § 1; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 1; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 1; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-2; P.L. 1981, ch. 298, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 351, § 2; P.L. 1994, ch. 307, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 455, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 458, § 1; P.L. 2018, ch. 177, § 1; P.L. 2018, ch. 200, § 1.)