§ 4-1-22. Care of neglected animals by society Forfeiture of owner's rights Expenses.
(a) An officer or agent of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals may lawfully take charge of any animal found abandoned or neglected or hazardously accumulated as defined in § 4-1-1, or that in the opinion of that officer or agent, is aged, maimed, disabled, lame, sick, diseased, injured, unfit for the labor it is performing, or cruelly treated, and shall give notice to the owner, if known, or his or her agents, and may provide suitable care.
(b) Every owner or agent, upon conviction, plea of guilty, or plea of nolo contendere, of abandonment, neglect, hazardous accumulation as defined in § 4-1-1, or otherwise cruel treatment of any animal taken charge of by the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals under this section, forfeits the rights to ownership or control of that animal to the Society for disposition in any manner deemed suitable for that animal.
(c) Whenever any officer or agent of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lawfully takes charge of any animal under this section, all reasonable expenses for the care and treatment of the animal(s), while in the custody of the Society during this time, shall be paid for by the owner, guardian, or his or her agent upon conviction, plea of guilty, or plea of nolo contendere. The Society has the authority to commence a civil action for damages against the owner or his or her agent thirty (30) days after a written demand for payment of the expense of the suitable care of that animal has been sent and no payment has been received.
(G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 4; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 4; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 4; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 4; P.L. 1945, ch. 1651, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-22; P.L. 1981, ch. 289, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 197, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 261, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 321, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 439, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 444, § 1.)