§ 4-1-3. Unnecessary cruelty.
(a) Every owner, possessor, or person having the charge or custody of any animal, who cruelly drives or works that animal when unfit for labor, or cruelly abandons that animal, or who carries that animal or who fails to provide that animal with adequate living conditions as defined in § 4-1-1, or who engages in the hazardous accumulation of animals as defined in § 4-1-1, or causes that animal, to be carried, in or upon any vehicle or otherwise, in a cruel or inhuman manner; or willfully, intentionally, maliciously, recklessly, and/or knowingly authorizes or permits that animal to be subjected to unnecessary torture, suffering, or cruelty of any kind; or who places, or causes to have placed, on any animal any substance that may produce irritation or pain or that is declared a hazardous substance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or by the state department of health, shall be punished for each offense in the manner provided in § 4-1-2. 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. If any owner, possessor, or person having the charge or custody of any animal is found guilty of or pleads nolo contendere to a violation of this section and said violation involves the hazardous accumulation of animals, the court shall, in imposing a penalty under this section, take into account whether the defendant's conduct could be considered to be the result of a mental health disorder as defined in § 27-38.2-2.
(b) The substances proscribed by subsection (a) do not include any drug having curative and therapeutic effect for disease in animals and that is prepared and intended for veterinary use.
(c) University, college, or hospital research facilities licensed and/or inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the U.S. Public Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services shall be exempt from the provisions of subsection (a) provided that they are in good standing with the federal agency responsible for licensing or assurance of the facility.
(G.L. 1896, ch. 114, § 2; G.L. 1909, ch. 138, § 2; G.L. 1923, ch. 141, § 2; G.L. 1938, ch. 640, § 2; G.L. 1956, § 4-1-3; P.L. 1973, ch. 114, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 180, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 232, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 455, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 458, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 439, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 444, § 1.)