Animals and Animal Husbandry
Regulation of Vicious Dogs
R.I. Gen. Laws § 4-13.1-3
§ 4-13.1-3. Requirements for registration.
(a) No dog that has been declared vicious shall be licensed by any city or town for any licensing period commencing after April 1986, unless the owner or keeper of that dog that has been declared vicious meets any or all of the following requirements as may be imposed by the hearing panel:
(1) A panel convened pursuant to § 4-13.1-11 of this chapter and/or a judge of the district court may require the owner or keeper to present to the city or town clerk or other licensing authority proof that the owner or keeper has procured liability insurance in the amount of at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), covering any damage or injury which may be caused by the vicious dog during the twelve (12) month period for which licensing is sought, which policy contains a provision requiring the city or town to be named as additional insured for the sole purpose of the city or town clerk or other licensing authority where that dog is licensed to be notified by the insurance company of any cancellation, termination or expiration of the liability insurance policy.
(2) The owner or keeper shall, at his or her own expense, have the licensing number assigned to the vicious dog, or any other identification number that the city or town clerk or other licensing authority determines, tattooed upon the vicious dog by a licensed veterinarian or person trained as a tattooist and authorized a licensed veterinarian or tattooist by any state, city or town police department. The tattoo shall be placed on the upper inner left rear thigh of the vicious dog. The dog officer may, in his or her discretion, designate the particular location of the tattoo. The licensing number shall be noted on the city or town licensing files for the vicious dog, if it is different from the license number of the vicious dog. For the purposes of this section, tattoo shall be defined as any permanent numbering of a vicious dog by means of indelible or permanent ink with the number designated by the licensing authority, or any other permanent, acceptable method of tattooing. A microchip may be used in lieu of a tattoo. Each city or town shall affix a two (2) letter prefix to the identification number in order to identify the particular city or town where the dog was initially licensed.
(3) The owner or keeper shall display a sign on his or her premises warning that there is a vicious dog on the premises. The sign shall be visible and capable of being read from the public highway.
(4) The owner or keeper shall sign a statement attesting that:
(i) The owner or keeper shall maintain and not voluntarily cancel the liability insurance required by this section during the twelve (12) month period for which licensing is sought, unless the owner or keeper ceases to own or keep the vicious dog prior to expiration of the license.
(ii) The owner or keeper shall have an enclosure for the vicious dog on the property where the vicious dog will be kept or maintained.
(iii) The owner or keeper shall notify the police department or the dog officer within two (2) hours if a vicious dog is on the loose, is unconfined, has attacked another animal or has attacked a human being, or has died.
(5) When the dog is off the owner's property, it shall be on a leash and/or muzzled.
(6) When the dog is outdoors on the owner's property, it must be on a leash and/or muzzled, or tie-out, or in an enclosed area which prevents its escape.
(b) A dog officer is empowered to make whatever inquiry is deemed necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter, and any dog officer is empowered to seize and impound any vicious dog whose owner or keeper fails to comply with this chapter.
(c) In the event that the owner or keeper of the dog refuses to surrender the animal to the dog officer, the dog officer may request a police officer to obtain a search warrant from a justice of the district court and to seize the dog upon execution of the warrant.
(d) A dog must be spayed or neutered unless a licensed veterinarian states in writing that the procedure would threaten the life of the dog.
(e) If an owner or keeper moves, he or she shall notify the dog officer of the city or town in which he/she resides and the dog officer of the city or town in which he or she is to reside.
(f) An owner or keeper may leave a dog under the care and control of someone over the age of sixteen (16) years.
(g) It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper to sell or give away any dog declared vicious.
History of Section.
P.L. 1985, ch. 400, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 429, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 274, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 365, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 374, § 1.