§ 40-9.1-5. Therapy pets in public places.
(a) The privileges of access and transportation provided to service animals in § 40-9.1-2 shall be extended to family therapy pets, which are further defined as primary companions which include, but are not limited to, dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs, that are working in the provision of pet-assisted therapy treatment and education.
(b) The provisions are such that the pet-assisted therapy facilitator is working in conjunction with the therapy pet in a predetermined medical or educational setting, with a selected clientele. The medical interactions are to be individually planned, goal-oriented, and treatment based, and the educational settings are to be classroom based.
(c) Throughout the interactions, the pet-assisted therapy facilitator and the therapy pet will abide by a set code of ethics, and will follow professional guidelines to ensure that the actions and deeds of the pet-assisted therapy facilitator reflect advocacy of profession, pets, and clients, and other professions; while simultaneously ensuring that the interaction of the therapy pet and client remains beneficial and strives to enhance the quality of life through this animal-human bond.
(d) Prior to any interactions, the therapy pet must first meet the immunization criteria, a current certificate of good health, which shall be issued by a licensed, practicing veterinarian; as well as the temperament criteria, a certificate of good temperament, which shall be issued from a certified or practicing dog trainer or animal behaviorist; and training criteria, in which the pet-assisted therapy facilitator and the therapy pet learn to work as a team, learning together to execute safe and effective interaction, which are accepted in the field, specifically other pet-assisted animal facilitators, veterinarians, dog trainers, animal behaviorists, and the state of Rhode Island.
(e) Access and transportation privileges are only extended while the therapy pet is on the way to, or actively participating in, a program.
(f) The animal-assisted therapy facilitator, an individual who has successfully completed, or is in the process of completing, an accepted pet-assisted therapy program, shall be responsible for the control and safety of the pet, which is to include: cleaning up and elimination of wastes; keeping the pet on a proper leash and collar; carrying a smaller animal in a travel crate; adhering to all standard rules, regulations, and laws within both the facility and the state of Rhode Island; and upholding an active insurance policy that will cover an unforeseen mishap and/or accidental occurrence that may result in causing property damage and/or personal injury while actively participating in a program.
(P.L. 2000, ch. 451, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 216, § 22; P.L. 2019, ch. 96, § 1; P.L. 2019, ch. 131, § 1; P.L. 2020, ch. 79, art. 1, § 33.)