Law on tethering dogs needs clarification
To the Editor:
This commentary hopes to shed some light on two current animal cruelty cases, one in Warwick and one in Exeter that has evoked the emotions of our citizens as well as ours.
The case in Warwick has been going on for years and involves the housing of six dogs. There are presently 6 shorthaired dogs that in our opinion are inappropriately housed and are alleged to be trained as boar hunting dogs. RIGL 4-13-42 states otherwise. This law exempts licensed hunting dogs, field trial participants, or any person raising or training a gun dog or hunting dog, provided that the licensed hunter or field trial hunt test participant is actively engaged in hunting, training, or field trial hunt testing or transporting the dog to or from an event from this law.
The wording of this law allows these dogs to be tethered more than 10 hours outside regardless of the weather conditions. The owner, Mr. Dennis claims that the dogs have to acclimate at least 6-8- hours per day to adverse weather conditions when in the same breath states they are trained for boar hunting in the south. His logic seems to be problematic. The law is most definitely flawed and needs to be addressed by our representatives.
The RISPCA is a private non-profit law enforcement humane agency and one of its functions mandated by the General Assembly pertaining to animal cruelty is to enforce the law as written and not take the law into its own hands and charge a person who does not violate the law. The RISPCA does not condone the housing of these dogs nor the training of any dog to inflict injury to other animals. It is quite obvious that provisions in the law must be made to ensure that the well being of these animals must be protected when adverse weather condition become detrimental their safety. I urge people to voice their concerns to their elected officials who make these laws and express their discontent to them. We can then do our job and enforce the law. To make it clear, Mr. Dennis was not violating the law as it is written despite our disagreement. The RISPCA is not a state agency.
The case in Exeter involves close to 100 animals living in squalid conditions with some dead animals found on the premise and puppies as young as 7 weeks old. The unsanitary conditions these animals lived in were totally in violation of the law as was the housing. We confiscated 24 dogs and Mr. Carlos Allves was arrested and charged with animal cruelty. We were able to enforce the law in this case because it was breached.
Alone there is little we can do; together there is nothing we cannot do.
EJ Finocchio, D.V.M.