Solomon bill prohibits keeping dogs outside in extreme temperatures

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The House of Representatives has passed legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) that would regulate the treatment of dogs kept outside in extreme temperatures. The measure now heads to the Senate.

The bill (2017-H 5326) would make it a violation to keep any dog outside when the ambient temperature is beyond the industry standard for the weather safety scale as set forth in the most recent adopted version of the Tufts Animal Care and Condition Weather Safety Scale if the dog is showing signs of poor health due to the weather conditions.

The Tufts Safety Scale, developed at Tufts University, was designed to help animal control officers, cruelty investigators, veterinarians, and others more accurately determine the condition of a potentially neglected dog.

“It is important,” said Solomon, “not only to help protect defenseless dogs, but to make certain that those who mistreat them face serious consequences.”

The bill would amend an existing law that sets the minimum length of a tether and prohibits the use of a choke collar or prong collar, and makes it a violation to keep a dog tethered for more than 10 hours in a 24-hour period.

Individuals violating the provision would be given a warning for a first violation. Second or subsequent violations would carry a fine of between $50 and $500 and imprisonment for up to 11 months.

The bill is the latest in a series of animal protection laws passed by the General Assembly that seeks to give greater protection to animals. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has ranked Rhode Island the 5th best state in the nation in its 2016 U.S. Animal Protection Laws Ranking Report, which surveys animal protection laws of all U.S. states and territories.

In recognition of his legislative efforts, Solomon received the Humane Heroes Award from Defenders of Animals in 2015.

The legislation is cosponsored by House Majority Whip John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth) and Representatives William W. OBrien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence), Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) and Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick).

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