It’s always a good day when we hear that lawmakers have the well-being of our pets in mind!
Legislators in Rhode Island have sent Governor Gina Reymondo a bill that makes responsible dog ownership law.
House bill 5326 proposes using standards for sheltering and feeding set by a safety scale developed at Tufts University. The easy-to-use scale would determine when it would be necessary to get dogs out of the heat. Special consideration is made for dogs who are obese or brachycephalic and would overheat faster than other dogs, and gives some allowance when dogs are given water and shade. (Click here to see the scale.)
Dog owners would be responsible for giving no less than 113 square feet of space for a dog to roam when tethered in a yard, and that dog could not be tied up for more than 10 hours a day; nor could dogs be kenneled for more than 14 hours. Choke collars and prong collars would be made illegal.
The bill would make it necessary to give dogs access to air conditioning and shelter in extreme heat. Heat stroke can be fatal, and this bill would make irresponsible owners think twice about leaving their dogs out in the sort of weather they wouldn’t want to be in, themselves. The scale developed at Tufts University would also be used to determine whether a dog is being well fed or kept in a healthy environment.
First time offenses would only warrant a warning, but after that, irresponsible owners can be slapped with a fine ranging anywhere from $50 to $500 and up to 11 months in prison.
Hopefully this bill will pave the way for other states to think harder about the well-being of their animals, and give pets everywhere a better quality of life.
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