To the Editor:
Dogs in Warwick left outside in freezing temperatures. Defenders of Animals and other entities are working on this. There are many elements and considerations involved, including RI state laws, Warwick ordinances, code enforcement, zoning, the Tufts Weatherization Scale, etc.
Despite a state law that may exempt this person, we don't think that existing state laws and Warwick ordinances are being properly utilized.
We are, nonetheless, having legislation reintroduced that will remove certain exemptions.
In 2015, we requested Patricia A. Serpa (D) District 27 in West Warwick, Coventry and Warwick to introduce a bill that would eliminate exemptions regarding the protection of dogs that are tethered during extreme temperatures. The legislation was also co-sponsored by Representatives Handy, Palangio, Shekarchi, and Lima.
House Bill No. 5573 by Reps. Serpa, Handy, Palangio, Shekarchi, Lima – ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO ANIMALS AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY – DOGS (Requires those individuals under an order by an animal control officer to tether or confine dogs, training facilities, licensed hunters and sled dog owners to comply with the provisions of this chapter.)
A section of the legislation was fought by one of the agencies that enforces animal-related laws. If the original bill had passed, there would not have been any exemption for the person that is allowing these dogs to freeze in this weather, and Warwick Animal Control would have been able to take appropriate action.
Rhode Island agencies, elected officials, and individuals must stop making exceptions that put animals in jeopardy. That’s exactly what is happening now with these poor dogs that have been faced with enduring these harsh temperatures.
Director of Defenders of Animals, Inc.