Rhode Island Legislation Allows Shelters to Sue Dog Owners for “Cost of Care”

A hearing on a “cost of care” bill that would cancel due process for dog owners is up for a hearing tomorrow – June 9th, 2022 – in the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee.  This legislation would force innocent dog owners to pay for the cost of care of their dogs held during an animal cruelty investigation. Current law requires a person found guilty to pay for all costs associated with keeping and caring for dogs that are seized as part of an investigation into animal abuse. House Bill 8303 would force anyone charged to pay these costs, even if they are never convicted.

This measure provides an incentive for the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) to seize animals because they will get paid regardless of whether or not the charges are actually proven in court. Worse, RISPCA would get to determine what the costs for care actually are. The bill also allows RISPCA to sue dog owners to recover the costs of care. People unable to pay for the costs of care would lose their dogs.

“HB 8303 denies dog owners due process by forcing them to pay fines, under the guise of animal welfare even before their case goes to trial,” said Todd Adkins, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “We believe that shelters should get reimbursed for costs associated with bringing an actual animal abuser to justice, but like all Americans, dog owners are entitled to the presumption of innocence.”

Take Action!

Sportsmen need to make their voices heard by contacting their Representatives and the members of the House Judiciary Committee to voice their opposition to this extreme legislation. Emails should be sent to:

Chairman Robert E. Craven: rep-craven@rilegislature.gov

Vice-Chair Jason Knight: rep-knight@rilegislature.gov

Representative Carol Hagan McEntee: rep-mcentee@rilegislature.gov

Representative Edith H. Ajello: rep-ajello@rilegislature.gov

Representative Jose Batista: rep-batista@rilegislature.gov

Representative David A. Bennett: rep-bennett@rilegislature.gov

Representative Justine Caldwell: rep-caldwell@rilegislature.gov

Representative Julie Casimiro: rep-casimiro@rilegislature.gov

Representative Arthur J. Corvese: rep-corvese@rilegislature.gov

Representative Leonela Felix: rep-felix@rilegislature.gov

Representative John J. Lombardi: rep-lombardi@rilegislature.gov

Representative Thomas Noret: rep-noret@rilegislature.gov

Representative David Place: Rep-place@rilegislature.gov

Representative Sherry Roberts: rep-roberts@rilegislature.gov

Representative Camille Vella Wilkinson: rep-vella-wilkinson@rilegislature.gov

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: OnlineFacebookTwitter and Instagram.