A law to protect dogs from being tethered outside in the cold


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.

Dennis Tabella

Director of Defenders of Animals, Inc.


5 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

Mr. Tabella this is truly one of the most intelligent letters I have ever read or written. It is people like you who make an old cynic like myself believe that there is still some good left in humanity. If I can help in this matter in any way please let me know. I will ck the comments in case you respond to my request.

Friday, January 5, 2018

But yet the dog was not freezing. The RISPCA agent said so. So this is all about appearances and the human's emotions, not reality. The dog house had hay in it but the dog was outside on the snow. Obviously not freezing. Human's were upset because they didn't like the appearance. Yikes.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Although I can commend you on your proactive approach to change laws regarding animals, but I think you jumped the gun (I read your organization was the supporter to give it to Serpa). I read the bill that was submitted and unfortunately you missed the mark completely. In the bill, you only took out the hunting dog exemption, but did not take into consideration other sections of the law that needed modifying to make sense. So now that Serpa's bill is poorly done, we wait. It's frustrating to hear that a bill was hastily put on the calendar and had one paragraph taken out, when a lot of that Statute needed to be addressed.

I have a question, did anyone speak with people who work in this field? Ask them what do they deal with? How can the bill be made better? I do hope that in the future, whoever is supporting the bill is asking the correct people. You don't go to a mechanic when your roof is leaking...

It's hard enough to get Legislators to understand animal issues, I don't think it's good to have animal advocates making it harder either.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

jcervone - reading Dennis's letter sounds very convincing but, his organization supported a bill that ONLY took out the dog exemption, nothing else. Nothing was added like weather watches, warnings, states of emergency, etc. The definition of shelter was never modified either. The definition of shelter is poorly written and allows anyone to place a dog in a shelter that does not have a criteria, it didn't address tethering either. I can understand Dennis's reason for wanting to get the bill in, but it lacks any follow up, with information for a better understanding, with any persons who work in this field. It is frustrating to say the least that now reading the bill and being completed irritated that now we wait for the process to take it's course. If the bill is not withdrawn, we wait till it's done and maybe get to put a much better written bill put in next session. The people who work in this field are extremely frustrated by this. We are all advocates for animals in one way or another. It's hard enough to convince people that the bills submitted gets through.

Hopefully in the future Dennis will obtain information before giving it to anyone, we can only wait and see.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

How about a law of not endangering an animal? I say this from experience.

My last dog I had for 18 years before she passed was a Husky mix. You wouldn't have noticed the "mix" she looked and acted all Husky. When it snowed she was in her glory rolling, jumping and chasing snowballs. It was actually difficult to convince her it was time to go back in. Summer was a different scenario. She didn't like the heat at all when the temps hit the 90's it was out, do business in.

My current dog is a Boxer/Lab mix. He's content in all weather, but since this is about cold I will mention that when hiking in below freezing temps he will go swimming when he finds water. Gives me a chill thinking about it.

So just cause a dog is in the cold doesn't mean it's cold.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018