Town of Coventry, RI
Kent County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
Any person employed by the Town to enforce this chapter, and any police officer of the Town.
AT LARGE
A dog will be deemed at large when not under restraint.
EXPOSED TO RABIES
A dog or other animal has been exposed to rabies if it has been bitten by or been exposed to any animal known to have been infected with rabies.
KENNEL
Any place used for the commercial business of breeding, buying, selling or boarding dogs.
OWNER
Any person owning, keeping or harboring a dog or other animal mentioned in this chapter.
POUND
Any premises designated by action of the Town for the purpose of impounding and caring for animals under the provisions of this chapter.
UNDER RESTRAINT
A dog is under restraint when it is:
A. 
Leashed.
B. 
On its owner's premises, accompanied by a competent person and obedient to that person's command.
C. 
Within its owner's residence.
D. 
Within an enclosure suitable to prevent escape.
E. 
Within a motor vehicle.
F. 
Under direct supervision of a competent person and obedient to that person's command while:
(1) 
Lawfully hunting.
(2) 
Engaged in obedience training.
(3) 
Engaged in hunting training.
(4) 
Engaged in a formal dog show.
(5) 
Engaged in formally sanctioned field trials.
[Amended 3-10-2008 by Ord. No. 01-08-267]
Notwithstanding any ordinances to the contrary, violations of this chapter, excepting those violations set forth in R.I.G.L. § 4-13.1-1 et seq. for which the General Assembly has provided mandatory penalties, shall be punishable in accordance with Chapter 1, General Provisions, § 1-2, of the Code of the Town of Coventry. Where the penalty is not provided for within this chapter the violation shall be punishable in accordance with § 1-2, excepting those violations that would fall under § 4-13-1 of the General Laws of the State of Rhode Island and those violations found in § 97-13 of this chapter.
A. 
Hospitals, clinics and other premises operated by licensed veterinarians for the care and treatment of animals are exempt from the provisions of this chapter, except where expressly stated.
B. 
The licensing and vaccination requirements of this chapter shall not apply to any dog belonging to a nonresident of the Town and kept within the Town for not longer than 30 days, provided that all such dogs shall at all times while in the Town be kept within a building, enclosure or vehicle, or be under restraint by the owner.
The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by any animal control officer and any police officer of the Town.
A. 
In the discharge of the duties imposed by this chapter, the Animal Control Officer or any police officer of this Town shall have the authority, at all reasonable times, to enter upon any premises to examine a dog or other animal which is allegedly in violation of a provision of this chapter. Such officer shall have the further authority to take possession of any such dog or other animal and remove it from such premises.
B. 
The authority to enter upon a premises granted by Subsection A of this section shall not include the right to enter any residence on such premises.
No person shall interfere with, hinder or molest the Animal Control Officer or any police officer of this Town in the performance of his duties under this chapter or seek to release any animal from the custody of the Animal Control Officer or any police officer, except as otherwise specifically provided.
All complaints made under the provisions of this chapter shall be made to the Animal Control Officer and may be made orally; provided, however, that, within 48 hours, such complaint shall be reduced to writing on forms provided by the Animal Control Officer and shall be signed by the complainant, showing his address and telephone number, if any.
[Amended 12-19-1994 by Ord. No. 2-94-0195; 3-10-2008 by Ord. No. 01-08-267; 5-13-2013 by Ord. No. 06-13-290]
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to allow or permit any animal to trespass on private or public property so as to damage or destroy any property or thing of value and such trespass is hereby declared to be a nuisance.
B. 
The keeping or harboring of any dog or other animal or fowl, whether licensed or not, which habitually howls, yelps, barks, or causes noises, which habitual howling, yelping, barking or causing noises is affirmed by persons in the neighborhood as provided in Subsection C of this section, is unlawful and is hereby declared to be a public nuisance. Each day that such condition continues shall constitute a separate offense.
C. 
Whenever it shall be affirmed in writing by any two persons having separate residence or regularly employed in the neighborhood or if the Animal Control Officer, the police or the Animal Control Officer's assistants determine, in their judgment, that any animal is a habitual nuisance by reason of trespassing, howling, barking or other noise or by damaging property, the Animal Control Officer, the police and assistants shall have the authority to issue violations and/or impound said animal and/or serve notice upon the owner or custodian that such nuisances must be abated.
D. 
As used herein, the term "house lot" means one or more parcels of land which are contiguous and are under the same ownership according to the records of the Coventry Tax Assessor and which are zoned residential or are residential as a legal nonconforming use pursuant to the Zoning Ordinance.
E. 
No person shall keep any livestock or farm animals, to include chicken hens and fowl, unless they comply with the following restrictions/conditions:
(1) 
The fenced outdoor enclosure must adequately contain the aforementioned farm animals.
(2) 
The fenced outdoor enclosure must be kept clean, sanitary and have proper food, water and shelter.
(3) 
Any violations of Subsection E(2) will be investigated by the Town of Coventry Animal Control Division. The Animal Control Division will prosecute violators when necessary.
F. 
The penalty for violating the provisions of this section shall be that as prescribed under R.I.G.L. § 4-13-1 of the General Laws of Rhode Island, as from time to time amended.
A. 
The owner shall confine within a building or secure enclosure every fierce, dangerous or vicious dog or other animal, and shall not take such dog or other animal out of such building or secure enclosure unless such dog is securely muzzled and such other animal is provided with a similar device for ensuring the safety of the public.
B. 
Every female dog or other animal, when in heat, shall be kept confined in a building or secure enclosure or in a veterinary hospital or boarding kennel in such a manner that such animal cannot come in contact with another animal, except for intentional breeding purposes.
No wild animals may be kept within the Town limits, except under such conditions as shall be fixed by the Animal Control Officer; provided, however, that wild animals may be kept for exhibition purposes by circuses, zoos and educational institutions in accordance with such regulations as shall be established by the Animal Control Officer. Any wild animal which escapes and is found at large may be destroyed by the Animal Control Officer or any police officer of the Town.
[Amended 8-23-1993 by Ord. No. 4-93-0189]
A. 
Every owner or keeper of a dog who resides in the Town shall, annually, in the month of April, cause such dog to be licensed from the first day of the ensuing May in the office of the Town Clerk and shall pay to the Town Clerk for the license so issued fees as set forth in Chapter 122, Fees. All licenses issued under this section shall be valid during the then-current year, provided that any person who becomes the owner or keeper of a dog shall cause the dog to be licensed as provided in this section within 30 days after such person becomes such owner or keeper.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
B. 
Every owner or keeper of any dog found to be in violation of this section shall be fined in a manner prescribed by R.I.G.L. § 4-13.1-9.
[Amended 8-23-1993 by Ord. No. 4-93-0189]
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep more than three licensed dogs at the same residence, except as permitted by the Animal Control Officer. This provision shall not apply to licensed kennels.
B. 
Should the number of cats/ferrets in a residence be deemed to be unsafe, unsanitary or unhealthy to the residents or animals by the Department of Health, Human Services, or equivalent authority, then the Animal Control Officer will cite the responsible party or parties and remove the animals.
C. 
Any person found in violation of either Subsection A or Subsection B shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $100.
D. 
The Animal Control Officer has the obligation to notify the residents of his or her intent to enter the property to determine the ownership or caretaker of an animal. If the resident is not at home, proper notification is left that the Animal Control Officer was there and what was accomplished.
[Amended 3-10-2008 by Ord. No. 01-08-267]
A. 
The owner of any dog shall keep such dog under restraint at all times and shall not permit such dog to be at large within the Town.
B. 
Whenever it shall be affirmed in writing by any two persons having separate residence or regularly employed in the neighborhood or if the Animal Control Officer, the police or the Animal Control Officer's assistants determine, in their judgment, that any animal is being vicious or, by its actions, potentially vicious or if the animal displays vicious actions, such as biting or attacking a human or any animal, the Animal Control Officer, the police and the Animal Control Officer's assistants shall have the authority to issue violations and/or impound said animal and/or service notice upon the owner or custodian that such vicious action must be abated.
C. 
It is unlawful for any owner of a dog to place that dog or allow it to be placed in the custody of any other person not physically capable of maintaining effective control of restricting the dog.
D. 
The penalty for violating this the provisions of this section shall be a fine not exceeding $250.
[Amended 3-10-2008 by Ord. No. 01-08-267]
A. 
No dog shall be allowed in any schoolyard or on any school property, whether such dog is at large or under restraint.
B. 
No dog shall be allowed in any store or eating place within the Town, whether such dog is at large or under restraint.
C. 
This section shall not apply to a Seeing Eye dog accompanying a blind or disabled person.
D. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to allow his/her dog to defecate on public or private property other than that of the owner of the dog without immediately cleaning and removing the feces.
E. 
The penalty for violating the provisions of this section shall be that as prescribed under § 4-13-1 of the General Laws of Rhode Island, as from time to time amended.
[Added 9-8-2003 by Ord. No. 4-03-0238]
Dogs, cats and domesticated animals shall be destroyed by lethal injection by a licensed veterinarian if it has been determined by the Animal Control Officer and/or said veterinarian that it is in the best interest of the animal.
[Added 3-10-2008 by Ord. No. 01-08-267]
A. 
There is hereby created an Animal Care Fund for the purpose of facilitating adoption of animals under the care and custody of the Animal Control Office within the Town of Coventry.
B. 
This fund shall be kept as a separate fund for the sole purpose of providing medical care and vaccinations for injured and/or sick adoptable animals.
C. 
The funds shall be administered under the direction of the Animal Control Supervisor.
D. 
The Animal Control Office shall be responsible for maintaining records of funds expended for this purpose, including but not limited to the description of the animal, the care given and the amount expended all on forms provided by the Finance Department of the Town of Coventry.
E. 
There shall be an assessment equal to 10% of every fine imposed for violations of this chapter for the purpose of funding and maintaining the Animal Care Fund.
[Added 7-14-2014 by Ord. No. 04-14-298]
A. 
No owner or person shall confine any animal in a motor vehicle in such a manner that places it in a life or health threatening situation by exposure to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold, without proper ventilation or other protection from such heat or cold. In order to protect the health and safety of an animal, an animal control officer or law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that this section is being violated shall have authority to enter such motor vehicle by any reasonable means under the circumstances after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person responsible.
B. 
A law enforcement officer or animal control officer may take all steps that are reasonably necessary to remove an animal from a motor vehicle if the animal's safety, health or well-being appears to be in immediate danger from heat, cold or lack of adequate ventilation and the conditions could reasonably be expected to cause extreme suffering or death. Nothing in the section shall prevent a law enforcement officer or animal control officer from removing an animal from a motor vehicle if the animal's safety appears to be in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of ventilation, lack of food, water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.
C. 
A law enforcement officer or animal control officer who removes an animal in accordance with this section shall, in a secure and conspicuous location on or within the motor vehicle, leave written notice bearing the officer's or agent's name and office and the address of the location where the animal may be claimed. The owner may claim the animal only after payment of all charges that have accrued for the maintenance, care, medical treatment and impoundment of the animal.
D. 
A law enforcement officer or animal control officer who removes an animal from a motor vehicle pursuant to this section is immune from criminal or civil liability that might otherwise result from removal.
E. 
Any person who knowingly violates this section shall be subject to the penalties in Section 18.14 of the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Coventry.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Chapter C, Home Rule Charter, Section 18.14.