[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Glocester as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 1-9-1970, as amended 10-11-1975 and 9-9-1977 (Ch. II, § 4, 2-04-01, of the 1991 Code). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this article the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
- The person or persons employed by the Town as its enforcement officer and shall include any police officer of said Town.
- ANIMAL SHELTER
- Any premises designated by action of the Town for the purpose of impounding and caring for all dogs found running at large in violation of this article.
- AT LARGE
- Any dog shall be deemed to be at large when it is off the property of its owner and not under restraint as hereinafter defined.
- EXPOSED TO RABIES
- A dog has been exposed to rabies within the meaning of this article if it has been bitten by, or been exposed to, any animal known to have been infected with rabies.
- Any person, group of persons, or corporation owning, keeping or harboring a dog or dogs.
- Any dog is under restraint within the meaning of this article if it is controlled, or at "heel" beside a competent person and obedient to that person's commands, on or within a vehicle being driven or parked on the streets, or within the property limits of its owner or keeper.
- SPAYED FEMALE
- Any bitch which has been operated upon to prevent conception.
The provisions of this article shall be enforced by the Animal Control Officer of the Town of Glocester and any police officer of said Town.
In accordance with R.I.G.L. § 4-13-4, every owner or keeper of a dog shall annually in the month of April cause that dog to be licensed from the first day of the following May. Such license shall be obtained in the Town Clerk's office for a fee as set from time to time by the Town Council. Any person who becomes the owner or keeper of a dog shall obtain for such dog a license as provided above within 30 days of becoming the owner or keeper of the dog. No license shall be issued by the Town unless the dog has been inoculated against rabies for the period during which the license would be valid.
Any dog or dogs described in §§ 139-7 and 139-11 hereof shall be taken up by the Animal Control Officer and impounded in the shelter designated as the Town Animal Shelter. Dogs not claimed by their owners before the expiration of seven days may be disposed of at the discretion of the Animal Control Officer, except as hereinafter provided in the cases of certain dogs.
The Animal Control Officer may transfer title to any dog held at the animal shelter to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and/or the Animal Rescue League after the legal detention period has expired and such dog has not been claimed by its owner.
Immediately upon impounding dogs, the Animal Control Officer shall make every possible reasonable effort to notify the owners of such dogs so impounded, and inform such owners of the conditions whereby they may regain custody of such dogs.
Any dog found running at large within the Town limits may be impounded or disposed of according to law when such action is required either to protect the dog or to protect the residents of the Town.
The owner shall be entitled to regain possession of any impounded dog, except as hereinafter provided in the cases of certain dogs, upon the payment of impoundment fees set forth in Chapter 368, Fees. (Proof of ownership might include a license receipt, affidavits of neighbors, a photograph, etc.)
Any dog impounded under the provisions of this article and not reclaimed by its owner within seven days may be humanely destroyed by the Animal Control Officer, have its title transferred to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and/or the Animal Rescue League as provided for in § 139-4B, or placed in the custody of some person deemed to be a responsible and suitable owner, who will agree to comply with the provisions of this article and such other regulations as shall be fixed by the Town of Glocester; provided, however, that if the animal is one as to which the respective rights of the owner and the person in possession or custody are determined by state law, such law shall be complied with. Under no circumstances shall the ownership of any dog be transferred to any person, agency or group engaged in animal research or vivisection.
Definition. A vicious dog is:
Any dog which, when unprovoked, approaches any person in a vicious or terrorizing manner in an apparent attitude of attack upon the streets, sidewalks, or in any public place; or
Any dog with a known propensity or tendency to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or otherwise endanger human beings or domestic animals; or
Any dog which bites, inflicts injury, assaults or otherwise attacks a human being or domestic animal without provocation on public or private property; or
Any dog owned or kept primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or any dog trained for dog fighting.
No dog may be declared vicious if it injures or damages a person who, at the time of injury or damage, was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon premises owned or occupied by the owner or keeper of the dog, or was teasing, tormenting or assaulting the dog or was attempting to commit a crime. No dog may be declared vicious if the dog was protecting a human being within the immediate vicinity of the dog from an unjustified attack or assault.
Hearing. If the Animal Control Officer or a Town law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a dog is vicious, the Animal Control Officer or the Chief of Police, or his/her designee, may convene a hearing to determine whether or not the dog should be declared vicious.
The Animal Control Officer or Chief of Police shall conduct or cause to be conducted an investigation and shall notify the owner or keeper of the dog that a hearing is to be held. The owner or keeper shall have the opportunity to present evidence at the hearing as to why the dog should not be declared vicious. The hearing shall be informal and open to the public, and shall be held not less than five nor more than 10 days after service of notice upon the owner or keeper of the dog. The hearing shall be conducted by a panel of three persons, including the Chief of Police or his or her designee, the executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) or his or her designee, and a third person chosen by the Chief of Police and the executive director of the SPCA. The owner or keeper shall be notified in writing of the results of the hearing. The owner or keeper of a dog declared vicious as herein provided shall, in accordance with a schedule established by the Animal Control Officer or Chief of Police (but in no case more than 30 days after the determination), comply with the provisions of Chapter 13.1, Title 4 of the Rhode Island General Laws, pertaining to the regulation of vicious dogs and providing for special registration, fines and liability insurance for such dogs. An owner or keeper wishing to contest a declaration of viciousness may petition for a hearing de novo in district court as provided in R.I.G.L. § 14-13.1-12.
If the Animal Control Officer or a Town law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a dog is vicious, the dog may be impounded pending the outcome of a hearing as provided herein.
The owner shall confine within a building or secure enclosure every fierce, dangerous, or vicious dog, as defined in § 139-6A herein, and shall not take such dog out of such building or secure enclosure unless such dog is securely muzzled.
Every female dog in heat shall be kept confined until no longer in heat in a building or secure enclosure, or in a veterinary hospital or boarding kennel, in such a manner that such female dog or other animals cannot come in contact with another dog or animal, except for intentional breeding purposes.
Any dog described in the foregoing subsections of this section, found at large, shall be impounded by the Animal Control Officer and may not be reclaimed by owners, unless such reclamation be authorized by any court having jurisdiction.
Every dog shall be inoculated for rabies prior to licensing as required under R.I.G.L. § 4-13-4.
Every dog which bites a person shall be promptly reported to the Animal Control Officer, and shall thereupon be securely quarantined at the direction of the Animal Control Officer for a period of 14 days and shall not be released from such quarantine except by written permission of the Animal Control Officer. At the discretion of the Animal Control Officer, such quarantine may be on the premises of the owner, at the shelter designated as the animal shelter or, at the owner's option and expense, in a veterinary hospital of his/her choice. In the case of stray animals, or in the cases of animals whose ownership is not known, such quarantine shall be at the shelter designated by the Animal Control Officer.
The owner, upon demand by the Animal Control Officer, shall forthwith surrender any animal which has bitten a human, or which is suspected of having been exposed to rabies, for supervised quarantine, or, at the discretion of the Animal Control Officer or the Chief of Police, for the determination of whether the dog may be declared vicious under § 139-6 of this article, the expense of which shall be borne by the owner. Said animal may be reclaimed by the owner if it is adjudged free of rabies, upon payment of fees set forth in Chapter 368, Fees.
When rabies has been diagnosed in an animal under quarantine or rabies is suspected by a licensed veterinarian, and the animal dies while under such observation, the Animal Control Officer shall immediately send the head of such animal to the State Health Department for pathological examination, and shall notify the proper public health office of reports of human contacts and the diagnosis.
Any person, including the Animal Control Officer, licensed veterinarian, and all Town officials, shall notify the State Director of Health immediately upon detection of rabies in any animal.
No person shall kill, or cause to be killed, any rabid animal, any animal suspected of having been exposed to rabies, or any animal biting a human, except as herein provided, nor remove from the Town limits without written permission from the Animal Control Officer.
The carcass of any dead animal exposed to rabies shall, upon demand, be surrendered to the Animal Control Officer.
The Animal Control Officer shall direct the disposition of any animal found to be infected with rabies.
No person shall fail or refuse to surrender any animal for quarantine or destruction as required herein when demand is made therefor by the Animal Control Officer.
It shall be the duty of every physician or other medical practitioner to report to the Animal Control Officer or the Police Department the names and addresses of persons treated for bites inflicted by animals, together with such other information as will be helpful in rabies control.
It shall be the duty of every licensed veterinarian to report to the Animal Control Officer any animal considered by him/her to be a rabies suspect.
The keeping or harboring of any dog, whether licensed or not, which by habitual howling, yelping, barking or other noise disturbs or annoys any considerable number of persons or neighborhood is unlawful, and is hereby declared to be a public nuisance, and each day that the offense continues shall constitute a separate offense. Notwithstanding other provisions herein, the penalty for violation of this article shall be as indicated in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II, Penalties. If said dog is impounded under Subsection B below, the Animal Control Officer shall retain said animal until the owner demonstrates that he/she has taken or will take measures, such as construction of an opaque fenced-in enclosure, use of a muzzle or other device, or other action recommended by said Animal Control Officer which will abate the howling, yelping, barking or other noise.
It shall be unlawful to allow or permit any dog to trespass on private or public property so as to damage or destroy any property or thing of value, and the same is hereby declared to be a nuisance, and any such animal may be impounded by the Animal Control Officer. Whenever it shall be affirmed in writing by three or more residents, or persons regularly employed in the neighborhood, that any animal is an habitual nuisance by damage to property, being vicious or by its actions potentially vicious or in any other manner causing undue annoyance, the Animal Control Officer, if he/she finds such nuisance to exist, shall serve notice upon the owner or custodian that such nuisance must be abated. In the event said nuisance and/or annoyance is not thereupon abated, the Animal Control Officer shall impound said animal.
No dogs are allowed in school yards or on school property whether at large or under restraint, seeing-eye dogs, so-called, excepted.
It shall be unlawful to keep more than three dogs at the same residence, except as permitted by special exception to the Chapter 350, Zoning. This provision shall not apply to licensed kennels.
All complaints made under the provisions of this article shall be made to the Animal Control Officer and may be made orally; provided, however, that such complaint shall be, within 48 hours, reduced to writing and shall be signed by the complainant showing his/her address and telephone number, if any.
In the discharge of the duties imposed by this article, the Animal Control Officer or any police officer of this Town shall have the authority at all reasonable times to enter upon any premises (but such authority should not include the right to enter any residence on such premises) to examine a dog or other animal which is allegedly in violation of a provision of this article. Such officer shall have the further authority to take possession of any such dog or other animal and remove it from 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/her duties, or seek to release any animal in the custody of the Animal Control Officer or any police officer, except as herein provided.
It shall be the duty of the Animal Control Officer to keep, or cause to be kept, accurate and detailed records of the impoundment and disposition of all animals coming into its custody.
It shall be the duty of the Animal Control Officer to keep, or cause to be kept, accurate and detailed records of all bite cases reported to him/her and his/her investigation of the same.
Except as otherwise provided herein, any person convicted of violating any provision of this article may be punished as provided in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II, Penalties. If such violation be continued, each day's violation may constitute a separate offense as provided therein.
[Adopted 6-16-1994, effective 7-14-1994 (Ch. II, § 4, 2-04-02, of the 1991 Code)]
No releasing agency shall release, sell, trade, give away, exchange, adopt out, or otherwise transfer, with or without a fee, any dog or cat that has not been spayed or neutered unless the adopting party executes a written agreement with the releasing agency to have the dog or cat spayed or neutered within 30 days of the adoption date or within 30 days from the date that the dog or cat reaches sexual maturity, with the cost of such spaying or neutering to be the responsibility of the adopting party. The written agreement must include the dog's or cat's age, sex, and general description; the date of adoption and the date by which the dog or cat must be spayed or neutered; the adopting party's name, address, phone number, and signature; the releasing agency's name, address, phone number, and the dollar amount of the deposit remitted. In addition to executing the written agreement the adopting party must leave with the releasing agency a deposit as set from time to time by the Town Council. The amount of the deposit shall be determined by the releasing agency. Said deposit will be refunded by the releasing agency to the adopting party upon presentation of a written statement or receipt from a licensed veterinarian of the adopting party's choice where the dog or cat was spayed or neutered, provided that the spaying or neutering was performed within the thirty-day period. Alternatively, the releasing agency shall make appropriate arrangements for the spaying or neutering of the dog or cat by a licensed veterinarian and have the surgery completed before releasing the dog or cat to the adopting party.
The following are exemptions from the provisions of Subsection A:
A releasing agency returns a stray dog or cat to its owner;
A releasing agency receives a written report from a licensed veterinarian stating that the life of the dog or cat would be jeopardized by the surgery and that such health condition is likely to be permanent;
A releasing agency receives a written report from a licensed veterinarian stating that there is a temporary health condition, including sexual immaturity, which would make surgery life threatening to the dog or cat or impracticable, in which instance the releasing agency shall grant the adopting party an appropriate extension of time in which to have the dog or cat spayed or neutered based on the veterinarian's report.
The exemptions provided in Subsection B(1)(b) and (c) above shall only be applicable if the releasing agency receives said written report from a licensed veterinarian within the thirty-day period during which the spaying or neutering would otherwise be required, or in the case of a report contemplated by Subsection B(1)(b) above, said report may be provided to the releasing agency during any temporary extension period provided by Subsection B(1)(c) above if the health condition of the dog or cat has changed.
If requested to do so, a releasing agency shall refund deposited funds to the adopting party upon reasonable proof being presented to the releasing agency by the adopting party that the dog or cat died before the expiration of the period during which the spaying or neutering was required to be completed.
Deposits required by § 139-17 which are unclaimed after 60 days from the date of adoption or 60 days from when the dog or cat reaches sexual maturity, whichever is later, will be forfeited by the adopting party and retained by the releasing agency and shall be used for the following purposes:
A public education program to prevent overpopulation in dogs and cats;
A program to spay and neuter dogs and cats that are available for adoption by the releasing agency;
A follow-up program to assure that dogs and cats adopted from the releasing agency are spayed or neutered; and
Violations by adopting party.
Violations of the provisions of § 139-17 or the written agreement executed pursuant thereto by an adopting party shall be punishable as indicated in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II, Penalties. Each and every incidence of noncompliance by an adopting party which continues unremedied for 30 days after written notice of a violation hereunder shall constitute a subsequent offense and the attendant penalties will apply. Second and subsequent offenses may constitute grounds for seizure and forfeiture of the dog or cat, which seizure will be conducted by the Animal Control Officer or a police officer for the town in which the adopting party resides, and the seized animal will be returned to the releasing agency from which it was adopted, which releasing agency will be free to adopt out or euthanize the seized dog or cat. The adopting party shall lose all ownership rights in the seized dog or cat, shall forfeit all rights to any fee or deposit paid for the dog or cat, and shall have no claim against the releasing agency or any other person for any expenses incurred by the adopting party for the dog's or cat's maintenance.
Violations of the provisions of § 139-17 or 139-18 by a releasing agency shall be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II, Penalties. The third and subsequent offenses may result in the temporary or permanent revocation of the releasing agency's license to operate. Compliance by the releasing agency with the provisions of §§ 139-17 through 139-19 will be monitored as to the releasing agencies by the State Veterinarian.
All fines collected under Subsection A will be remitted to the Town Clerk of Glocester where the adopting party of the dog or cat resides. Such fines shall be used by the Town only for enforcing animal control laws or ordinances or for programs to reduce the population of unwanted stray dogs and cats in the Town, including humane education programs or programs for the spaying or neutering of dogs or cats. All fines collected under Subsection B will be remitted to the Finance Director and placed in a separate fund within the general fund to be called the "Animal Health Fund," which shall be administered by the Finance Director in the same manner as the general fund. All funds deposited in the Animal Health Fund shall be made available to the Department of Environmental Management Division of Agriculture to defray any costs or expenses incurred by the State Veterinarian in the enforcement of §§ 139-17, 139-18 and 139-19.