Ruggerio gets 'Humane Hero Award' from Defenders of Animals

Ruggerio gets 'Humane Hero Award' from Defenders of Animals

PROVIDENCE - Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio has been presented with the Humane Hero Award by Defenders of Animals.

Ruggerio, of Senate District 4 in Providence and North Providence, was recognized for sponsoring and working for passage of several pieces of legislation of importance to Defenders of Animals, including an animal confinement bill that became law this year and which led to several recent arrests in Johnston.

The new law resulting from Ruggerio's bill makes it a misdemeanor for any person to confine any animal in a vehicle which places the animal in a life-threatening or extreme health-threatening situation by exposing the animal to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold, without proper ventilation or other protection from the extreme temperature.

Under the new law, which was signed into effect by Gov. Lincoln Chafee on July 1, any animal control officer, law enforcement officer or firefighter who has probable cause to believe the law is being violated will have the authority to enter a motor vehicle by any reasonable means necessary. The misdemeanor charge carries a punishment of imprisonment as long as one year, a fine of as much as $1,000, or both. The owner of the animal is also responsible for paying for all charges resulting from the care, medical treatment and impoundment of the animal at the agency where the animal is taken by the rescuing official.

Defenders of Animals also honored Johnston police for rescuing two dogs last month under the new animal confinement law.

Ruggerio was recognized for several other pieces of animal safety/protection legislation he has sponsored in recent years that have become law. Among them are laws that set penalties for requiring the devocalization of dogs and cats as a condition of occupancy, that prohibit the unlawful confinement of calves raised for veal or sows during gestation, and that prohibit the docking of the tails of bovines.