Tabella: DEM and RISPCA have no business jeopardizing Fourth Amendment

Tabella: DEM and RISPCA have no business jeopardizing Fourth Amendment

Imagine the R.I. state veterinarian and the RISPCA demanding to enter your home without a search warrant and if you denied them access being fined $350 per day until they obtained a search warrant. The legislation was House Bill No. 5297 introduced in the last General Assembly session that would have taken your Fourth Amendment rights away.

Opposing the legislation was the Defenders of Animals, Inc., and the Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union. The R.I. ACLU stated: “We do not believe the General Assembly can give the DEM, much less a private entity, the power to enter people’s homes based on a written complaint raising a vague concern about an animal’s care or welfare.”

Moreover, the legislation was disguised as an attempt to target unlicensed rescuers; however, the wording included “any person who renders a service to any animal.”

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution was added as part of the Bill of Rights on Dec. 15, 1791. It deals with protecting people from the searching of their homes and private property without properly executed search warrants.

The R.I. DEM and the RISPCA have no business taking that protection away nor should elected officials ever again consider such a proposal.

Dennis Tabella

Director of Defenders of Animals, Inc.