DEM wishes to announce an emergency amendment to Rules and Regulations Governing the Importation of Animals. This emergency amendment is necessary to protect the resident animals of the state and its citizenry from diseases associated with animals that are imported. This emergency amendment will put Rhode Island in line with our neighboring states of CT and MA. DEM/Division of Agriculture has been responding to sharply increasing numbers of reports of serious and often deadly diseases, primarily associated with dogs imported into Rhode Island for adoption. The entities that are bringing these animals to Rhode Island are generally not properly registered nor do they maintain sufficient records to effectively respond to these reports of disease.
The entire document, Rules and Regulations Governing the Importation of Animals, can be found at the following URL: www.dem.ri.gov/pubs/regs/regs/agric/emergimp.pdf . The amendment can be found in Rule 8 of this document. The amendment requires that all entities involved in the transfer of animals, as defined in the regulations, to register with DEM with the following application: www.dem.ri.gov/programs/bnatres/agricult/pdf/shelterlic.pdf .
The rule also requires all animals imported into the state for the purpose of adoption be held in an approved facility for a period of at least five days and then be validated as healthy by a veterinarian prior to being offered for adoption. All entities must also keep minimal adoption records and make those records available for inspection upon request by DEM.
DEM wishes to stress that people wishing to get a new pet should consider adoption from a registered rescue, shelter, or pound. Adoption of a healthy pet can be a very fulfilling experience and improves the life of the pet. Unfortunately, adoption of a sick animal can have tragic and often costly results. These regulations will ensure that all rescues, shelters, and pounds will now be held to minimum standards regarding animal health and record keeping. Citizens wishing to adopt an animal should only do so from entities that are properly registered with DEM and all entities are now required to be registered.