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Providence, RI - Rep. Robert Nardolillo III (R-Dist. 28 Coventry) will be submitting legislation to ensure that animals are never returned to individuals convicted of abuse.
The bill comes after a number of high profile animal abuse cases that resulted in extremely lenient sentences including a man convicted of abusing nearly 100 animals who faces only a $200 fine. However, the most recent case involving a man convicted of animal abuse who has been given several of his dogs back after police seized them was the final straw for Rep. Nardolillo.
The owner had faced allegations of abuse in the past but nothing was ever done to remove the animals from his custody. The man was convicted on charges of abuse but thanks to a plea deal only faced little punishment for his actions and was also awarded custody of three dogs seized by police.
The man showed little remorse while picking up his dogs at the Exeter Animal Shelter and allegedly cursed at staff members and protesters alike. This sparked outcry over the lenient sentencing and raised concerns that the animals will be returned to the same neglectful conditions they were removed from.
Rep. Nardolillo was shocked and upset about the outcome stating, “This is simply unacceptable. I was frustrated when I learned of the first man who would only face a fine for his cruelty. Since then I have called for judges in Rhode Island to impose harsher sentences on animal abusers but hearing that animals are being placed back into the custody of their abuser is too much to bear. No animal should ever be handed over to someone convicted of animal cruelty and I will do everything in my power to make sure it never happens again.”
Rhode Island judges have the power to stop individuals convicted of cruelty or neglect from having their animals returned but it is at each judge’s discretion whether or not to impose the punishment. Rep. Nardolillo feels that this latest case of animal cruelty highlights the problem with that policy and will be submitting legislation to mandate that judges not return animals to their abusers.
“Our courts have the power to protect these innocent creatures from further abuse but only if they are willing to hand down the appropriate sentences. This bill will be a vital first step toward ensuring that no animal in Rhode Island is ever forced to live out their days under inhumane conditions,” said Rep. Nardolillo.
Ian O'Connor, House Minority Office
State House Room 106
Providence, RI 02903