Ask Rhode Island Courts to Enforce Animal Protection Laws

Target: Courts of Rhode Island

Goal: Ask Rhode Island courts to enforce every animal cruelty case that reaches conviction

The Animal Legal Defense Fund recently ranked Rhode Island ninth among all U.S. states in animal protection laws. This seemingly good news should excite all animal activists in the area, yet many are more upset than ever about the current state of affairs. The cofounder and director of Defenders of Animals in Rhode Island, Dennis Tabella, voiced concern about the laws: “Nobody in the animal-rights movement is going to be satisfied with where we are.” With the present laws in place, those guilty of animal cruelty are more often than not dealt out punishment befitting of their crimes, but sadly, these charges are not always enforced. Join with animal rights protesters and fight for Rhode Island courts to be consistent with punishment and enforce every charge they give to those guilty of cruelty charges.

When it comes to animal protection, even top ranking states must alter the way that laws are enforced. At present, the problem lies in the inability of Rhode Island courts, among many others, to carry out the given charges. Such inconsistencies occur even on large scales resulting in the loss of money that should be given to help animals. In the past, judges have awarded fines to agencies that perpetuate abuse, such as those engaged in the puppy mill business, but failed to collect the money that should go to shelters to provide for the puppies saved from the mill. Instead of the courts or other authorities ensuring the charges have been paid, the responsibility falls on shelters and non-profits that do not always have the power or know-how to collect the fees. Because of this, hundreds of thousands of dollars that were meant to go to animal services to care for animals and prevent future cases of abuse have gone to waste. These cases illustrate the problem of the present court system; a system of law is only as strong as its enforcement.

An appeal must be sent to the courts to alert them to the severity of inconsistent enforcement and uneven penalties. Such problems can ensure that animal abusers will continue on their paths of cruelty without fear that justice will be served for their misdeeds. It should not be the duty of shelters or non-profits to collect fees. Petition against incongruity in Rhode Island courtrooms and demand that each and every case of abuse that reaches a charge is enforced. If it is not, the law means nothing.


Dear Courts of Rhode Island,

While it is commendable that your state is ranked ninth in the country for animal protection laws, there is need to improve the inconsistent enforcement that allows animal abusers to escape punishment entirely. Sadly, many cases of cruelty never make it to the courtroom, but those that do and result in fines are sometimes not enforced. This incongruity provides animal abusers with the potential to re-commit terrible acts of cruelty without fear they will be charged in any way. It is your responsibility to enforce these laws and not the responsibility of shelters and non-profits.

It is vital that punishment in every case of conviction be enforced for the sake of all animals. It is unjust to allow animal cruelty to go unpunished, but also harmful to let abusive people and corporations continue to practice violence within their communities. Those that abuse animals are no friends to humankind. I implore you to take action in every case of cruelty and ensure that those guilty of it not only receive proper charges, but make certain that such charges are carried out.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: ASPCA

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One Comment

  1. Oh dear, good intentions on the part of, but, sadly, the language in the letter is seriously messed up. It does not appear to have been written by anyone with knowledge of the legal process. Firstly, “It is your responsibility to enforce these crimes . . .” The wording should be to enforce the sentences, or to enforce the collection of the fines. One does not “enforce” a crime! Or maybe you mean punish the crime?

    Secondly, the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph is totally muddled. “It is vital that every case of conviction be enforced . . . ” is wrong wording. Do you mean that every case be vigorously prosecuted? Then say that. Or do you mean that every conviction in court be followed by a strong sentence which is actually carried out? Then say that. Perhaps you mean both.

    The last sentence is also a mess. Perhaps you mean to say that the ACCUSED are properly charged. Or maybe you mean that the convicted (those found guilty) are sentenced and that the sentence on them is actually carried out. Oh my.

    My dears, you must go back to the drawing board and review some basic legal terms like prosecution, conviction, sentence, enforce, the difference between being accused and convicted, etc. I would like very much to sign a petition of this intent, but cannot because the language is almost laughable to a professional. You do so many good things, folks, but you cannot rush out a letter on such a serious matter as crime and punishment.

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