Town of Portsmouth, RI
Newport County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 11-14-1983 by Ord. No. 83-7]
For the purpose of this article, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings herein ascribed to them:
ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
The person employed by the Town to enforce this article and any police officer of the Town.
AT LARGE
A dog or other animal off the property of its owner or keeper and not under the control of a competent person.
DANGEROUS ANIMAL
Includes any animal not typically kept as a pet. It specifically includes, but is not limited to, alligators, crocodiles, venomous snakes, nondomesticated snakes, monkeys, chimpanzees and venomous insects.
[Added 3-11-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-03-11]
EXPOSED TO RABIES
A dog or other animal that has been bitten by, or been exposed to, any animal known to have been infected with rabies.
KENNEL
Any place used for the commercial business of breeding, buying, selling or boarding of dogs.
LEASHED
A dog or other animal which has a cord or chain attached to its collar or harness and held by the owner or competent person leading said animal, who shall have the animal under control. A leash shall not exceed seven feet in length.
[Added 12-10-1984 by Ord. No. 84-11; amended 4-13-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-04-13; amended 10-22-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-10-22]
OWNER
Any person owning, keeping or harboring a dog or other animal mentioned in this article.
POUND
Any premises designated by action of the Town for the purpose of impounding and caring for animals under the provisions of this article.
RESTRAINT
A dog or other animal leashed and in the control of a competent person and obedient to that person's commands on or within a vehicle being driven or parked on the street or within the property limits of its owner or keeper.
[Amended 12-10-1984 by Ord. No. 84-11]
A. 
In the discharge of the duties imposed by this article, the Animal Control Officer or any police officer of this Town shall have the authority, at all reasonable times, to enter upon any premises to examine a dog or other animal which is allegedly in violation of a provision of this article. Such officer shall have the further authority to take possession of any such dog or other animal and remove it from such premises.
B. 
The authority to enter upon a premises granted by Subsection A shall not include the right to enter any residence on such premises.
No person shall interfere with, hinder or molest the Animal Control Officer of this Town in the performance of his duties under this article or seek to release any animal from custody of the Animal Control Officer or any police officer, except as otherwise specifically provided.
All complaints under the provisions of this article shall be made to the Animal Control Officer and may be made orally; provided, however, that, within 48 hours, such complaint shall be reduced to writing on forms provided by the Animal Control Officer and shall be signed by the complainant showing his name, address and telephone number, if any.
Any person violating any provisions of this article shall be punished as provided by this article or the General Laws of Rhode Island.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to allow or permit any animal to trespass on private or public property so as to damage or destroy any property or thing of value, and the same is hereby declared to be a nuisance. Whenever it shall be affirmed in writing by one or more persons having separate residences or regularly employed in the neighborhood that any animal is a habitual nuisance by reason of trespassing, howling, barking or other noise, or by damaging property, being vicious or, by its actions, potentially vicious, or in any other manner causing undue annoyance, the Animal Control Officer, if he finds such nuisance to exist, shall serve notice upon the owner or keeper of such animal that said nuisance must be abated at once.
B. 
The keeping or harboring of any dog or other animal or fowl, whether licensed or not, which habitually howls, yelps, barks or causes noises, which habitual howling, yelping, barking or causing noises is affirmed by persons in the neighborhood as provided in Subsection A of this section, is unlawful and is hereby declared to be a public nuisance, and each day shall constitute a separate offense.
Dogs, with the exception of dogs acting in the assistance of a blind or crippled person, shall not be allowed on the premises of any store or public eating place in the Town of Portsmouth and shall not be allowed on any Town-operated beach. Any owner shall not allow his dog, with the exception of dogs acting in the assistance of a blind or crippled person, to be upon the premises of any store, public eating place or Town-operated beach in the Town of Portsmouth.
[Amended 2-20-1996 by Ord. No. 96-2-20C]
Every dog over the age of four months living within the Town limits shall be licensed as of May 1 of each year.
It shall be unlawful for any resident of the Town of Portsmouth to keep more than three licensed dogs at a single-family residence, except as provided by the Animal Control Officer. This provision shall not apply to licensed kennels.
No person shall throw, place or put, or cause to be thrown, placed or put, the body or remains of any dead animal into any of the ponds, streams or waters within the Town limits or shall leave any such body or remains of any such animal to decay on any surface of the ground insufficiently buried therein.
No wild animal may be kept within the Town limits, except under such conditions as shall be affixed by the Animal Control Officer; provided, however, that wild animals may be kept for exhibition purposes by circuses, zoos, and educational institutions in accordance with such regulations as shall be established by the Animal Control Officer or any police officer of this Town.
[Amended 9-14-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-09-14]
The owner or keeper of any dog shall keep such dog under restraint at all times and shall not permit such dog to run or be at large within the Town of Portsmouth, except when such dog is within the designated enclosed boundary of the Portsmouth Dog Park.
[Amended 9-14-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-09-14]
No person, being the owner or keeper of a dog or having the charge or custody of a dog, shall allow such dog to run loose off its owner's or keeper's property within the Town of Portsmouth, except when such dog is within the designated enclosed boundary of the Portsmouth Dog Park, unless such dog is properly leashed and said leash is controlled by the owner or keeper of such dog. Any dog found not properly leashed and off its owner's or keeper's property running loose shall be impounded by the Animal Control Officer, and such dog shall be held at the area pound until said owner or keeper is located. Any owner or keeper of a dog that allows such dog to be at large within the Town of Portsmouth shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $20 for the first offense, not exceeding $30 for the second offense, and not exceeding $50 for the third and any subsequent offense within a year.
A. 
Any dog or dogs found not under restraint may be taken up by the Animal Control Officer, in lieu of issuance of a violation notice, and impounded in a shelter designated as the Town pound and there confined in a humane manner for a period of not less than five days and thereafter be disposed of in a humane manner or placed up for adoption at the discretion of the Animal Control Officer if not claimed by their owner.
B. 
Immediately upon impounding a dog or dogs, the Animal Control Officer shall make a reasonable effort to notify the owners of such dog so impounded and inform such owners of the conditions whereby they may regain custody of such dogs.
C. 
Notwithstanding the provisions of this article, any person who immediately notifies the Animal Control Officer that their dog has escaped from restraint and requests assistance in bringing the dog under control or restraint shall not be punished or liable for a fine, charge or fee pursuant to this article for failure to properly restrain a dog.
A. 
The owner shall be entitled to regain possession of any impounded dog upon payment of impoundment fees as provided in § 101-14 of this article.
B. 
Any dog impounded under the provisions of this article and not reclaimed by its owner within five days may be:
(1) 
Humanely destroyed by the Animal Control Officer; or
(2) 
Placed in the custody of some other person deemed to be responsible and a suitable owner, who will agree to comply with the provisions set forth by this article.
A. 
The owner or keeper of a dog shall confine, within a building or secure enclosure, every fierce, dangerous or vicious dog or other animal and shall not take such dog or other animal out of such building or secure enclosure unless such dog or other animal is securely muzzled or other device for insuring the safety of the public is used.
B. 
Every female dog, cat or other animal, when in heat, shall be kept confined in a building or secure enclosure, or in a veterinarian hospital or boarding kennel, in such a manner that such animal cannot come in contact with another animal, except for the purpose of intentional breeding.
A. 
Every animal which bites a person shall be promptly reported to the Animal Control Officer and shall thereupon be securely quarantined at the direction of the Animal Control Officer for a period of no less than 14 days and shall not be released from such quarantine except by written permission from the Animal Control Officer. At the discretion of the Animal Control Officer, such quarantine may be on the premises of the owner or at the pound or, at the owner's option and expense, in a veterinarian hospital of their choice. In cases of stray animals, or of animals whose ownership is not known, such quarantine shall be at the Town-designated pound.
B. 
The owner, upon demand by the Animal Control Officer, shall forthwith surrender any animal which has bitten a human or which is suspected as having been exposed to rabies for supervised quarantine, the expense of which shall be borne by the owner. Such animal may be reclaimed by the owner if it is determined to be free of rabies, upon payment of the same fees levied upon such animal for the time it is interned at the pound.
C. 
Any owner or keeper of a dog or other animal that shall bite or otherwise inflict any injury on any person or persons shall be subject to a fine of no less than $100. This fine will only be levied after an investigation into the incident is conducted by the Animal Control Officer and the owner or keeper of said dog or other animal is deemed to be negligent in their actions or in violation of § 101-12 of this article.
[Added 12-17-1984 by Ord. No. 84-12-17A]
Any person having ownership, custody or control of any American Pit Bull dog, Pit Bull Terrier dog, Staffordshire Terrier or any person who has paid any fine imposed by or suffered conviction for a violation of § 101-17A, B or C of this article shall, prior to receiving a license for any of said dogs, register said dog on a form provided by the Town Clerk, to include the owner's name and address, the address where said dog is harbored, the age, color, sex and other distinguishable physical characteristics of said dog; and no license shall issue until and unless the registration form is complete and until and unless said person has presented to the issuing officer sufficient satisfactory proof of public liability insurance in an amount no less than $25,000 covering any and all potential personal injuries or property damage which may be inflicted upon any other person or other person's property by said dog.
When rabies has been diagnosed in an animal under quarantine or when rabies is suspected in such an animal by a licensed veterinarian, and the animal dies while under observation, the Animal Control Officer shall immediately send the head of such animal to the State Health Department for pathological examination and shall notify the proper health officials, or officers, of reports of human contacts and the diagnosis.
Fines shall be as follows:
A. 
Nuisance dog or other animal not abated after requested to do so: $15.
B. 
Unlicensed dog (R.I.G.L. § 4-13-4): $10.
C. 
Dogs running at large:
(1) 
First offense: $20.
(2) 
Second offense: $30.
(3) 
Third offense: $50.
D. 
Vicious or dangerous dog or other animal not confined: $20.
E. 
Female dog or other animal in heat not confined: $20.
F. 
Unauthorized wild animals: $15.
G. 
Dogs in stores, eating places, or on Town beaches: $15.
H. 
Biting dog or other animal: $100.
I. 
Number of dogs permitted at residence: $25.
All fines and fees set by the foregoing provisions of this article shall be subject to the limits set by state statute, so that the amounts authorized by this article shall be the lower of the amounts set forth herein or as provided by state statute, as said statutes may be from time to time enacted or amended.
[Added 2-20-1996 by Ord. No. 96-2-20C]
Any dog or cat over four months old found within the Town without evidence that such animal has been vaccinated or inoculated as required by law shall be impounded by the Animal Control Officer or other authorized person for a period not exceeding 15 days, during which time such animal may be returned to its owner only upon proof of ownership, licensing and vaccination and payment by the owner of fees incurred by the Town for impoundment, vaccination and any other service reasonably required and provided during the period of impoundment. Any person or organization providing impoundment services for the Town is hereby authorized to collect such fees on behalf of the Town.
[Added 2-20-1996 by Ord. No. 96-2-20C]
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to capture and then release in the Town any wild or unowned cat, whether or not said animal shall have been vaccinated as provided by law.
B. 
Any person violating the provisions of this article shall be fined not more than $500, to be recovered to the use of the Town.