Town of Johnston, RI
Providence County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 12-10-1979 by Ord. No. 440 as Secs. 6A-1 to 6A-25 of the 1979 Code; amended in its entirety 6-13-1994 by Ord. No. 923]
As used in this chapter the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ADEQUATE FOOD
The provision at suitable intervals, not to exceed 24 hours, of a quantity of wholesome foodstuff suitable for the species and age, sufficient to maintain a reasonable level of nutrition in each animal. The foodstuff shall be served in a sanitized receptacle, dish, or container.
[Added 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31]
ADEQUATE SHELTER
Access to a structure that is the proper size for the animal, impervious to moisture, has protection from the direct rays of the sun, has a wind break at the entrance, maintains sealed containers for food and waste, and is kept in a clean manner so as not to constitute any health risks, create excessive odors, noises or other nuisance. This includes but is not limited to a dog house, barn, garage, shed, coop or other structure sufficient to protect the animal from the wind, snow, rain or sun and that has adequate bedding to protect against cold and dampness.
[Added 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31; amended 11-10-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-11]
ADEQUATE WATER
A constant access to a supply of clean, fresh, potable water provided in a sanitary manner or provided at suitable intervals for the species not to exceed 24 hours at any interval.
[Added 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31]
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
The temperature surrounding the animal.
[Added 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31]
ANIMAL
Any animal, including but not limited to pets and farm animals.
[Added 11-10-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-11]
ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
The person or persons employed by the Town of Johnston as its enforcement officer and shall include any police officer of the Town of Johnston.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
AT LARGE
Any animal off the property of its owner and not under restraint as hereinafter defined.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1; 11-10-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-11]
EXPOSED TO RABIES
An animal has been exposed to rabies within the meaning of this chapter if it has been bitten by, or been exposed to, any animal known to have been infected with rabies.
[Amended 11-10-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-11]
FARM ANIMALS
Any animal which may be used for sustenance, a commercial food operation, or agriculture or is not generally understood to be a domesticated pet that occupies the primary residential structure on the property. Farm animals include but are not limited to cows, sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, and the like.
[Added 11-10-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-11]
KEEPER or CUSTODIAN
Any person or agency that harbors, feeds, maintains or is responsible for controlling a dog or other animal.
[Added 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31]
KENNEL
Any person, group of persons, or corporations engaged in the commercial business of breeding, buying, selling or boarding pets.
MINIMUM CARE
Care that is sufficient to preserve the health and well-being of any animal, to preserve the health and well-being of any persons living on the property, and prevents the creation of any excessive noise, odors, or other nuisance, and except for emergency situations beyond the reasonable control of the owner and/or guardian.
[Added 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31; amended 11-10-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-11]
MINIMUM VETERINARY CARE
Veterinary care that is deemed necessary by a reasonably prudent person to relieve distress from injury, neglect or disease.
[Added 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31]
OWNER
Any person, group of persons, or corporation owning, keeping or harboring any animal.
[Amended 11-10-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-11]
PET POUND
Any premises designated by action of the Town for the purpose of impounding and caring for all animals found running at large in violation of this chapter.
PET(S)
Any domesticated animal(s) kept inside the primary residential structure of the property. Pets include animals such as dogs, cats, ferrets, fish and the like.
[Amended 11-10-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-11]
RABIES CONTROL BOARD
State of Rhode Island Public Health Rabies Control Board.
RESTRAINT
A pet is under restraint if it is:
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
A. 
Controlled by means of a leash securely connected to the pet and held by a person physically capable of retaining control; or
B. 
Within a vehicle being driven or parked on the streets; or
C. 
In a building or within a fenced enclosure on the property of its owner, which building or fence is adequate to prevent the pet from escaping therefrom; or
D. 
By means of a chain, rope, or similar materials, limited to the boundaries of its owner.
SPAYED FEMALE
Any bitch which has been operated upon to prevent conception.
[Added 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31]
TETHER
A rope to chain or otherwise to halter a dog allowing it a reasonable range in which to move that is generally two lengths from nose to tail.
[Added 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31]
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the Animal Control Officer of the Town of Johnston and any police officer of the Town.
A. 
The owner shall keep his pet under restraint at all times and shall not permit such pet to be at large, off the premises or property of the owner, unless under the control of a competent person.
B. 
Except as provided herein, the owner of any pet not under restraint as provided herein shall be subject to fines not exceeding the following:
[Added 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
(1) 
First offense: $30.
(2) 
Second and each subsequent offense: shall require an appearance before the Johnston Municipal Court and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $60 plus applicable court costs.
A. 
Any pet or pets found running at large shall be taken up by the Animal Control Officer, and impounded in the shelter designated as the Town Pet Pound, and there confined in a humane manner for a period of not less than five days, if found with a collar, and not less than two days, if found without a collar, and may thereafter be disposed of in a humane manner if not claimed by their owners. Pets not claimed by their owners before the expiration of five days, if found with a collar, and two days, if found without a collar, may be disposed of at the discretion of the Animal Control Officer, except as hereinafter provided in the cases of certain pets.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1; 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31]
B. 
The Animal Control Officer may transfer title of any pet held at the pound to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after the legal detention period has expired and such pet has not been claimed by its owner.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
C. 
When pets are found running at large, and their ownership is known to the Animal Control Officer, such pets need not be impounded but such Officer may cite the owners of such pets to appear to charges of violation of this chapter.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
D. 
Immediately upon impounding pets, the Officer shall make every possible reasonable effort to notify the owners of such pets so impounded, and inform such owners of the conditions where they may regain custody of such pets.
E. 
Any animal, other than a pet, found running at large within the Town limits may be impounded or disposed of according to law, when such action is required, either to protect the animal or to protect the residents of the Town.
A. 
The owner shall be entitled to regain possession of any impounded pet, except as hereinafter provided in the cases of certain pets, upon payment of impoundment fees set forth herein. (Proof of ownership might include a license receipt, affidavits of neighbors and/or a photograph.)
B. 
Any other animal impounded under the provisions of this chapter may be reclaimed by the owner upon the payment of impoundment fees set forth herein.
C. 
Any pet or other animal impounded under the provisions of this chapter and not reclaimed by its owner within five days, if found with a collar, and within two days, if found without a collar, may be humanely destroyed by the Animal Control Officer, have its title transferred to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as provided in § 98-4B, or placed in the custody of some person deemed to be a responsible and suitable owner, who will agree to comply with the provisions of this chapter and such other regulations as shall be fixed by the Town of Johnston; provided, however, that if the animal is one as to which the respective rights of the owner and the person in possession or custody are determined by state law, such law shall be complied with.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1; 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31]
[Amended 11-9-1998 by Ord. No. 1048; 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1; 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31]
Any animal impounded hereunder may be reclaimed as herein provided upon payment by the owner to the Animal Control Officer the sum of $35 plus an additional sum of $10 for each day such animal has been impounded. Such fees shall be collected by the Animal Control Officer for the Town of North Providence.
[1]
Note: Dog license and kennel license fees are established by state statute (R.I.G.L. § 4-13-4).
A. 
The owner shall confine within a building or secure enclosure every fierce, dangerous, or vicious pet, and shall not take such pet out of such building or secure enclosure unless such pet is securely muzzled.
B. 
Every female pet or other animal in heat shall be kept confined in a building or secure enclosure, or in a veterinary hospital or boarding kennel, in such a manner that such female pet or other animal cannot come in contact with another pet or animal, except for intentional breeding purposes.
C. 
Any animal described in the foregoing subsections of this section, found at large, shall be impounded by the Animal Control Officer and may not be reclaimed by owners, unless such reclamation be authorized by any court having jurisdiction.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
D. 
Any pet or other animal may, the first time it is impounded for being a public nuisance, be reclaimed as provided in § 98-4A herein but may not be reclaimed when so impounded on second or subsequent occasion unless such reclamation is authorized by a court having jurisdiction in the matter.
E. 
When, in the judgment of the Animal Control Officer or any police officer in this Town, an animal should be destroyed for humane reasons, such animal may not be reclaimed.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
F. 
No wild animal may be kept within the Town limits, except under such conditions as shall be fixed 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. Any wild animal which escapes and is found at large may be destroyed by the Animal Control Officer or any police officer of this Town.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
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 10 days, and shall not be released from such quarantine except by written permission of the Animal Control Officer. At the discretion of the Animal Control Officer, such quarantine may be on the premises of the owner, at the shelter designated at the pet pound, or at the owners option and expense, in a veterinary hospital of his choice. In the case of stray animals, or in the case of animals whose ownership is not known, such quarantine shall be at the shelter designated by the Animal Control Officer.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1; 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31]
B. 
The owner, upon demand by the Animal Control Officer, shall forthwith surrender any animal which has bitten a human, or which is suspected of having been exposed to rabies, for supervised quarantine, the expense of which shall be borne by the owner. Said animal may be reclaimed by the owner if it is adjudged free of rabies, upon payment of fees set forth in § 98-6 of this chapter.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
C. 
When rabies has been diagnosed in an animal under quarantine or rabies suspected by a licensed veterinarian, and the animal dies while under such observation, the Animal Control Officer shall immediately send the head of such animal to the State Health Department for the pathological examination, and shall notify the proper public health officer of reports of human contacts and the diagnosis.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
D. 
When one or both reports indicate a positive diagnosis of rabies, the Animal Control Officer shall recommend an areawide quarantine for a period of 90 days, and upon invoking of such emergency quarantine, no animal shall be taken into the streets, or permitted to be in the streets during such period of quarantine.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
(1) 
During such quarantine, no animal may be taken or shipped from the Town without written permission of the Animal Control Officer.
(2) 
During this quarantine period and as long afterward as he decides it is necessary to prevent the spread of rabies, the health officer shall require all pets, three months of age and older, to be vaccinated against rabies with a canine rabies vaccine approved by the Biologics Control Section of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The types of approved canine anti-rabies vaccine to be used and the recognized duration of immunity for each shall be established by the health officer.
(3) 
All vaccinated pets shall be restricted (leashing or confinement on enclosed premises) for 30 days after vaccination.
(4) 
During the quarantine period, the health officer shall be empowered to provide for a program of mass vaccination clinics strategically located throughout the Town.
(5) 
No pet which has been impounded by reason of its being a stray unclaimed by its owner, is allowed to be claimed during the period of the rabies emergency quarantine, except by special authorization of the health officer and the Animal Control Officer.
E. 
Pets bitten by a known rabid animal shall be immediately destroyed or, if the owner is unwilling to destroy the exposed animal, strict isolation of the animal in a kennel for six months shall be enforced. If the pet has been previously vaccinated within the time limits established by the health officer based on the kind of vaccine used, revaccination and restraint (leashing and confinement) for 30 days shall be carried out.
F. 
In the event there are additional positive cases of rabies occurring during the period of the quarantine, such period of quarantine may be extended for an additional six months.
G. 
No person shall kill, or cause to be killed, any rabid animal or any animal suspected of having been exposed to rabies, or any animal biting a human, except as herein provided, nor remove from the Town limits without permission from the Animal Control Officer.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
H. 
The carcass of any dead animal exposed to rabies shall, upon demand, be surrendered to the Animal Control Officer.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
I. 
The Animal Control Officer shall direct the disposition of any animal found to be infected with rabies.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
J. 
No person shall fail or refuse to surrender any animal for quarantine or destruction as required herein when demand is made therefor by the Animal Control Officer.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
It shall be the duty of every physician or other medical practitioner to report to the Animal Control Officer at the Police Department the names and addresses of persons treated for bites inflicted by animals, together with such other information as will be helpful in rabies control.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
It shall be the duty of every licensed veterinarian to report to the Animal Control Officer any animal considered by him to be a rabies suspect.
A. 
Hospitals, clinics and other premises operated by licensed veterinarians for the care and treatment of animals are exempt from the provisions of this chapter, except where expressly stated.
B. 
The licensing and vaccination requirements of this chapter shall not apply to any pet belonging to a nonresident of the Town and kept within the Town for not longer than 30 days, provided all such pets shall at all times while in the Town be kept within a building, enclosure or vehicle, or be under restraint by the owner.
The owner or keeper of a pet shall have the animal vaccinated not earlier than three months of age nor later than four months of age and at regular intervals thereafter as prescribed by the regulations of the Rabies Control Board but at no time to exceed recommendations made by the most current compendium of animal rabies control. No pet shall be permitted within the Town limits unless such pet shall have been vaccinated or immunized in the manner set forth in this chapter.
The vaccination or immunization referred to in § 98-12 of this chapter shall be by a vaccine approved by the State Department of Health and shall be certified to by a licensed veterinarian. Such certificate shall be dated as of the date of inoculation or vaccination, shall show the rabies tag number, the sex and breed of pet and the owner thereof, and whether the vaccine given is the one-year vaccine or the three-year vaccine, together with such other information as may reasonably be required by the health officer or the veterinarian administering the same.
No license shall be issued for any pet required to be licensed in Town unless the person making application therefor shall first present the Police Department of the Town or other person duly authorized to issue such license a current certificate of vaccination or inoculation, as provided in this chapter, for the pet for which such license is requested. Such certificate shall certify that the pet for which the license is to be issued has been properly vaccinated or inoculated in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any person to own, keep or harbor any pet over four months old within the Town unless such pet shall have been vaccinated or inoculated in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be fined not less than $200 nor more than $500 for each offense.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
Any pet over four months old found within the limits of the Town without evidence that such pet has been vaccinated or inoculated in accordance with the provisions of this chapter shall be impounded by the Animal Control Officer or other authorized person for a period not exceeding five days during which time such pet may be returned to its owner upon proof of ownership, vaccination of the pet and payment by such owner of the fees provided in this chapter. At the expiration of the five-day period above-mentioned, any pet not so claimed by its owner may be disposed of in accordance with § 98-5C hereof.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
A. 
It shall be unlawful to allow or permit any animal/pet to trespass on private and public property so as to damage or destroy any property or item of value and the same is hereby declared to be a nuisance and any such animal may be impounded by the Animal Control Officer. Whenever an animal/pet digs, scratches or excretes, or causes waste or garbage to be scattered, on the property of another, other than the rightful owner, it will result in a mandatory appearance before the Johnston Municipal Court and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $50 plus applicable court costs.
B. 
If a pet (see § 98-1 for definitions) growls, snaps at, runs after any person, runs after or chases any bicycles, motor vehicles, motorcycles, or any other vehicle being driven, the owner or keeper will be cited and it will result in a mandatory appearance before the Johnston Municipal Court and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $50 plus applicable court costs.
C. 
If a pet alone or in a pack with other pets bites or preys upon game animals, domestic animals, fowl, or human beings, the dog's owner or keeper will be cited and it will result in a mandatory appearance before the Johnston Municipal Court and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $100 plus applicable court costs.
D. 
Nuisance: whenever any animal creates a substantial interference with another person's reasonable expectation of the use and enjoyment of their land as a result of a pattern of excessive odor, noise, creation of an infestation or other such nuisance, due to the animal owner's neglect, failure to maintain adequate shelter, or failure to provide minimum care.
[Added 11-10-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-11]
E. 
Penalties and fines. It shall be unlawful for any owner of any animal(s) to allow an animal to create a nuisance. The owner of any animal that created such a nuisance will be cited by the Animal Control Officer. Upon citation, the owner must appear before the Johnston Municipal Court, which shall determine if the owner has cured the nuisance or if the animal(s) shall be impounded by the Animal Control Officer. If any owner receives more than one citation within a period of one calendar year, the animal(s) shall be impounded by the Animal Control Officer. The owner shall also be liable for a fine not to exceed $100 for each citation plus applicable court costs.
[Added 11-10-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-11]
F. 
Duty to mitigate. Upon receipt of a citation from the Town of Johnston Animal Control Officer, any owner cited under this chapter must, within seven days of notice, to the best of his or her ability, mitigate any possibility of repeating the offense. If an owner is cited for the creation of a nuisance, the owner must make every effort to protect the other person's reasonable expectation of the use and enjoyment of his or her land by any means necessary to cure the nuisance, such as improving the shelter or moving the shelter out of sight of abutters, or taking substantial preventative measures to cure noise, odor, infestation, or other nuisances.
[Added 11-10-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-11]
A. 
No pets are allowed in school yards or on school property whether at large or under restraint; “seeing-eye dogs,” so-called, are excepted.
B. 
No pets are allowed in any stores or eating places within the Town whether at large or under restraint; “seeing-eye-dogs,” so called, are excepted.
C. 
It shall be unlawful to keep more than three licensed pets at the same residence, except as permitted by the Animal Control Officer and health representative. This provision shall not apply to licensed kennels.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
D. 
All complaints made under the provisions of this chapter shall be made to the Animal Control Officer and may be made orally; provided, however, that such complaint is within 48 hours, reduced to writing on forms provided by the Animal Control Officer and shall be signed by the complainant showing his address and telephone number, if any.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
In the discharge of the duties imposed by this chapter, the Animal Control Officer or any police officer of this Town shall have the authority at all reasonable times to enter upon any premises (but such authority should not include the right to enter any residence on such premises) to examine a pet or other animal which is allegedly in violation of a provision of this chapter. Such officer shall have the further authority to take possession of any such pet or other animal and remove it from such premises.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
A. 
No person shall interfere with, hinder, or molest the Animal Control Officer or any police officer of this Town in the performance of his duties, or seek to release any animal in the custody of the Animal Control Officer or any police officer, except as herein provided.
B. 
Except as otherwise provided herein, any person who shall interfere with, hinder, or molest the Animal Control Officer or any police officer of this Town in the performance of his duties shall be subject to a mandatory appearance before the Johnston Municipal Court and shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $100 plus applicable court costs.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
A. 
It shall be the duty of the Animal Control Officer to keep, or cause to be kept, accurate and detailed records of the impoundment and disposition of all animals coming into its custody.
B. 
It shall be the duty of the Animal Control Officer to keep, or cause to be kept, accurate and detailed records of all bite cases reported to him and his investigation of the same.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Sec. 6A-22, Penalty, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1]
A. 
Every owner or keeper of a pet shall annually in the month of April cause that pet to be licensed from the first day of the ensuing May in the office of the Town Clerk; and shall pay to the Town Clerk for a license so issued $5, and all licenses issued under this provision shall be valid during the then current year; provided that any person who shall become the owner or keeper of a pet shall cause the same to be licensed as aforesaid within 30 days after he or she becomes the owner or keeper; provided, further, that no license shall be issued under this section unless the pet has been inoculated against rabies for the period during which said license would be valid.
B. 
Every person owning or keeping a pet not licensed according to the provisions of this chapter shall be fined $30 for the first offense and any subsequent offense within a twelve-month period would require an appearance before the Johnston Municipal Court with a minimum fine of $60 plus court costs.
[Amended 2-11-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1; 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31]
A. 
Minimum care of animals.
(1) 
The owner or guardian of any animal must provide daily proper nourishment and access to adequate water at a drinkable temperature, quality and quantity as required by the species, breed, size, and age of said animal, which will allow and foster normal growth and maintenance of body weight.
(2) 
The owner or guardian of an animal must maintain a sanitary environment, which is dry and free of accumulated feces, and free of debris and garbage that may clutter the environment so as not to inhibit comfortable rest, normal posture and range of movement or pose a danger to or entangle an animal, as set by the industry standard for the environmental health scale set forth in the Tufts Animal Care and Conditions Scale (TACC).
(3) 
The owner or guardian of any animal must maintain said animal's health with minimum veterinary care and a healthy physical condition as set by the industry standard for the body condition scale and physical care scale as set forth in the TACC.
B. 
Sheltering, tethering and nourishment of dogs.
(1) 
No person shall allow a dog to be kept outside tethered, penned, caged, fenced or otherwise confined for more than 30 minutes without access to adequate shelter or water for use by such dog.
(2) 
No person shall allow a dog to be kept outside tethered, penned, caged, fenced or otherwise confined for more than 30 minutes when the ambient temperature is beyond the industry standard for the weather safety scale as set forth in the most recently adopted version of the TACC.
C. 
Fines. Any person violating these provisions shall be subject to fines not less than $200 nor more than $500 for each offense.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 98-24, Care of injured animals; fees, as amended, was repealed 12-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-31.