Rhode Island to give animals legal representation in cruelty & neglect cases

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2012:

Rhode Island to give animals legal representation in cruelty & neglect case

PROVIDENCE–Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee on June 15, 2012 endorsed into law a bill that allows the director of the state Department of Environmental Management to designate a department veterinarian or a representative of the Rhode Island SPCA to act as an advocate for the animal victims in abuse and neglect cases. The advocate would be assigned to make recommendations on behalf of animal victims to any court in Rhode Island before which the custody or well-being of an animal is at issue. Introduced by state senator John J. Tassoni Jr. and state representative Peter John Petrarca, the new Rhode Island law is believed to be among the first of its kind in the world. Swiss voters in March 2007 rejected by a margin of more than 2-to-1 a ballot question seeking to establish a similar system. Governor Chafee on June 21 signed into law a bill banning the use of veal crates and restricting the use of gestation stalls for pigs. Nine other states have similar legislation.

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