Rhode Island will never have strong enough animal protection laws because there are groups and individuals, who have been entrusted to protect animals, fighting animal protection legislation. Their opposition to animal protection legislation is documented by legislative committees’ sign-in sheets and submitted documentation. We offer some examples of this problem. Many animal protection bills have been fought over the years.<br><br>It took Defenders of Animals years to get rid of the gas chamber. We had to fight year after year at the state house and in individual cities and towns not only the animal control officers that were still using the gas chamber but also the RISPCA, the Providence Animal Rescue League (PARL), and two RI veterinarians. The barbaric device known as the gas chamber was used by the RISPCA, the Providence Animal Rescue League (PARL) and numerous municipal shelters. We first had the gas chamber banned in East Providence, Providence, Coventry, and then statewide.<br><br>In recent legislative hearings, we requested legislation be introduced by Representative Felella and cosponsored by Representatives Serpa, Messier, Dickinson, and Ucci that was based on a Delaware law that pertained to animal shelters going through five easy steps before euthanizing an animal. That legislation was fought by the former director of the Providence Animal Shelter, the RISPCA, Providence Animal Rescue League (PARL), the Potter League, and others. <br><br>In the last legislative session, the two agencies testifying in favor of another bill House Bill H-5466, was the Attorney General’s office and Defenders of Animals. <br>The bill was introduced by Representative O’brien and cosponsored by Representatives Palangio, Amore, Slater, and Casey. The legislation would have increased the imprisonment penalty for a malicious injury or killing of an animal from 2 to 5 years. It would have imposed an additional assessment if it could have been proven that the convicted person is found to have committed said offense in the presence of a child. <br><br>A bill introduced by Representative Palangio and cosponsored by Representatives Serpa, Winfield, Regunberg, and Lima would have prohibited a city or town from enacting any rule, regulation, or ordinance restricting an individual or organization from providing food or shelter to a domesticated animal was fought by RI State Veterinarian Scott Marshall, and the Cranston Animal Control Officer Patricia Maxwell.<br><br>So the issue of animal protection and justice for animals happens with the state legislature first and not just the courts. <br>The organizations and individuals that are supposed to protect animals that have been against animal protection legislation need to be taken to task. <br><br>In addition, the courts in RI have not always been lenient regarding animal issues. In fact, we have had some outstanding rulings in favor of animals from Judges Stephen P. Nugent,<br>Kristin E. Rodgers, Brian Van Couyghen, and former Judges Stephen J. Fortunato Jr. and former Judge Thomas H. Needham.