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State Pet Shop Laws: Rhode Island

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  • Adequate feed: the provision at intervals not to exceed 24 hours of a quantity of wholesome food suitable for the species and age sufficient to maintain a reasonable level of nutrition in each animal. The food must be served in a sanitized dish. (R.I. GEN. LAWS § 4-19-11)
  • Adequate water: constant access to a supply of clean, fresh, potable water provided in a sanitary manner or provided at intervals not to exceed 24 hours. (R.I. GEN. LAWS § 4-19-11)
  • Animal: any dog, cat, rabbit, rodent, nonhuman primate, bird or other warm-blooded vertebrate, amphibian, fish or reptile. Excludes livestock and domestic fowl. (R.I. GEN. LAWS § 4-19-2)
  • Dealer: a person [includes businesses] who sells, exchanges, or donates, or offers to sell, exchange, or donate animals to another dealer, pet shop, or research facility, or who breeds dogs and/or cats for the purpose of selling or donating to another dealer or pet shop, or research facility. (R.I. GEN. LAWS § 4-19-2)
  • Pet shop: a temporary or permanent establishment where animals are bought, sold, exchanged, or offered for sale or exchange to the general public at retail. Excludes breeders who sell from their premises. (R.I. GEN. LAWS § 4-19-2)

Vet Care:

  • N/A


  • N/A

Lemon Laws:

  • N/A

Food and Water:

  • Pet stores must “adequately” feed and water animals in their custody. (Penalty: misdemeanor, seizure of animals, and license revocation) (R.I. GEN. LAWS §§ 4-19-11, -2, -8)

Sanitary Conditions:

  • N/A

Unweaned Animals:

  • Prohibits pet stores from selling chicks or ducklings. (Penalty: max 11 months’ confinement and/or $50-$500 fine) (R.I. GEN. LAWS § 4-1-8)

Miscellaneous Provisions:

  • License required for pet shops and dealers. (Penalty: max $100 fine) (R.I. GEN. LAWS §§ 4-19-5, -7, -9)
  • Sellers and dealers of psittacine birds must keep records for each bird, including identification and ownership history. The records must be kept for 2 years and are subject to inspection. (Penalty: max $200 fine per bird) (R.I. GEN. LAWS §§ 4-11-3, -12)
  • All psittacine birds that are sold or transferred must be banded. (R.I. GEN. LAWS §§ 4-11-4, -12)
  • Environmental management dept and local health officers have enforcement authority. (R.I. GEN. LAWS § 4-11-11)
  • Environmental management and Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals agents can inspect and investigate. (R.I. GEN. LAWS § 4-19-15)
  • [See R.I. GEN. LAWS §§ 4-11-2, -4 for import requirements for psittacine birds.]
  • Prohibits destroying an animal using a high altitude decompression chamber. Exception for licensed dealers, breeders and hobby breeders. (Penalty: $500 fine) (R.I. GEN. LAWS §§ 4-1-3.1, 4-19-14)
  • CO chamber must use bottled or cylinder CO gas. Exception for licensed dealers, breeders and hobby breeders. (Penalty: max. $500-$1,000 fine) (R.I. GEN. LAWS §§ 4-19-11.1, -11.3, -14)
  • Prohibits euthanizing an animal with a gas chamber or CO chamber. (Penalty: max. 30 day sentence and/or max. $500 fine) (R.I. GEN. LAWS §§ 4-19-12, 4-19-14)


  1. Where “adequate space” is not defined the state has not established a definition for the term.
  2. The definition of “animal” may actually be broadly written while the types of animals covered by the law (e.g., veterinary care, sanitation, food and water) may be more narrowly drafted.

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