Wakefield, RI asked in Animal / Dog Law for Rhode Island

Q: What are my rights as a dog owner against false complaints?

When I let my dog out at night 10:30-midnight and he barks my neighbors complain (two of them - who have "ganged" up on me). (One neighbor says he wakes up her son and he can't go back to sleep.) My dog may only bark for a few seconds before I bring him in. (I stand in the doorway to watch him do his business and bring him in immediately!) I spoke to the Animal Control Officer yesterday when he came to my house about the complaints. I explained the situation and he seemed to understand. He called back the woman and she said I was lying, that I had left the dog outside the prior evening for 20 minutes -- a total lie. What do I do? The Officer said he would have to summon and fine me. What are the laws?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Neville Bedford
Neville Bedford
  • Licensed in Rhode Island

A: If upon affirmation in writing, signed by a resident of this town, and after investigation by the animal control officer or a police officer, that officer has cause to believe that an animal, whether licensed or not, is a habitual nuisance by reason of trespassing, howling, barking or making other noise, causing damage to property, being vicious or by its actions potentially vicious or in any other manner causing undue annoyance, the officer shall serve notice upon the owner or keeper of the animal that the nuisance must be abated within a period not to exceed three (3) days after the service of the notice.


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