Lawmakers to consider new animal cruelty bills

Moses at the RISPCA shelter (Photo: RISPCA)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island lawmakers are set to take up a bill Tuesday, aimed at toughening the penalties when it comes to animal cruelty.

This comes after a highly-publicized case featuring disturbing images of an emaciated dog named Moses who was found abandoned in a pet store parking lot last year.

Originally, the owner, 47-year-old Brian Kenney, was accused of deliberately starving Moses, but it was revealed that the animal was suffering from renal failure.

“Renal failure affects your liver, so he wasn’t able to metabolize any food that was going into his body,” said Joe Warzycha from RISPCA, “so no matter what he was eating he wasn’t going to put on weight.”

Moses was at least 15 years old but was not starving under the care of Kenney.

“He failed to provide adequate veterinary care for the dog,” said Warzycha. “He didn’t starve the dog, but he failed to bring the dog to a veterinarian where he could either be treated or humanly euthanized. That was the basis of the charges.”

Kenney was sentenced to 11 months of probation, fined $100 and faces another $500 to be contributed to the SPCA.

The bills that will be heard Tuesday include creating an animal abuser registry through the Attorney General’s Office, increasing penalties for animals mistreated in facilities where they are for sale, and increasing the level of care for animals for sale.

According to our news partners at The Providence Journal, one of the considerations before the committee is to make mistreatment of a pet that results in death, a felony.

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