RI state senator not hopeful about prospects for dog leash bill

Providence, R.I. – State Sen. John Tassoni could be known as Senator Humane. He's gotten legislation passed that requires the spaying and neutering of shelter pets and has abolished the use of gas in euthanizing pets. But he's having a tough time with another issue: the tethering of dogs outdoors.

Last week the state Senate approved a bill that sets guidelines and penalties for anyone that keeps a dog outside without adequate shelter from the elements. It was the third time the state Senate had approved it, but in three years the House has never considered it. The bill's sponsor, Senator John Tassoni of Smithfield, expects the same outcome when the legislature adjourns this week.

"My understanding is the House doesn't want to do any animal bills this year like it didn't want to do any last year which is unfortunate," Tassoni says. "My theory is that if it doesn't affect anyone in that building they just turn a blind eye to it."

House spokesman Larry Berman says no decisions have been finalized about which bills will be heard in the final week of the session. But it's not on the House Judiciary Committee calendar, which is where it would have to start its House-bound journey.