PORTSMOUTH, R.I. \u2014\u00a0The governor has signed into law legislation sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne and Rep. Dennis M. Canario to establish laws distinguishing those who petsit in their own homes from professionally operated kennels.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe legislation (2018-S 2510Aaa,\u00a02018-H 7409A), which was signed by Gov. Gina M. Raimondo June 28 and took effect immediately, exempts people who petsit up to four pets belonging to someone else in exchange for a fee from the regulations governing kennels, but does make them subject to limited inspections by the Department of Environmental Management if it receives any complaints about them related to animal welfare. Petsitters remain subject to all municipal ordinances.\r\n\r\nThe sponsors say the new law protects pets and their owners, while also establishing safeguards for the many Rhode Islanders who supplement their families\u2019 income by pet sitting.\r\n\r\n\u201cPetsitters provide an important service to so many families who want their pets to be comfortable while they\u2019re away, while also providing income to many Rhode Islanders who love animals. Our legislation strikes a balance that ensures that pets are well-cared for, and carefully protects against overregulation of a cottage industry that helps support Rhode Islanders,\u201d said Senator Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence). \u201cPetsitting is a valuable service, but petsitters are just ordinary people who aren\u2019t doing this on a large scale, so they shouldn\u2019t have to jump through hoops to keep doing it.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cIn many cases, particularly with older pets or those that might be skittish, people are more comfortable leaving their pet with a pet sitter than in a kennel. Our bill recognizes that pet sitting is a legitimate option, providing important protections against animal abuse and neglect, and setting reasonable limits to keep people from running unlicensed kennels that bring large numbers of animals into a residential setting,\u201d said Representative Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton).\r\n\r\nThe law establishes that if DEM receives a complaint related to animal health, welfare or health, it could inspect only the areas of a pet sitter's home to which the pets have access. All petsitters would be required to comply with very basic state animal care regulations that apply to kennels. Inspections could only occur between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. unless other arrangements are made with the petsitter. Refusal to grant access to the inspection would be punishable by a civil fine of up to $350 per day.\r\n\r\nThe bill was supported by the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Potter League for Animals, DEM and the State Veterinarian.