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That Doggie in the Window - Bringing it Home

Who hasn't been charmed by a pet store puppy? Thousands of puppies are purchased each year from pet stores in Rhode Island and most transactions are entirely satisfactory. However, there are times when you may have a question, or a concern, or a complaint.

The Department of Environmental Management's animal health unit licenses pet stores in Rhode Island. In general, questions and concerns about the condition of animals at pet stores or the condition of the stores themselves would most appropriately be directed to DEM.

However, questions about sales contracts and business practices would be directed to the consumer protection unit at the state Attorney General's office.

More specifically, contact DEM's Animal Health Unit at (401) 222-2781 about:
  • Abuse, neglect or cruelty
  • Animal care - overcrowding, inadequate cage size
  • Animal health
    • Apparent signs of reportable disease such as coughing, or vomit/diarrhea while in store or after purchase
    • Injury while in store
  • Health certificates - origin of puppies
  • Public health - reportable disease and/or zoonosis
  • Rabies notification - required by state law
  • Store conditions - cleanliness of cages, food and water
  • Store license
  • Store policy for returns due to illness
Contact the RI Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit at 274-4400 about:
  • Business practices or policies
  • Congenital or hereditary illness or disease
  • Consumer fraud or misrepresentation
  • Contract/sales agreement violations such as AKC papers, pedigree information, health guarantee or return of puppy for refund
RI Department of Environmental Management
Division of Agriculture
Animal Health Unit

For General Information 222-6800 • After Hours Emergencies 222-3070 • Disclaimer
rev. 3/19/14