The Humane Society of the United States honored two members of the Rhode Island Senate this week.

Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) and Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) received the Humane State Legislator Award, which is given annually to lawmakers “who are breaking new ground for animal welfare,” according to Joanne Bourbeau, Northeast Regional Director for the Humane Society.

President Ruggerio, who received the Humane State Legislator Award for the fourth time, was recognized for his work on the passage of Rhode Island’s 2019 puppy mill law.

Senator Euer was honored for her work on both the puppy mill legislation and for being the primary sponsor of a bill, introduced in 2020, seeking to phase-out fur sales.

The Humane Society says in a press release that puppy mills are high-volume dog breeding facilities focused on maximizing profits rather than providing for the needs of animals. Dogs raised in such settings often endure inhumane conditions, become ill and suffer from lack of proper socialization. The 2019 law aims to protect both animals and consumers from the cruel and deception practices of puppy mills, which often operate outside Rhode Island’s borders. Boubeau said the law has been a “game-changer.”

“Puppy mills are inhumane and wrong, and I’m proud of the action Rhode Island has taken on this issue,” said President Ruggerio. “I want to thank the Humane Society for this recognition and for its tireless work to end the cruel treatment of animals.”

“Protecting and improving conditions for animals is an ongoing effort,” said Senator Euer. “The Humane Society is an indispensable resource and ally in this work, and I greatly appreciate this award.”

“We are beyond grateful to President Ruggerio and Senator Euer for their vision and leadership, which has resulted in so many advances for animals in the state,” said Bourbeau. “And we look forward to continuing to work together with state lawmakers here in Rhode Island to create a truly humane society for all of its inhabitants.”

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).