Rhode Island Foundation awards $480,000 in grants for animal welfare

 Rhode Island Foundation awards $480,000 in grants for animal welfare

Podcast grants for animal welfare

PROVIDENCE, RI (Nov. 16, 2018) – The Rhode Island Foundation announced today that nearly two dozen animal welfare programs across the state will share nearly $480,000 in grants. The grants will fund low-cost vet care for the pets of needy owners, raptor rehabilitation and a coyote education campaign among other programs.

“The generosity of our donors and the commitment of our partners are expanding humane education, increasing awareness and improving the quality of animal care in Rhode Island,” said Adrian Bonéy, who oversees the Foundation’s Program for Animal Welfare (PAW). “Their work is producing new approaches to animal welfare and increasing the number of animals receiving direct care across Rhode Island.”

PAW funds organizations that promote and provide humane treatment of animals or work more generally on the welfare of animals. Grants are for projects or programs that have a positive impact locally or statewide on animal care, education about the humane treatment of animals and animal welfare in general.

The largest award was made to the Potter League for Animals in Middletown, which received a total of $55,000. The organization was awarded $30,000 to underwrite surgeries, supplies and staffing for its on-site medical suite. The organization expects to perform surgeries on approximately 500 animals next year.

“Many animals are ill or injured when they come here. Some are merely older and have special needs that must be addressed before they can be adopted into new homes. This grant enables us to ensure that orphaned animals will receive the care they need and deserve,” said Brad Shear, executive director.

The Potter League also received $15,000 for its CoyoteSmarts public education program, which is offered in partnership with the Conservation Agency, R.I. Natural History Survey, Aquidneck Land Trust and Norman Bird Sanctuary. The funds will support the program’s campaign coordinator and educator positons.

“For the past six years, we’ve worked together to address the growing incidence of coyotes in our community. Our goal is to increase public awareness of coyotes, encourage best management practices and promote effective strategies for keeping pets, families and communities safe,” said Shear.

The organization also was awarded $10,000 for humane education programs in local schools.

Twenty-two other organizations also received funding.

Burrillville Animal Control received $6,100 to buy 18, insulated exterior kennel doors that will give dogs more room to roam without taxing the facility’s HVAC system. More than 200 dogs are expected to benefit from the grant.

“These additional exterior doors will allow dogs longer periods of dual indoor-outdoor access, helping to maintain housebreaking and giving them more freedom of movement , which is beneficial to their physical and mental wellbeing,” said Michael Wood, town manager.


Foster Parrots in Hope Valley received $25,000, primarily to support costs for food and specialty diets, veterinary care and adoption services. Over 400 parrots and other displaced exotic animals reside at its sanctuary facility, The New England Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary.

“This grant will enable us to continue rescue activity throughout the community and to deliver outstanding care to all of our birds and animals,” said Danika Oriol-Morway, sanctuary director. “It will help us to continue our adoption activity, finding good homes for parrots in transition whose needs can best be met in the home environment rather than in sanctuary. It will also support our humane education work, which is inherent in every aspect of our operations.”

Friends of Animals In Need in North Kingstown received $20,000 for its Veterinary Care Assistance Program, which supports medical care for companion animals whose owners need financial assistance, in an effort to help prevent the abandonment, surrender or euthanizing of a pet.

“Our goal is to keep people and their beloved pets together.  These are people whose pets have been an integral part of their family life.  In some cases, as with the elderly or widowed, their pets fill an emotional void by providing them with love, companionship, comfort and purpose,” said Russ Shabo, executive director.

“Working with reduced-fee veterinary services, we attempt to address the medical needs of their pets, throughout Rhode Island, by underwriting the cost of needed veterinary care.  The bond and attachment of these people to their pets is strong, as they have loved and cared for them for most of their pets’ lives,” he said.


Friends of Central Falls Animals received $25,000 for its Fix Me 4 initiative, which underwrites the cost of spay and neuter procedures; testing and treatments, including vaccinations, preventative medicines and implanting microchips in every pet or adopted animal it treats.

“Our goal is to spay or neuter a total of approximately 200 cats, both feral, free-roaming cats and pet cats, as well as approximately 50 dogs,” said David Riseberg, president.  “Medical care would include distemper and rabies vaccines for cats and distemper/parvo and rabies vaccines for dogs. Dogs will also receive a heartworm or more extensive blood test at the time of spay or neuter. And all pets being spayed or neutered can receive a microchip as well.”

Friends of the Scituate Animal Shelter received $3,000 to prepare animals for adoption. The work includes blood tests, spay and neuter services, vaccinations and tests for common diseases or ailments.

“For animals with severe medical conditions, such as those requiring surgeries or amputations, it provides for life-saving action which would not normally be taken because of the costs involved,” said Carol Palmer, president.

Mystic Aquarium received $16,000 to support its work rescuing and rehabilitating injured or sick marine mammals and sea turtles. More than half the calls it responds to each year come from Rhode Island.

“Every year dozens of these animals end up on stranded on our shores due to sickness, debilitation, malnutrition or dehydration due to pollution and lack of food, among other causes. They would be unable to return to the ocean environment without our help,” said Stephen M. Coan, president and CEO of Mystic Aquarium.

Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown received $11,000 for its Animal Ambassador Program. The funding will provide food, supplies and veterinary care for the animals that are part of its educational programming.

“We deliver, teach and model the highest standard of animal care for the diverse collection of animals that both support and rely on us. They are critical to our experiential learning curriculum for school children and visitors from the community,” said Natasha Harrison, executive director.

Ocean State Animal Coalition in Warwick received $31,250 to provide pet owners statewide with low-cost spay and neuter services for their dogs and cats and free transportation to the R.I. Community Spay/Neuter Clinic in Warwick, where the procedures are performed.

“This grant enables us to continue to remove barriers that prevent many dogs and cats from receiving needed spay and neuter surgical services. The R.I. Community Spay Neuter Clinic van travels across the state, ensuring that animals in the care of shelters and rescue organizations and pets whose owners could not otherwise get to us, can have the surgery they need,” said Laura Carlson, president of OSAC’s Board of Directors.

PAAWS RI in Warwick received $25,000 this year for the care and medical rehabilitation of sick and injured RI animals.  All animals are brought back to optimal health and spayed or neutered, prior to placement in permanent homes. More than 200 animals are expected to be treated in the coming year.

«Many of our patients are abandoned former pets that have fared poorly trying to live on the streets.  With this grant, we will be able to bring many animals back to good health, through vaccinations, deworming, spay or neuter services and other medical and surgical care if it is called for, such as eye removals, amputations, broken leg repair, bladder stone removals, wound care and many other procedures, said Annette Rauch, president of the Board of Directors.

PawsWatch of North Kingstown received $35,000 to expand its efforts to manage the state’s free-roaming-cat over-population challenge. The work includes supporting spay and neuter procedures as well as other veterinary care.

“We will address the complexities of RI’s free-roaming cat challenge and pursue solutions to the state’s free-roaming cat overpopulation problem,” said Gil Fletcher, chairman of the Board of directors. “The astounding number of cats without homes, their poor living conditions and their dreadful mortality rates are clear evidence of the need.”

Pet Refuge – the Exeter/North Kingstown Animal Protection League received $10,000 prepare shelter animals to for adoption, including spay and neuter procedures, medical exams and medical care, medicine, vaccinations and surgeries.

“A staggering number of cats, pregnant cats and kittens are brought to the Pet Refuge, but we are committed to ensuring their health and finding suitable homes for all of them,” said Renate Sager-Daniels, president of the organization.

The Pets in Need Veterinary Clinic in East Providence received $31,500 for vaccines and surgical supplies, include anesthesia, oxygen, IV catheters and antibiotics. The clinic treated nearly 3,000 animals last year.

“Our goal is provide necessary surgical treatment and wellness care for pets of low-income owners. We want to provide as many life-saving surgical procedures as we can and keep these animals in loving homes,” said Hank Wietsma, the clinic’s chief veterinarian and executive director.

Providence Animal Control received $33,305 to upgrade the dog kennels at the Providence Animal Shelter by resurfacing 36 exterior doors and replacing 11 interior kennel doors.

“The existing kennel doors were transplanted from the old shelter, resulting in substandard fit and failure to contain dogs. The new system will provide crucial safety for employees, volunteers and the public and reduce stress and barrier frustration for our dogs,” said Erika Cole, director.

The Providence Animal Rescue League received $9,735 to support buy a scale and microchip scanner, portals for cat cages and dog training equipment. The shelter sees about 1,500 animals a year.

“The more confined, immobile, and unenriched cats are, the more likely they are to become ill and experience a longer stay in the shelter. Portals may seem small, but doubling a cat’s space and allowing them to engage in more natural behaviors puts them at ease and decreases their length of stay,” said Chad Nelson, executive director.

The Providence Police Department’s Mounted Command received $10,000 to install three, 12’ x 12’ paddock shelters at its headquarters in Roger Williams Park. The command handles enforcement activities and crowd control at large-scale events as well as providing community relations services at parades and school functions.

“The paddocks have little shade or protection from the elements. Our mounts are large horses that need space and room to roam free when they are outside of their barn stalls,” said Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré ”These shelters will enable our mounts safe space to protect them from the elements.”

The Rhode Island Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) in East Providence received $22,550 for professional training and certification education for animal control officers and to provide temporary shelter for pets whose owners are disabled veterans, victims of domestic abuse, hospitalized because of illness or individuals with substance use disorder who are seeking treatment.

“These situations are heartbreaking. While owners never want to live apart from their pets, they recognize that they are currently not able to provide for them. Our goal is to give owners an option other than permanently giving up their pets,” said Ernest Finocchio, RISPCA president.

The Roger Williams Park Zoo received $33,950 to supports the Zoo’s efforts to earn national accreditation from American Humane, which will certify the Zoo’s adherence to best practices in animal care.

“Earning this certification will enable us to future demonstrate our commitment to strong, science-based standards for the care of the animals in our zoo,” said Jeremy Goodman, executive director.

The RIVMA Companion Animal Foundation in Providence received $12,000 to help pet owners who are experiencing financial hardship to pay for veterinary care for their animals. The grant is expected to help more than 100 pet owners.

“Every day vets across Rhode Island see pet owners who are struggling to make ends meet. Sometimes, they are faced with unbearable decisions about the future of their pets because they cannot afford to pay for vet care. We will give them vouchers that can be used at participating veterinary clinics all over the state,” said Oni Springer-Slepkow, president of the board of directors.

Stand Up for Animals in Westerly received $24,000 to provide veterinary assistance and medications and make improvements to the facility that will keep it warmer in the winter and provide more space for the cats in its care. The organization estimates the grant will enable it to treat approximately 600 dogs and cats.

“We make every effort to return animals to their owners or to place them in a new, safe and forever loving home. By providing vet care and spay or neuter services prior to adoption, we ensure that new owners and their pets begin their lives together with a healthy start,” said Lina Carreiro O’Leary, president.

A supplemental heating system will be installed in the dog kennels, which are the coldest area of the facility, and enclosed walkways will connect the cat cages in order to enable the animals to move freely from cage to cage.

West Place Animal Sanctuary in Tiverton received $26,160, primarily for food and medical care. The organization provides shelter and rehabilitation for a variety of livestock and wildlife, including many that are injured, disabled or suffering from abuse or neglect.

“The funding will directly benefits our rescues, as we utilize a large dedicated volunteer base and grow some of the animals’ food right at the sanctuary. This grant will help us continue to grow our mission and to serve animals in need in Rhode Island,” said Wendy Taylor, executive director.

“Our animals require more than a dozen types of commercial and naturally grown food. We provide a variety of nutrition, supplements and acres of rotational grazing areas. We grow much of the natural food needed for the adult wildlife and rescued birds, and several healthy natural fruits, vegetables and treats for the farm animals,” she said.

The Westerly Animal Shelter received $6,450 to purchase microchips, veterinary supplies, raised cat beds, dog leads, live animal traps for rescue and humane education summer camp supplies.

“Every animal that comes to us gets a complete check-up, including spay/neuter services, vaccines and microchips. Microchipping animals enables us to reunite strays with their owners faster, which frees up space for other animals,” said Erika Lebling, shelter director.

“With the ongoing rise in animals coming through the shelter, replacing worn-out equipment and re-stocking supplies is crucial. This grant allows us to continue providing our community with a premier shelter and services,” she said.

Wild Newport received $6,525 to purchase a portable and expandable safety enclosure for raptor care and rehabilitation. The Mews structure will allow the organization to expand its care of injured raptors found on Aquidneck Island by caring for them on site, rather than transporting them to other facilities.

«We have rescued a wide variety of over 95 animals so far this year, and look forward to working with our local community to expand our rescue and rehabilitation efforts for wildlife in Rhode Island,” said Jody Giddings, Executive Director.

PAW is funded with assistance from the Virginia B. Butler Fund, Abbie A. Brougham Memorial Fund, Ginger, Sheba and Susie Carr Fund, Chariho Westerly Animal Rescue League Animal Welfare Fund, Mary Lou Crandall Fund, Julius and Lena DelPapa Memorial Fund, John Richard Duhamel Fund for Animals,  Jeanne Marie Mehmed Fund, Vernon and Mary Pierce Fund, Helen Walker Raleigh Animal Fund, Ilon Sillmon/Sara Andrews Endowment Fund, Vinny Animal Welfare Fund and Dawn, Gregg and Leland Weingeroff Animal Fund.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $38 million and awarded $43 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2017. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit rifoundation.org.