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Animal welfare groups receive $470,000
By Chris Barnett / November 20, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...

The Rhode Island Foundation has announced more than $470,000 in grants to fund animal welfare programs across the state ranging from low-cost spay and neuter programs and humane education to seal rescues and coyote education.

“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 humane education 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.

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, 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 largest award was made to the Ocean State Animal Coalition of Warwick, which received $45,175, primarily to offer low-cost or free spay and neuter procedures and other veterinary care for shelter animals, feral cats and pets throughout Rhode Island. The services include free transportation to the Rhode Island Community Spay/Neuter Clinic in Warwick, where the procedures are performed.

“We travel all over the state making sure that animals in the care of shelters and rescue organizations, as well as pets whose owners could not otherwise get to us, receive the care they need. We could not continue to offer affordable and accessible transport and surgical services without this support,” said Joe Warzycha, immediate-past president of OSAC’s board of directors.

The Potter League for Animals in Middletown received two grants totaling $40,000.

The Potter League received $25,000 to support 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 sick or injured when they arrive here. Some are simply older and have special needs to be addressed before they can be adopted to their new homes. This grant allows us to make sure 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 five years, we’ve worked collaboratively to address the growing presence of coyotes in our community. Our goal is to raise public awareness of coyotes, encourage best management practices and promote effective strategies for keeping pets, families and communities safe,” said Shear.

The other recipients are:

Animal Rescue Rhode Island, in Wakefield, received $15,000 to provide spay and neuter services.

“Animal Rescue Rhode Island (ARRI) rescues abandoned, abused and surrendered animals. We nurture and work with them to become adoptable pets and we find permanent loving adoptive homes for them,” said Michele Vidmar, executive director.

“With our new facility, ARRI has been able to rescue and place over 400 animals in the past year. We are committed to supporting animal welfare through humane education. ARRI was started in 1938 and is a private non-profit organization that receives no government funding. We rely on donations and grants such as this Animal Welfare Grant from the Rhode Island Foundation,” she said.

Foster Parrots of Hope Valley received $25,000 to support costs for food and specialty diets, veterinary care, aviary upgrades and enrichments, and the expansion of their adoption program. Over 400 parrots and other displaced exotic animals are residents of Foster Parrots’ sanctuary facility, The New England Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary, in Hope Valley.

“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,” she said.

Friends of Animals In Need in North Kingstown received $15,000 to support its Veterinary Care Assistance Program, which provides 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 3 initiative, which underwrites the cost of spay/neuter procedures, testing and treatments, including vaccinations, preventative medicines and implanting microchips in every pet or adopted animal it treats. The grant will enable the organization to expand its spay/neuter program for dogs from just pit bulls to all dogs regardless of breed.

“Our goal is to spay/neuter up to 100 feral, free-roaming cats and 150 pet cats and, for the first time in our city, all types of dogs too,” said David Riseberg, president. “Medical care would include canine distemper/parvo and rabies vaccines. Dogs will also receive a heartworm or more extensive blood test at the time of spay and neuter. And all pets being spayed/neutered will receive flea treatments.”

Friends of the Scituate Animal Shelter received $3,000 for its Medical Testing and Treatment program. The initiative provides wellness care for incoming animals, including 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 Richard Pincince, vice president.

Friends of the Westerly Animal Shelter received $3,000 to for its Animal Welfare Management Program. The funds will cover food for special diets and medications, promoting adoptability and supplies, including microchips for shelter animals.               

“Our goal is to improve the quality of life for shelter animals, increase their adoptability and reach into the community to enhance the quality of life for animals everywhere,” said Sandi Grinnell, president.

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.

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/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, chair of the board of directors.

Providence Animal Control received $30,000 to upgrade the dog kennels at the Providence Animal Shelter by replacing 20-old-doors with custom door systems designed specifically for shelter.

“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 Pets in Need Veterinary Clinic in East Providence received $30,900 to purchase vaccination and surgical supplies. The clinic has treated more than 2,100 animals since opening last year.

“Our goal is provide necessary surgical treatment and wellness care for pets of low-income owners. Our core vaccinations include rabies for cats and dogs as well as combination feline and canine distemper vaccines. We strive to vaccinate as many qualified pets as possible in order to prevent animal diseases and to decrease the risk of human exposure to zoonotic diseases,” said Dr. Hank Wietsma, the clinic’s executive director.

The Rhode Island Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals received $4,500 to purchase a Safe Capture Animal Drop Net.  The net can be used to capture a wide variety of animals that are lost or have escaped from their habitat.  

“The animal live-capture drop net is unique to all other safe-capture mechanisms and it often used when all other options fail. Most traditional capture mechanisms utilize a cage system, which can be a deterrent for some animals and are also limited by size. The safe capture drop net is suspended on four corner poles, remotely activated and capable of being used for larger animals,” said Dr. Ernest Finocchio, president.

The RIVMA Companion Animal Foundation in Providence received $20,000 to enable pet owners who are experiencing financial hardship to get veterinary care for their pets. The grant is expected to help 200 pets.

“We will provide low-income pet owners with vouchers that can be used at participating veterinary clinics throughout the state,” said Dr. David Sweet, president of the board of directors. “This program is designed to overcome barriers like cost and transportation that too often prevent pets from receiving basic preventative health care or vital treatment when they are sick.”

The Sea Research Foundation received $15,000 to support the Mystic Aquarium’s work rescuing and rehabilitating injured or sick marine mammals and sea turtles.

“We promote conservation of marine mammals and other species through world-class animal care and education. We not only rescue and rehabilitate animals in need, but we work to foster awareness; providing public useful information when encountering an animal that may appear to be in distress,” said Janelle Schuh, Stranding Coordinator for Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program.

Stand Up for Animals in Westerly received $21,000 to provide veterinary assistance, medications and microchips for every animal offered for adoption. The organization estimates the grant will enable it to treat approximately 700 dogs and cats. 

“In a struggling economy, pet owners often have to choose between their own medical care and a pet’s care. By providing subsidized veterinary care, we are ensuring families and their new pets begin their lives together with a healthy start,” said Lina Carreiro O'Leary, president.

Tails To Teach of East Greenwich received $40,000 to expand its Whole School Initiative, which brings humane education lessons to public schools. Last year, it served more than 900 elementary school students.

"This grant enables us to expand our successful Whole School Initiative in Rhode Island’s under-served urban schools. Our goal is to someday reach every student in grades K-5, in order to create a community where kindness, compassion and empathy are practiced every day,” said Laura Carlson, founder and director.

The town of Westerly received $6,000 to purchase equipment, including new litter pans, bowls and two surgical spay pacs for its animal shelter.

“With the continued increase in animals passing through the shelter, we need to replace worn-out equipment and re-stock. That will enable us to continue to provide the community with the peace of mind to know they have a premier shelter that has the highest standard of sterility and functional equipment,” said Tammy Loughlin, shelter director.

The grant will also support staff development and a two-week summer camp in conjunction with the Ocean Community YMCA. About 30 youngsters will learn about pet responsibility, classifications and adaptations, agility, pet therapy, K-9 training, and what it is like to be a vet. 

Volunteer Services for Animals received $15,000 to subsidize the veterinary treatment of companion animals owned by low-income individuals.

“We will help indigent, elderly and disabled persons give their sick and aging pets needed veterinary care. Some of these pets have either never been seen by a veterinarian or have not had care in a long time because of the lack of funds. The pets need care for tumors, parasites, blood tests, dental extraction, to name a few including spay/neuter,” said Joanne Rongo, chair of the board of directors.

West Place Animal Sanctuary in Tiverton received $22,000 to support its Nutritional Support and Medical Care Program. The Sanctuary provides shelter and care for a variety of wildlife and farm animals, many that come to the facility injured, disabled or suffering from abuse or neglect.  The grant will fund food, nutritional supplements and grazing areas as well as emergency medical services and other needed health-related services, such as dental and hoof care.

“Our animals require more than a dozen types of commercial and naturally grown food. We provide a variety of food, supplements and rotational grazing areas. We also grow much of the natural food needed for the adult wildlife, and several healthy natural treats for the large animals,” said Wendy Taylor, executive director. 

Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island in North Kingstown received $22,750 to build a new 15,000-square-foot, outdoor deer enclosure for injured or orphaned white-tail deer fawns. 

"We treat 10 to 15 animals a year. The reasons for their intake range from dog and wild animal attacks and hit by car injuries to orphaning," said Kristin Fletcher, executive director.

“Our existing deer pen is no longer sufficiently repairable to ensure the safety of the fawns against predators.  Despite annual attempts to repair the structure and surrounding fence, coyotes were able to access fawns two years ago with devastating results,” she said.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island.  In 2016, the Foundation awarded a record $45 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.

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