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Animal welfare groups awarded nearly $470,000
By Chris Barnett / November 14, 2016 /   Loading Disqus...
The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded nearly $470,000 in grants to fund 28 animal welfare programs across the state ranging from a low-cost statewide spay/neutering program for the pets of needy Rhode Islanders to humane 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.

“Animal welfare grants actually reach much further than is obvious. For instance, a grant to help emergency pet sheltering saves human lives because people will heed evacuation warnings if they have somewhere to take their pets, where they would not if they had to leave their pets in harm’s way,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Scott Marshall.

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, 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 (OSAC), which received $49,500, primarily to provide needy 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.

“Our van drives all over Rhode Island, ensuring that animals in the care of shelters and rescue organizations, as well as pets whose owners could not otherwise get to us, can have the surgery they need. We could not continue to offer affordable and accessible transport and surgical services without this support,” said Liz Skrobisch, OSAC’s executive director.

Other major grants included:

Paws Watch of North Kingstown received $32,000 to expand its efforts to manage the state’s growing free-roaming cat population. The work includes supporting spay and neuter programs as well as leading a statewide education and advocacy program that focuses on growing the network of stakeholders, including animal welfare groups and state and municipal officials.

The town of Burrillville received $23,000 to replace every cat cage at the municipal animal shelter.

“Our cages are more than 20 years old. They are in disrepair and replacement parts are no longer available. Some of our cages are also non-compliant with recently enacted regulations regarding size and flooring, rendering them unable to be used and lessening the number of cats we are able to house and care for at the shelter,” said Kerry Courtemanche, deputy animal control officer.

Pets in Need Veterinary Clinic in East Providence received $20,000 to purchase surgery supplies. The veterinary clinic, which opened in June, is expected to see 2,800 patients during its first year of operation.

“We estimate we will perform about 500 surgeries. This funding will enable us to purchase supplies, including sterile scrubs, gloves and gowns; intravenous catheters, anesthetics and scalpels,” said Dr. Hank Wietsma, executive director.

The other recipients are:

Animal Rescue Rhode Island of South Kingstown received $12,000 to provide spay and neuter services. Last year, 370 animals were adopted from the shelter.

“We need to make sure all adult pets are fixed before being adopted. With our new facility and increased capacity, we are expecting an increase in the number of animals we will be able to save,” said Susan Lovejoy, interim executive director.

Foster Parrots in Hopkinton received $18,000 for humane education programs, adoption services and supplies, including food, veterinary care and upgrades in aviaries and animal environments. Nearly 400 parrots and other displaced exotic animals live at its New England Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary in Hope Valley.

“Many of these birds and animals have come from situations of abuse or neglect and now can depend on a high quality of care at the sanctuary where we strive to support natural, healthy behavior, to offer nutritional diets and provide unconditional, specialized veterinary care,” said Karen Windsor, executive director.

Friends of Animals In Need
in North Kingstown received $15,000 to support its Veterinary Care Assistance Program. The program 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.

“The goal of the program is to help keep pets and their people together,” said Russ Shabo, president.

Friends of Central Falls Animals received $17,500 to spay or neuter over 150 pet and feral cats as well as to provide medical treatment, including distemper and rabies vaccinations and implanting microchips in every owned or adopted cat it treats.

Friends of Exeter Animals received $10,000 to update and repair the kennels that house large dogs at the Exeter Animal Shelter.

Friends of the Scituate Animal Shelter received $3,000 to support medical testing and treatment. The program provides wellness care for incoming animals, including blood tests, spay and neuter services, vaccinations and tests for common diseases or ailments.

Friends of the Westerly Animal Shelter
received $3,000 to provide dietary and medical care, and promote adoptability.

“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.

The North Kingstown Animal Protection League
received $10,000 to provide shelter and medical care for cats in danger of being euthanized.

“We are dedicated to our no-kill policy. Sometimes we get urgent calls begging us to take in a pet that is endangered or whose days are numbered. If we can possibly find room for them, we will not turn away any adoptable pets,” said Renate Sager-Daniels, president.

The Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown received $10,000 to support its Animal Ambassador Program, which offers care and enrichment for raptors, mammals, amphibians and reptiles.

“We provide, teach and model the highest standard of animal care for the diverse group of animals that both support and rely on us. They are integral to experiential learning curriculum for school children and community members from all walks of life,” said Natasha Harrison, executive director.

PAAWS RI in Warwick received $25,000 to provide veterinary assistance for pets, shelter animals and stray cats.

The Pawtucket Animal Shelter received $10,000 to support its Shelter Improvement Project. Work will include painting the interior of the shelter and creating exercise and socialization space for cats waiting for adoption as well as funding to purchase and distribute humane education materials.”

"This grant will greatly improve socialization and enrichment opportunities for cats that are required to stay at the shelter for extended time periods," said Renee Massie, shelter administrator.

The Providence Animal Rescue League in Providence received $24,000 to upgrade cat habitats in its Cat Intake Room, along with larger, flexible mobile habitats for its soon to be renovated cat adoption area.

“We believe in the importance of giving each and every animal we take in the best chance possible at a bright future. From intake to adoption, innovative, safe and low-stress habitats are important for our animals to thrive,” said Connie Kile, fundraising manager.

The RIVMA Companion Animal Foundation (CAF) in Providence received $15,000 to ensure that pet owners experiencing financial hardship are able to access veterinary care for their pets.

“We are grateful for the RI Foundation’s ongoing support of our voucher program. The CAF will use these funds to provide 150 pet owners with voucher certificates that can be redeemed at participating veterinary clinics across the state,” said Dr. David Sweet, president of the CAF Board of Directors. “This program is designed to overcome barriers like cost and transportation that too often prevent pets from receiving basic health care or treatment when they are sick."

The R.I. Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
in East Providence received $11,412 to purchase medical equipment for its veterinary clinic and agility equipment to help dogs with exercise and enrichment. The clinic operates three days a week.

“Our clinic treats animals that have been surrendered to us, seized as a result of a cruelty investigation, or are owned by elderly or disabled residents,” said Dr. Ernest Finocchio, president.

The Sea Research Foundation received $15,000 in support of Mystic Aquarium's Animal Rescue Program, which rescues and rehabilitates injured or sick marine mammals and sea turtles. Since 1990, more than 82 percent of the animals cared for were rescued in Rhode Island.

“As part of Mystic Aquarium’s mission to protect our ocean planet, the goal of the Animal Rescue Program is to promote conservation of marine mammals and other species through welfare and safety. We provide not only direct response and rehabilitation to animals in need, but also public outreach to foster awareness,” said Janelle Schuh, stranding coordinator.

The Robert Potter League for Animals in Newport received two grants, including $25,000 to support humane education programs in Newport County schools, which reach over 6,300 students with 650 lessons each year.

“To support our mission to foster relationships between people and animals, the Potter League offers programs that promote humane values and compassion. Humane education plays a vital role in our commitment to reduce pet overpopulation, homelessness and suffering. We have offered our curriculum for 34 years and see the long-term benefit to the animals as well as the positive social and educational change for students,” said Eleanor Hanson, humane educator.

The Potter League also received $15,000 to expand the CoyoteSmarts public education program, which it offers in partnership with the Conservation Agency, R.I. Natural History Survey, Aquidneck Land Trust and Norman Bird Sanctuary.

“Five nonprofit agencies have come together to collaboratively address the growing presence of coyotes throughout Rhode Island. 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 Potter League Executive Director Christie Smith.

The Roger Williams Park Zoo
received $15,000 to improve the habitat for its two takin, Chopper and Harley. A large goat antelope native to Asia, takin can reach four feet in height and weigh up to 880 pounds. Both males and females have thick, curled horns that extend back above the head.

“This is an effort to fix and rehabilitate the exhibit. It will be done in order to ensure healthier footing and much needed shade for the takin. Additional ramps will be built to also ease the relationship between the keepers and their animals,” said Brooke Fairman, development director.

Stand Up for Animals received $20,000 to provide medication and veterinary care for cats and dogs at its Westerly shelter.

“By providing these services prior to adoption, we ensure that our animals and their new families get off a healthy start,” said Lina C. O’Leary, president. “Without the proper vaccines and spay and neuter services, everyone would be at a severe disadvantage.”

Tails To Teach (TTT) of East Greenwich received $35,000 to expand its Whole School Initiative, which brings humane education to schools. Last year, it served more than 900 elementary school students.

"This grant makes it possible for TTT to expand our successful Whole School Initiative in RI’s under-served urban schools, reaching every student in grades K-5, in order to create a community where kindness, compassion and empathy are practiced throughout each day,” said Laura Carlson, founder and director.

The University of Rhode Island’s W. Alton Jones campus in West Greenwich received $3,985 to improve the health of pasture grasses at its Woodvale Farm, by applying lime and fertilizer to approximately 10 acres of pasture land.

The pastures serve as a seasonal home to many grazing animals from local farms that partner with URI to provide animals for humane education. Last year, approximately 5,000 children, visited the campus to participate in environmental education that included lessons related to animal welfare.

West Place Animal Sanctuary in Tiverton received $18,000 to support its Nutritional Support and Medical Care Program. The program funds a variety of 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 over a dozen types of both commercial and naturally grown food, and this support is key to our program,” said Wendy Taylor, executive director.

The town of Westerly received $3,000 for services at the Westerly Animal Shelter, including hosting a microchip and wellness clinic and offering continuing education opportunities for shelter staff.

“Thanks to this support, the Westerly Animal Shelter continues to offer much needed wellness programs to our community. In the ever-changing animal field, enabling support of staff to learn new procedures and best practices helps to keep us one of the four premier shelters in Rhode Island,” said Tammy Loughlin, shelter manager.

Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island in North Kingstown received $10,677 to add more outdoor caging in response to the increasing number of birds and animals that it receives for care.

"This year alone, we will handle more than 5,000 injured and orphaned birds and animals requiring our care to survive. This grant allows us to add to our existing caging to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of wild patients we assist," said Kristin Fletcher, executive director.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2015, the Foundation awarded $41.5 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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