February 10, 2022
By Christian Winthrop
Three Newport County groups are among the animal welfare programs that will share nearly $500,000 in grants from the Rhode Island Foundation. The funding will support a range of uses including low-cost vet care for pets of low-income households, preparing animals for adoption and wildlife rehabilitation.
“The generosity of our donors and the commitment of our grantee partners is expanding humane education, increasing care options for shelter animals and pets owned by low-income households, 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 innovation, 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.
Thirteen special funds at the Foundation relate to the humane treatment and protection of animals. Collectively, these funds enable the Foundation to take a leading role on animal welfare issues.
The single largest recipient is the Potter League for Animals in Middletown, which received a total of $100,000. The grants include $20,000 to support veterinary care at its Animal Resource and Adoption Center in Middletown; $10,000 for humane education programming in Newport County, $30,000 to subsidize surgeries and transportation at its Spay and Neuter Clinic and $40,000 to purchase medical supplies for its Pets In Need clinic.
The facilities provide services, including veterinary care focused on pet owners with low-incomes, including people receiving public assistance, residents of subsidized housing and people who are unsheltered.
“We believe that by supporting the most vulnerable pet owners, they, in turn, are not forced to make difficult decisions about paying for veterinary care over other necessities. These programs keep families whole by providing pet food, temporary housing, veterinary care, behavior advice, and other essentials that keep pets out of shelters,” said Potter CEO Brad Shear.
The other recipients include CoyoteSmarts in Middletown received $5,000 for its public education efforts, in partnership with the Potter League for Animals, the Conservation Agency, the R.I. Natural History Survey, the Aquidneck Land Trust and the Norman Bird Sanctuary.
“For many years, we’ve worked cooperatively to address the growing presence of coyotes in our community. Our objective is to raise public awareness of coyotes, encourage best management practices and promote effective strategies for keeping pets and people safe,” said Potter CEO Shear.
West Place Animal Sanctuary in Tiverton received $25,000. 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 grant will provide food and medical care, including veterinary well-visits and sick visits; daily medical examinations and treatments; medicines, surgeries, animal supplies and vital health services such as shearing, hoof care, teeth trimming and skin conditioning.
“Our animals require dozens of 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,” said Wendy Taylor, executive director.
In addition to rehabilitating as many as 250 wildlife annually, West Place cares for 70-to-80 permanent rescues as the only farm animal sanctuary of its kind in the area.
“We provide all of our rescues – whether lifetime residents or those in need of temporary rehabilitation – with quality food and care throughout the year. We are often called to assist police departments, animal control officers and SPCAs when issues arrive regarding farm animals that have been victims of cruelty or neglect. As the public is recognizing and reporting animal neglect more than ever, and the authorities are making a conscious effort to step in and investigate, towns are turning to us as the only farm rehabilitation facility in the area,” said Taylor.
Animal Rescue Rhode Island in South Kingstown, the Westerly Animal Shelter, the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island are among the other grant recipients.
The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit rifoundation.org.