February 2, 2023

Rhode Island Foundation awards $550,000 in grants for animal welfare, two from East Providence

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Uses include low-cost vet care for pets of low-income households, preparing animals for adoption and rehabilitating wildlife

Two East Providence animal welfare organizations are among 24 nonprofits statewide that will share $550,000 in grants from the Rhode Island Foundation. The funding will support a range of services including providing reduced-cost veterinary care for pets of low-income households, preparing animals for adoption and rehabilitating injured wildlife.

“Our grants are where the generosity of our donors and the dedication of animal welfare organizations meet,” said Adrian Bonéy, the Foundation’s program officer for the Foundation’s Program for Animal Welfare (PAW). “These grants support the care of animals in shelter, underwrite veterinary services and subsidize spay and neuter procedures for pets owned by low-income households, as well as helping preparing shelter animals for adoption and delivering humane education.”

Among the organizations receiving grants are the R.I. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in East Providence, and the Potter League for Animals, which has clinics in East Providence, Middletown and Warwick.

The Potter League for Animals’ Pets in Need Clinic received $40,000 to purchase medical supplies. The organization is a full-service veterinary clinic that offers low-cost, high quality medical and surgical services for pets of eligible low-income Rhode Island pet owners.

“We care for pets from all over Rhode Island. We believe every animal deserves access to veterinary care and a safe place to live. Our medical staff evaluate each animal and devise a health and wellness plan, which ultimately enables animals to stay in their homes or be adopted sooner,” said Brad Sheer, executive director.

Wellness care, routine outpatient care, vaccinations, heartworm preventative care, flea and tick preventative care and dental care are among the services the clinic offers.

“The demand for care continues to expand for many reasons, including increased public awareness of our services, an increase in referrals from private veterinary practices, and increasing financial need of owners. By supporting pet owners with the greatest need, they are not forced to make difficult decisions about paying for veterinary care over other necessities or relinquishing pets due to their inability to pay,” said Shear.

The R.I. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals received $40,000 to support its Hardship Boarding program, which provides free, temporary shelter and medical care for pets of people who lose their homes, are hospitalized or experience another unexpected crisis.

“This relieves the pressure of finding care for their animals so people can focus on getting back on their feet and reuniting with their pet. We are often the last resort for pet owners who lose the ability to care for their pets due to some form of temporary crisis,” said Wayne Kezirian, president.

The program includes providing necessary veterinary care, including spay and neutering. In 2021, 21 animals were temporarily sheltered thanks to the program.

“There is nothing more heart-breaking than watching an owner struggle with losing permanent ownership of their pet. Often times they resort to living in their vehicles or on the streets with their pets because they will do anything in their power not to lose them,” said Kezirian.

Comprised of 13 special funds that relate to the humane treatment and protection of animals, PAW enables the Foundation to support the work of animal welfare groups statewide. 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 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 $98 million and awarded $76 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities last year. 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 www.rifoundation.org

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