Four Westerly-area animal welfare nonprofits have won more than $70,000 in grants to care for pets and wildlife, the Rhode Island Foundation announced on Friday.

The funding was made possible from the foundation’s Program for Animal Welfare, known as PAW, which awarded $480,000 in grants to animal welfare groups across the state.

In Hope Valley, Foster Parrots received $25,000 to support veterinary care, adoption services, food and specialty diets. The organization rescues and protects unwanted or abused companion parrots and other homeless captive exotic animals. Its refuge facility, the New England Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary, provides homes for more than 400 parrots and other displaced exotic animals.

“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 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.”

Mystic Aquarium was awarded $16,000 to support its rescue and rehabilitation work with injured or sick marine mammals and sea turtles. Each year, more than half of the organization’s request-for-rescue calls originate in Rhode Island.

“Every year dozens of these animals end up stranded on our shores due to sickness, debilitation, malnutrition or dehydration, or 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, in a release.

In Westerly, Stand Up for Animals, an animal shelter and adoption center, received $24,000 toward the cost of veterinary assistance and animal medications, which will allow the organization to treat approximately 600 dogs and cats. The grant will also contribute to the cost of installing a supplemental heating system in the dog kennels, which are the coldest area of the facility, and enclosed walkways connecting the cat cages, which will enable the cats to move freely from cage to cage.

“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 President Lina Carreiro O'Leary.

The Westerly Animal Shelter received $6,450 to purchase live animal traps for rescue, microchips, veterinary supplies, raised cat beds, dog leads and humane education summer camp supplies. The shelter, which is a department of the Town of Westerly, is responsible for the impound, adoption and, in the event of an emergency, safekeeping of pets in the community

“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.”

The foundation’s Program for Animal Welfare funds seek to aid 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 agency said in a press release.

“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 Program for Animal Welfare. “Their work is producing new approaches to animal welfare and increasing the number of animals receiving direct care across Rhode Island.”

Founded in 1916, the Rhode Island Foundation raised $38 million and awarded $43 million in grants to nonprofit organizations in 2017.

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