Rhode Island SPCA

We speak for those who cannot speak for themselves

Our Director and Our Clinic Veterinarian

Through the Marvin Fund, we are able to offer veterinary care, vaccinations and some medications to the pets of elderly or disabled people who could not otherwise afford it.

Nezzie surprized

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Dr. Finocchio with Marvin

Dr. Ernest J. Finocchio is both the 10th President of the RISPCA, and one of its veterinarians.

Dr. Finocchio attended Texas A&M University, and then Kansas State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree. Dr. Finocchio received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Kansas State University in 1968. He then did his Equine Internship in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery at the same university.

After establishing the New England Horse Care Center in 1969, Dr. Finocchio has practiced equine medicine for the last 45 years. He has also served as Adjunct Instructor of Clinical Anatomy at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. In 1974 he became the first veterinarian for the RISPCA.

Dr. Finocchio has served on numerous Advisory Boards, including for the Hooved Animal Humane Society, Equus Magazine, and Tufts University Referring Veterinarians. He was on the Board of Directors for the Rhode Island 4-H Club Foundation, and is currently on the Board of Directors for the RISPCA. In 1977 he was the President of the Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Finocchio also served on the Veterinary Medical Board of Examiners.

In 1981, Dr. Finocchio received the F.T. Moses Humane Award. He has published a prolific number of equine veterinary articles, and a children’s book in 2003 entitled Marvelous Marvin.

Doc as Boy

Doc cared for horses from very early on.



Dr. Finocchio, pictured here on the Newport Bridge, is apparently not afraid of heights.













Dr. Burke

Dr. Burke


Dr. Patricia Burke

was born in Bethesda, Maryland, and raised in the wonderful and weird  Los Alamos, New Mexico. She returned to  the DC area for Jr./Sr.  High School.

“Yankees in Georgia, how ever did they get in ? “  ( Scarlett O’Hara) .

Dr Burke spent three years at Purdue University, graduating in absentia while pursuing her DVM degree,  as one of the 12 Maryland students accepted by the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine .  Then on to the University of Minnesota at St. Paul for an internship in Anesthesiology and Intensive Care.

Dr. Burke worked two years at the renowned Oradell Animal Hospital, in NJ,  and then was accepted for  a Small Animal Medical Residency at Colorado State University.

She was recruited to Warwick Animal Hospital (at the time the largest and premier practice in RI) in 1980.  An opportunity to return to New Mexico and practice at the preeminent  animal hospital in that state, prompted a move there 1989-1994.  When that hospital was sold, she was asked to return to Warwick AH until it was  sold to a corporation,  and in another practice until that was also sold.  Dr. Burke took on shelter medicine at the  RISPCA starting in the fall of 2009.

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In the years before veterinary school. Way before.