How many animals does the RISPCA handle each year?

Each year, the RISPCA handles approximately 1300 animals, across a wide variety of domestic pet and farm animal species, with the bulk of our intake being dogs and cats. Additionally, to date, the Marvin Fund has helped 3,500 pets in our community.

What are the chances of an animal at the RISPCA finding a home?

The RISPCA has an 88% adoption rate, one of the highest in the country. The reason this number isn’t even higher is because of pets that come in with terminal illnesses or severe medical issues, and because of dogs who come in extremely aggressive and unable to be safely adopted.

What is the RISPCA’s policy on euthanasia of animals you take in?

The RISPCA believes very strongly in giving pets an opportunity to be adopted into loving homes. We don’t give healthy, adoptable pets a time limit in our facility, nor do we euthanize for lack of space. We won’t allow a critically ill animal to suffer, however, and may euthanize that animal to prevent further suffering. The RISPCA has two veterinarians on staff, along with veterinary technical staff who monitor the health of every animal in our shelter. We also have a responsibility not to adopt out dangerous pets, and it is our practice that every dog coming into our facility is temperament tested by our trainers to ensure that it is not aggressive. If the dog is found to have behavior issues, our trainers can often put in place a behavior modification plan, and in some circumstances, dogs can go to foster homes to be trained and to recover from psychological or medical issues that may have been incurred in their previous situations. We will give an animal every chance to become adoptable, but it would be irresponsible of us to adopt out any animal with a likelihood of biting.

How long are animals kept at the RISPCA?

The RISPCA has no time limits for our adoptable animals. We also do our utmost to provide a pleasant environment, enrichment and socialization for all our animals so that they can thrive here at the shelter until they can be placed. The shelter cages and kennels are kept immaculate, and the staff has been very successful in preventing disease.

How is the RISPCA funded?

The RISPCA is a private nonprofit organization with 501(c) (3) status by donations from individuals, and grants for which we apply from charitable foundations.  We also get funding from our animal adoption and relinquishment fees (which cover part of the cost of spay/neuter, medical expenses and food), and by funds raised by our special events. We gratefully accept and appreciate bequests, which help to ensure our future. As a non‑profit, charitable organization, all donations to the RISPCA are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. We do not receive any state or federal funding.

Is the RISPCA part of the ASPCA?

No. The ASPCA, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is based in New York and is an admirable and large organization. However, the various SPCA’s around the country are not part of the ASPCA. The RISPCA has no parent organization, and is unique to Rhode Island. (If you would like to make a donation to the RISPCA, please do not send it to the ASPCA thinking that the funds will trickle down).

Do you accept wild animals?

The RISPCA does NOT accept wildlife, as a set of state and federal rehabilitation permits would need to be in effect at any facility desiring to care for wildlife, and that is not our focus. Our first priority must be the health and well-being of our adoptable animals. The Wildlife Clinic, part of the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island, accepts wildlife at their Saunderstown facility. They are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, and Saturdays 9am to 1pm, and can be reached at (401) 294-6363. During evening and weekend hours when they are not open, a message on their answering machine will give you the contact information for licensed rehabilitators in Rhode Island. Their website is

How old do you have to be to become a volunteer?

In order to work directly with animals, you must be at least 18 years of age. We do accept younger volunteers, however, when accompanied by a parent.