When the RISPCA was established in 1870, horses were in regular use as a means of transportation and responding to instances of inhumane treatment of horses was a major focus.  Over the weekend we shared a special story from the 1940’s of our pony mascot named Paddy.  The horse is no longer in use as a means of transportation but, unfortunately, we regularly encounter instances of inhumane treatment of horses and there is a continuing need for oversight and protection. Gallop along with us as we relive the strength of Paddy the Pony, our never forgotten mascot, as we celebrate our continued commitment to the protection of horses.

Did you know the Rhode Island SPCA had a PONY for it’s mascot in 1946? “The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, year book 1947, activities 1946.”

Reference: (1947). The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Providence.


Paddy’s Story:

“Several months ago a car of horses from the West arrived at Franklin, Mass., and many of these were badly injured. The owner called Mr. Reilly, our General Agent for advice as he contemplated a claim for cruelty against the railroad. The worst injured was a three-year-old pony which, from his appearance, should have been destroyed. The little fellow appealed to Mr. Reilly and while he disliked to destroy him, on the other hand he did not want the pony to get into the possession of some one who would not give him the proper care. He finally took the pony, sent him to a Veterinary, with instructions to let him know when all his sores were healed. He was then taken to Mr. Reilly’s country home, given the best of food and care, from which he thrived and waxed fat. A story about the pony appeared in the Providence Sunday Journal and the Society received many letters of commendation, some containing checks, and others applying for membership in our Society. A delegation from the Girl Scouts called at the Shelter and gave the pony the name of “Paddy”.”

Reference: (1947). The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Providence.


“Merciful death seems his only future. Then- the RI SPCA took a hand,” (1946). “Trampled, bitten, sick, with festering wounds on flank and shoulder, Paddy arrives at sales stable. Merciful death seems his only future. Then- the RI SPCA took a hand.”

Reference: (1946). Providence Sunday Journal, 5.


“Sulfra drugs, vitamins and daily care begin to work a change in the little horse from Texaz. Begins to look as if Paddy might have a fighting chance for his despaired life.”

Reference: (1946). Providence Sunday Journal, 5.


“Begins his convalescence on a farm in North Providence.” (1946). “The Green pastures. Paddy begin his convalescense on a farm in North Providence. Agent George Reilly takes him for a walk, escorted by Billy Whalen and Billy Doorley.”

Reference: (1946). Providence Sunday Journal, 5.


“Paddy’s luck has turned. On the farm of Mr. and Mrs. Reilly in Swansea, Paddy finds good friends and care, good grazing and carrots. Mrs. Reilly gave pony hourly care.”

Reference: (1946). Providence Sunday Journal, 5.


“Paddy strikes up an acquaintance with Tinker, cat on the Reilly farm.” (1946).

Reference: (1946). Providence Sunday Journal, 5.


“To be SPCA Mascot and bring a little bit of that luck to other animals” (1946). “Another friend. Frank Esker, the Gas Company man from Fall River, never failed to stop off to bring Paddy tidbits- which Paddy wasn’t loathe to accept. Health now excellent.”

Reference: (1946). Providence Sunday Journal, 5.


“SPCA Agent Reilly, who gave forlorn Texas pony his chance for life, asks him how he’d like to be SPCA mascot and bring a little of that luck to other animals who need a break.”

Reference: (1946). Providence Sunday Journal, 5.


“Mascot. Girl Scout Margaret Connors, whose name suggestion, “Paddy,” was first out of hat, escorts pony around SPCA floor as Scouts hail him and wish him long life.”

Reference: (1946). Providence Sunday Journal, 5.


From horse protection, to horse celebration with Paddy on the 17th floor of the Biltmore Hotel, Providence, RI.

Reference: (1947). The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Providence.


In 1870, the horse was considered by many as a piece of equipment, as it was the main source of transportation. Clearly, there was a need for oversight and protection when it came to the working conditions and care of these animals. Today, although the horse still holds a place in the working world, it has also transitioned to a companion animal, just like our dogs and cats, and still requires our protection.

Today, the RISPCA continues to advocate for fair and just treatment of horses.

In November of 2020, the RISPCA Division of Law Enforcement received a complaint regarding two horses. Upon investigation, officers located the horses and determined both to be in need of immediate veterinary care.  One of the two horses was located tied to a tree and wearing a halter that had completely embedded itself into the horse’s head.  Both horses were seized and removed from the property and provided veterinary care. Cheyenne and Anastasia are now safe and sound at the CT Draft Horse Rescue. CLICK HERE to see their arrival at the rescue.


Please consider donating today to support our work in continuously improving the protections of horses for over 150 years, and many more to come.


You can’t change the world with saving one horse, but for that one horse, it’s world is changed forever.

To learn more how you can help support the programs and services at the Rhode Island SPCA, contact Stephanie Van Patten, Director of Development at 401-438-8150 x8 or svanpatten@rispca.com.