The WIN Team

The Westerly Innovations Network

Project 2004:


Westerly Innovations Network

WIN team activities

Last Update: July 8, 2009



                 In September 2003 we came across a local article saying that skunks were discovered in our town with rabies.  These animals were attacking people’s pets, and no area of the town was immune.  So we identified the problem as thus, how can we reduce the population of stray animals as well as raise community awareness of rabies, therefore lowering the amount of rabies cases in South County, RI by April, 2004.

                 Thus, we decided to initiate Project S.C.A.T.—South County Animal Treatment.  We brainstormed solution ideas and, after evaluation with criteria, (easiest, most cost effective, most worthwhile, etc.) listed the ones with highest priority:

1. Put rabies pills in the food that animals eat.

2. Help build another animal shelter for strays.

3. Volunteer at the existing shelter to help the people working there.

4. Put non-harmful animal traps for stray animals.

5. Request volunteer vets who would do rabies vaccination, spaying, and neutering for lower prices.

6. Hold an animal show to raise money for the new shelter and also advocate for rabies prevention. (#1)

7. Talk to vets to get them to vaccinate, neuter, and spay for a lower price.

8. Hand out calendars with stray animals for adoption on them.

9. Put up posters with pictures and information about animals that are for adoption.

10. Help raise money for a new animal shelter by holding bake sales, car washes, and requesting for donations by local businesses.

11. Put animals on cards with pictures and information.

12. Network the shelters in South County, RI that can give animals to other shelters instead of putting them down to make room for new animals.

13. Begin a shelter request system - have people who want to adopt a pet fill out a form and we will give them the pet that is "the perfect pet" for them according to the forms. (#2)

14. Have working at the animal shelter as a high school community service program. (#3)

15. Enlist people to volunteer their time at the animal shelter.

16. Put pictures of the animals for adoption and their information on the website.


                 We started by interviewing the main local animal control officer, Mr. Thomas Gulluscio.  In a meeting with him, we learned a great deal more about the problem and the practicality of solutions.  For example, we learned how we could find more volunteers at the shelter, how many animals went through the shelter every year, how many were adopted, and how many were put down.  His suggestions helped shape subsequent parts of our project.

                 We went to look at the shelter for ourselves shortly after.  During the time we spent there, we talked some more with Mr. Gulluscio and took pictures of the shelter animals to put on our website.  We also learned that there was a new shelter under way, but that it needed funding.

                 Then we had the idea to put on an animal show to help raise funds.  We met with local dog trainer and breeder Mrs. Patricia Stadelmann to find out what exactly went on in a dog show, as well as attended a pet expo in Providence to watch an actual pet show.  Mrs. Stadelmann also provided us with some of the judging criteria for dog shows.

                 We then had to raise awareness for the show as well as find participants.  We advertised in front of the local Wal-Mart, broadcasted on a local radio station WBLQ, as well as spoke at a Rotary Club dinner meeting.

                 We created and sent application forms through the schools and local newspapers, searched for sponsors, created sideshow games and activities, as well as looked for vendors for the show.

                 The actual show was very successful; there were over 400 participants and we were able to raise $5,750.00 (before expenditure).  There were three competition categories, cats, dogs, and exotic animals.  We had several sideshows, including carnival games, face-painting, and making pet rocks.  We were able to have a local veterinarian give out free rabies shots to pets that have not been vaccinated recently, and even had a K-9 unit demonstrator from the police exhibit what kind of work a police dog would have to do.  In addition to that, we had community leaders as judges and even had on the spot radio coverage from WBLQ.  We also had a professional photographer take pictures of pets and the superintendent of the Westerly School System host the closing ceremonies.

                 We later won 4th place in the middle division at the 2004 CMPS International Conference for our project and petitioned the town council to declare October 4, World Animal Day, as Westerly Animal Day.