Office of the Mayor



Paws Are Way Up in Favor as Mayor Baldelli-Hunt and Councilman Scott McGee Move to Get Ball Rolling for New Animal Shelter

WOONSOCKET, R.I.: Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt and Councilman Scott McGee today jointly expressed their intentions to move the City forward towards a new state-of-the-art animal shelter. Citing "deplorable and unfixable," conditions at the Citys previous animal shelter on Cumberland Hill Road as justification for a new shelter, Baldelli-Hunt and McGee stressed the need for either new construction, or a complete renovation of an appropriate existing property. Both the Mayor and Councilman agreed that the Rivers Edge Recreation Complex would be an ideal spot for the new shelter but also indicated that they would be open to other suggestions.

The Mayor and Councilman indicated that they toured the new animal shelter in North Providence that is shared with Johnston and Smithfield, and can obtain that facilitys construction plans and cost buildups. The Mayor and Councilman said that regionalizing the animal sheltering operation is the preferred option, and they will first reach out to other nearby communities in creating a regional shelter either in Woonsocket, or within one of the other communities. In either case, participants would share in both construction and operating costs. If a partnership with another community cannot be established, the City will pursue its own animal shelter.

Councilman Scott McGee stated, "Our old animal shelter was in terrible condition, and patching it up was not going to be as cost efficient or as beneficial as starting over and either building a new modern facility, or completely renovating a suitable existing facility." McGee further explained, "I speak with animal owners all the time at our dog park, and they love the idea for the new shelter to be at Rivers Edge because they believe that this location will encourage more adoptions. Additionally, Rivers Edge is a central location that will facilitate regionalization with other local communities.

Mayor Baldelli-Hunt stated, "I advocated for a new animal shelter since my first term as Mayor, and since then our needs regarding sheltering stray, abandoned and surrendered animals have far outpaced our ability to meet them at our old, dilapidated shelter. Building a new shelter will meaningfully touch the lives of these animals by providing them with a clean, modern, caring environment and an increased opportunity to find a new home. Adoptions help create best friends who not only provide companionship for the new owners, but also help relieve health conditions linked to loneliness, anxiety, and depression."

The Mayor, added, "I embrace Councilman McGee’s endorsement of this project and look forward to collaborating with him and the rest of the City Council to get it rolling."

Mayor Baldelli-Hunt and Councilman McGee disclosed that the City is looking to fund this project with ARPA funds, but will explore the availability of other federal and state grants, as well as awards from public and private foundations, and other benefactors. The Mayor revealed that the City has filed for a grant to help defray engineering costs for the proposed new facility, as well as to fund future vaccination clinics.