FAQ - About Us

How many animals does the Potter League handle each year?
Each year the Potter League typically receives 1,800 – 2,200 dogs, cats and small mammals. The biggest trend we have seen in the past five years is that fewer dogs are surrendered locally as a result of the many programs supporting and public attitudes about spaying and neutering. To meet the demand of our community for puppies and dogs, we now transport dogs from areas where the animal populations are high and euthanasia of adoptable animals is rampant. Through our Fetching Friends transport program, we reduce euthanasia while creating happy adopters!

Are you a "No Kill" shelter? What is the Potter League's policy on euthanasia?
The Potter League discourages the use of the phrase “no kill” as the term is very misleading and confusing.  A "no kill" shelter is one where no adoptable animal is euthanized and animals are not euthanized for time and space.  No Kill shelters do euthanize for health and behavior reasons or actively turn away unadoptable animals. The way each organization defines or each individual views the terminology is not easy to follow.  

What we can tell you is that the Potter League for Animals is in a very fortunate position that we never have to euthanize an animal for lack of space and no adoptable animal is ever given a time limit.  Based on this and our very high placement rate, many would call us a no kill shelter.
We prefer to be known as an open admission shelter, to help all animals, and to never be misleading.  The Potter League also believes we have a responsibility to ensure that we do not place dangerous animals in the community and that no animal suffers from a medical condition that goes beyond our ability to provide treatment. We are lucky to be able to treat many conditions because of our fundraising efforts that would doom the life of an animal in many other shelters. We are also lucky to have an experienced behavior and training staff who work on behavior modification for adoption animals. 

Our goal is to have euthanasia performed when it is the only alternative to end an animals suffering: irreversible disease, injury or other infirmities or those that pose a safety threat, euthanasia is the most humane alternative. Indefinite confinement or warehousing animals, isolation or indiscriminate placement are not acceptable alternatives. 

As a community, we all share responsibility for Newport County’s and Rhode Island’s euthanasia rates. The stray cat we feed but do not fix. The pet shop where we buy a puppy. The accidental litter at home. The purebred we buy from a breeder rather than adopt from a shelter. The pet we surrender when we have to move. So many of the choices we make and that our friends and family make affect the community’s euthanasia rate. As an open admission shelter, we believe there must be a place that will not turn animals away. 

We hope that you will find your role in actively helping us to reduce euthanasia. We are committed to finding every adoptable pet a family. 

What are the chances of an animal in the shelter finding a home?
The Potter League places over 90% of the animals we receive. As an open admission shelter we receive sick, injured, aggressive, and challenging animals. All animals from Newport County are welcomed; none are turned away. All adoptable animals are placed and our goals now is to place 100% of all treatable and rehabilitatible animals with euthanasia reserved for the untreatable and un-rehabilitatible animals. Animals with severe behavior and health issues will be euthanized. 

How long are animals kept at the Potter League?
The Potter League has no minimum or maximum holding period.  We continue to make every effort to place them and provide many forms of enrichment so animals can thrive while in the shelter.  Many of our volunteer programs focus on stress reduction for the animals and that has allowed us to keep animals for months on end before the appropriate home is found.

Stray dogs and cats entering Rhode Island shelters are held to give their owners time to find them. The Potter League’s stray holding period exceeds the legal requirements of Rhode Island law, our practice is to hold all stray dogs for 7 days and all stray cats for 5 days.  Animals not claimed by their owners are then evaluated for adoption. In certain instances, the Potter League also places animals into foster homes outside of the shelter to help the dog or cat become more adoptable.  Those animals may be under our care for many months.

Where is your service area?
For relinquished animals - the Potter League accepts owned animals from any resident of Newport County (Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth, Jamestown, Tiverton and Little Compton). The Potter League accepts stray animals from those communities with which we have animal control housing contracts - Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth. 

How is the Potter League funded?
The Potter League is a private nonprofit organization with 501(c) (3) status. The League is funded by donations from individuals and charitable foundations; by our animal housing contracts; by income from an endowment and by funds from special events.  Bequests help to ensure the ongoing financial stability of the League and, as with all gifts, are greatly appreciated.  As a non‑profit, charitable organization, all donations to the Potter League are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.  Our financial records are independently audited each year.

Do you accept wild animals?
We do not. Rhode Island state law requires that only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may take in wildlife.  The Potter League can give referrals to a rehabilitator.

How old do you have to be to become a volunteer?
The Potter League welcomes families to volunteer together.  Children can participate in the volunteer experience with adult supervision.  To volunteer independently, you must be 15 years of age or older.


Phone: 401-846-8276
Fax: 401-846-0681
Email Us


87 Oliphant Lane
Middletown, RI

Animal Control

Middletown: 401-846-1144
Portsmouth: 401-683-0300
Newport: 401-847-1306
Jamestown: 401-423-1212
Tiverton: 401-625-6277
Little Compton: 401-635-2311

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