Potter League for Animals Partners with ASPCA to Help Behaviorally Challenged Shelter Animals in Rhode Island

Interactive ASPCA Virtual Learning Lab provides innovative techniques and best practices to support homeless cats and dogs nationwide
March 30, 2021

MIDDLETOWN, RIPotter League for Animals (PLFA) today announced it is the first animal welfare organization in the country to complete the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) Virtual Learning Lab, a new interactive, online workshop series that helps shelters better serve homeless animals’ behavioral needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The Virtual Learning Lab is a free, three-month-long interactive program where select shelters work alongside experts from the ASPCA and other organizations to develop a plan to better support the behavioral health of animals in their care.

The ASPCA previously held their Leaning Lab program in person at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center (BRC) in Weaverville, N.C. in the form of week-long retreats, which PLFA was scheduled to attend in March 2020, but the in-person program was halted over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to continue sharing essential behavior resources with animal welfare organizations across the country, the Virtual Learning Lab is an adaptation of that in-person program.

“We were honored to be chosen to work with industry-leading experts at the ASPCA. We have an outstanding team who are dedicated to providing the best possible care for every animal at the Potter League,” said Brad Shear, CAWA, Chief Executive Officer of the Potter League for Animals. “This training and ongoing partnership will bring that care to another level. At the same time, we hope to share our knowledge and skills with other shelter professionals around us so even more animals will benefit.”

Through the Virtual Learning Lab, shelters like PLFA can participate and discuss behavioral healthcare with professional peers from the safety of their homes and offices. Over the coming months, PLFA staff will be implementing their plan to further integrate behavioral and psychological support for homeless animals throughout their entire sheltering operation. 

“The ASPCA is thrilled to launch our Virtual Learning Lab so we can continue the important work of interacting with animal welfare organizations across the country to share ideas, expertise, and techniques to improve the lives of shelter animals,” said Dr. Kat Miller, Senior Director of the ASPCA Learning Lab program. “We are so proud to partner with Potter League for Animals as the first organization to complete our Virtual Learning Lab program. We look forward to continuing our collaborative relationship to further elevate behavioral healthcare in animal shelters and get even more pets into loving homes."

PLFA strives to provide much more than food, water, shelter, and veterinary treatment for homeless animals, understanding that enrichment, socialization and training are important components to the wellbeing of animals in their community. PLFA works to implement evidence-based humane training methodologies to improve positive outcomes and enhance the human-animal bond, and a partnership with the ASPCA Learning Lab program will help them advance innovative programs and projects that further animal welfare and the mission of the organization.

The ASPCA Learning Lab launched in 2018 at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, the first-ever permanent facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and study of extremely fearful, homeless dogs, many of whom are victims of cruelty or neglect and otherwise would not have been candidates for adoption. As the Learning Lab program has evolved, they have developed eLearning resources to reach even more shelter professionals, and continue to develop a national network of partner organizations that share learnings and best practices and serve as advanced behavioral healthcare hubs in their communities.

About Potter League for Animals
The Potter League for Animals is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of animals. We promote the humane treatment of all animals and provide shelter and care for lost or unwanted companion animals. Through community education and the fostering of relationships between people and animals, we enhance the animals’ future and enrich the human experience. Founded in 1929, the Potter League for Animals is Rhode Island’s go-to animal resource center helping pets and people in Rhode Island and beyond. The Potter League Animal Care & Adoption Center is located at 87 Oliphant Lane, Middletown, RI, the Potter League Spay & Neuter Clinic is located at 235 Elm Street, Warwick, RI, and low cost Potter League Pets In Need Veterinary Clinic is located at 50 Amaral St. Riverside, RI. For more information, visit www.potterleague.org.