Volunteer Services for Animals (VSA) is a Rhode Island non-profit 501(c)(3) tax exempt humane organization established in 1979 to assist municipal animal shelters in providing adequate care and adoption outreach services for impounded animals. VSA receives no government funding. We rely on private donations, workplace giving programs, grants and bequests to carry out our work. Over the years, we have had chapters of VSA in many communities, including Barrington, Bristol, Coventry, Cranston, East Providence, Glocester, North Smithfield, Lincoln, Providence, Scituate, Warwick, West Warwick and Woonsocket. Each community benefited from VSA's presence. VSA's statewide office helps stray, homeless and feral animals throughout the state where there are no VSA chapters.

Our mission is carried out through programs of education, advocacy and assistance. An important focus is providing information and assistance for spaying and neutering companion animals to reduce pet overpopulation and resultant homelessness and euthanasia. We have a humane education program for adults and children to broaden the public's knowledge about pet overpopulation, responsible ownership and care of animals.

Cats are especially hurt by their overpopulation. They reproduce at twice the rate of dogs, and are often abandoned by people who move out of temporary housing. Although abandonment of a companion animal is a crime, the law is difficult to enforce. Cats are so quiet and clean that people don't notice they are homeless until there are several of them searching for food and shelter. Every year in Rhode Island, thousands of cats and kittens are euthanized in municipal shelters. Abandoned cats that are not in shelters die of starvation, disease, predation or exposure to extreme weather, but often not before they produce litters of kittens born to homelessness.

For information on low cost spaying and neutering, call VSA at 401-273-0358.

If you would like to receive VSA's newsletter, Pawprints, e-mail us at vsaheadquarters@yahoo.com giving us your name, mailing address and zip code.