The Dog Catcher

The Animal Rescue League of Southern Rhode Island was founded in 1938 when a small group of concerned citizens recognized the need for improvement in the way stray and abandoned animals were dealt with. In a letter to the League, Faith McNulty Martin, a the daughter of one of the League’s founders relates that in those times there was a “dog catcher” in South County. He rounded up the stray dogs. If he felt they were worth something, he tried to sell them. If he didn’t feel they would fetch a good price, he shot them. Faith’s mother and her friend Avis Quigley became catalysts for change. A make-shift shelter was established in a barn and Mrs. Quigley soon took over as dog catcher. During her tenure she elevated the position to that of dog officer for the Town of South Kingstown. The volunteers who cared for the animals in the “shelter” were dedicated to the animals’ welfare and over the years determined that better shelter accomodations were needed.


In 1968 Mrs. Quigley donated the acreage the ARL/SRI’s shelter building now occupies. The League incorporated as a 501-c-3 non profit organization and planning began for the new shelter. In 1970 the new facility was completed and shortly thereafter, Mrs. Quigley retired from her position as manager.

Over the years thousands of surrendered pets have come through our doors and been adopted out to new homes. As the population of the communities served by the League have grown, our shelter building has seen small changes in an attempt to keep pace with increased need.

Recently we have been working hard to ensure that our outdated and small building looks more inviting to customers, is clean, organized and merchandised properly, is arranged in a such a way to house the appropriate level of animals for an agency our size, and of course, allows us the opportunity to best care for the animals living at the shelter. We strongly believe that we have accomplished all of the above.

Stop by and visit the shelter if you haven’t been there for some time. You won’t recognize the building!!

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