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Founded in 1866, the ASPCA was the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. Their mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” While there are SPCAs and humane societies all over the country, the ASPCA is not directly affiliated with them. However, the ASPCA works nationally to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with many shelters across the country.
Who They Are
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world. Their organization was founded by Henry Bergh in 1866 on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans, and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend their anti-cruelty mission across the country, they are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. They are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.
What They Do
As the first humane organization to be granted legal authority to investigate and make arrests for crimes against animals, they are wholly dedicated to fulfilling the ASPCA mission through nonviolent approaches. Their organization provides local and national leadership in three key areas: caring for pet parents and pets, providing positive outcomes for at-risk animals and serving victims of animal cruelty. For more on their work in each of these areas, please visit their programs and services page.
Incorporated in 1866 by a special act of the New York State legislature, the ASPCA has a history rich in challenges and victories—from providing care and protection for the city's working horses and transforming dog pounds into professionally run adoptions facilities to founding an animal hospital that is still running today. Read more about our history.
The ASPCA's mission, as stated by Henry Bergh in 1866, is "to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States."