American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Headquarters found in NYC

Founded in 1866

The Mission
" provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States."

Every day animals are neglected, abused and killed. The ASPCA rescues these animals and prosecutes the wrong-doers. The rescued animals are brought into their care and given medical attention that they need. The rescued animals were found by the enforcement of ASPCA. They search for helpless animals and their cruel owners- bringing them down when they can and prosecuting them.

Not only do they rescue the animals, they give them the love and training that they need. One day, the animals will be rehabilitated and eventually adopted out to homes. The ASPCA even offers a program that allows the new owner and pet to get to know one another. The animal can come to trust the owner while the owner can realize the responsibility they took on.

The ASPCA doesn't only 'train' animals to be just house pets, they are also used in animal-assisted therapy programs in medical and mental health centers and facilities to bring love and joy to the people that need it.

The ASPCA also works with animal welfare organizations, giving them grants to help save lives. They also offer spay and neuter programs for owners who may be financially challenged in order to help control the population of animals.

Not only do they work with people to adopt out pets, there is also a hot-line for grieving owner's whos pets have passed on. There is a traditionally trained counselor there to give them support. More than 400 grieving owners get support from this each year. The service is also offered through emails.

In general, the ASPCA is here to help animals. To rescue them from neglect and find them a loving home.


The Founder:
Henry Bergh

It all started with a young man, Henry Bergh. Born in 1813, he was the son of a prominent ship builder and therefore lived a life of leisure and travel. This led him being appointed to a diplomatic status in 1863 in the Russian Court of Czar Alexander II. This was the first appearance of his action against 'man's inhumanity towards animals.

Back in America, New York Specifically, on the date of February 8, 1866 at a meeting in Clinton Hall, Bergh impressed a number of the attendees with his examples of animal abuse. Bull fights, cock fights and dog fights were all used as examples

The dignitaries at that meeting had signed his "Declaration of Animal Rights" and that gave him the confidence that his charter for a society that protected animals would be approved. He was right; the New York State legislator passed the April 10, 1866 as well as an anti-cruelty law that the ASPCA was allowed to enforce. They didn't waste any time getting started on their work.

Livestock, especially horses, had been a large focus for the ASPCA. They operated the first horse ambulance. Horses were important during this time more so than they are today because of cars. They even used a horse sling to rescue them. Bergh had public watering holes placed around Manhattan for those horses that pulled around carts daily. People, dogs and cats also visited these public fountains.

Because of Bergh's work, America's society's attitude changed about animals. By 1888, the year Bergh passed away, many hearts were touched and felt that it was completely wrong to harm animals. Passing legislation remains one the ASPCA's goals.

Eventually, the ASPCA focused more on cat's, dog's and other small animals- not just primarily live stock. Some cases against animals were even persecuted. A man named David Heath, who had beat a cat to death in 1867, had been sentenced to jail for ten days.

Dog abuse went even further between the dog  catchers and the dog fights. Dog catchers were paid by the dog, not the hour; sometimes they might even steal a dog from its owner's yard. These dogs were not treated well when they were brought to shelters. Public outcry against what was happening gained the ASPCA the responsibility of taking over the NYC animal control. They picked up strays or injured animals which they actually took care of.

Dog cruelty reached to dogs that were owned by people to pull carts who could not afford a horse. They gave the dogs no food, shelter or care. They were left to roam the streets to find food in the garbage. Bergh helped to pass a law that forbade the use of dogs to pull carts unless there was a special permit the person had.

What They Do Today

Ban on Foi Gras:

First of all, what is it? It is the liver of goose, sold a delicacy.

How is it produced? The geese are force fed throughtubes stuffed down their throats. They are stuffed full of fat and other food multiple times a day.This force feeding causes their livers to swell multiple times its normal size

In California, Law makers upheld the law that banned such force feeding of aimals. An ASPCA memner, Suzanne McMillan had commented about how glad the ASPCA was that the law makers had decided to uphold the law instead of overturning it.

Dog Fight Bust:

In the Bronx, in a windowless basement, fifty dogs were found one day. They ranged from 12 weeks, up to five years. They were left in horrid conditions in crude wooden cages. The makeshift arena could, in fact, hold up to around 100 spectators. There were other things that pointed out that this was a makeshift arena. There was a cart full of raw chicken for food, treadmills, harnesses, muzzles and even syringes.

The dogs were saved and immediately given any attention they needed. Many were sent to get medical care. The building superintendent, whose name is Raul Sanchez, was brought into custody and charged with the felony of animal fighting. The ASPCA team played a critical role in helping with the bust- working closely with the NYPD Viice Enforcement Division and the Bronx District Attorney's Office. There was documenting the crime scene, forensic evidence collection and many other parts played.

Dog fighting is brutal, the dogs being exploited by, and for the owner. The ASPCA and many other groups are determined to protect animals from that fate.

"This is a matter purely of conscience; it has no perplexing side issues. It is a moral question in all aspects."

-Henry Bergh

Comment Stream