Animal shelters in the United States have evolved from basic bare bones facilities with inhumane culling practices, to today’s more socially complex, organized and compassionate sheltering system. Over time improvements have focused on decreasing the suffering of companion animals as well as trying to solve the root of the overpopulation problem. Henry Bergh established the first U.S. animal protection agency in New York. In the spring of 1866, Henry Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also known as the ASPCA (“Regarding Henry”, n.d.). The original goals of the ASPCA were to help cull the suffering of “beast of burden” animals that helped mankind with their workloads. This focus of protection stayed the course but quickly embraced other animals such as dogs used in dog fighting, animals being mistreated in slaughterhouses and eventually companion animals that were strays or housed in shelters (“Regarding Henry”, n.d.). The ASPCA was the first of its kind in the United States to establish an animal protection force that worked to improve the quality of life for animals of all species. Showing that there was a need for such an establishment, many other states followed Henry Bergh’s lead and established their own SPCA’s and Humane Society’s (“Regarding Henry”, n.d.).
Mason N McLary
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