Our History

 

The first Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was organized in England in 1824, primarily to prevent the abuse of carriage horses in the days before automobiles. Horses were driven through freezing cold winters and stiflingly hot summers, often with little food, water or rest. The carriage drivers were interested only in making as much money as possible, and would beat the horses if they refused to or were unable to pull the carriages.

The SPCA helped to pass laws that regulated the carriage-horse business.  With this success, the Society expanded to include dogs and other animals in its fight against cruelty. The first American SPCA was started in 1866 in New York City. There are now SPCAs all over the U.S., and indeed, all over the world.

SPCA International was founded in the U.S. in 2006. The mission of our organization is simple but vast: to advance the safety and well-being of animals.

The majority of local SPCAs and humane societies around the world are not affiliated with national organizations, as most people may presume. Therefore, SPCA International seeks to develop and utilize a worldwide platform that both supports independent animal shelters and promotes the safety of animals. SPCA International strives to assist the growth and impact of independent shelters through alliance building, information networking, national and international programs.  

In 2007, SPCA International launched our first major shelter initiative – Shelter of the Week.  SPCA International provides financial support at the local level by awarding four to six emergency grants every month to selected animal welfare organizations. These grants make a big difference to struggling shelters, both in the U.S. and worldwide, and help to improve physical conditions, enhance spay and neuter programs and ultimately reduce euthanasia rates.  From dog and cat rescues, to wildlife rehabilitation centers, to special needs recovery centers, to foster programs, SPCA International has extended support to shelters in almost every U.S. state, as well as to numerous international organizations.  And our support continues to expand.  

SPCA International founded our second major initiative, Operation Baghdad Pups, at the request of many U.S. military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This program provides veterinary care, as well as clearance and transport, for the animals that U.S. service members have come to love during deployment in the Middle East.  Operation Baghdad Pups is an expensive and logistically challenging program, but it does more than save the lives of these animals; it also brings comfort and peace of mind to our U.S. soldiers serving overseas and helps them cope when they return home.  To date, SPCA International has helped hundreds of soldiers transport their animals out of the war zone.  We receive a minimum of three to four new requests every week and are currently working on approximately 50 active cases.  

SPCA International also runs a variety of education initiatives. Through the SPCA Answers program, SPCA International staff and volunteers provide a global information and referral resource that assists thousands of animal guardians and advocates.  The SPCA Answers team regularly receives and processes reports of animal cruelty and neglect and connects local volunteers with area shelters.  

As we forge ahead, SPCA International plans to expand the scope of current programs, launch new initiatives, increase the number of shelter grants awarded and improve educational awareness throughout the coming years.  We are proud that this small international organization is making a big difference in the lives of animals throughout the world.

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