Can you believe it? Thanks to animal (and people!) enthusiasts like you, HSHV has been around 125 years. From our humble beginnings in 1896, we’ve been focused on the loving care of animals (starting with horses!) and people (starting with children!), and have grown nearly every year. Here are some highlights over the century +.
With the mission of “prevention, by all proper means, of cruelty to animals and children and the prevention of all cruelty by humane education,”
the Humane Society of Ann Arbor was born.
The cause of animal rights was new and often met with derision and contempt.
January 1896: First elected Board of Directors
Miss Emma Bower – Mrs. C. G. Plympton
N. W. Cheever – Miss Sager
E. E. Calkins – Rev. A.Tenbrook
Mrs. J. Voorheis – S. A. Moran
J. T. Jacobs – Mrs. Hattie Skinner
B. St. James – H. J. Brown
Mrs. J. J. Goodyear – Wm. A. Brown
- Number of warnings to give livestock better care: 14
- Horses cared for: 62
- Horses sick, diseased, humanely euthanized: 13
- Arrests and convictions for cruelty to animals: 7
- Lost children returned to parents/guardians: 5
- Arrests for cruelty to children: 1
An initial resolution wasn’t about dogs or cats… but horses.
“Whereas, The Ann Arbor Humane Society has deputized its officer to inform the livery men that overdriving of horses… will not be allowed. Whereas, We feel that the rapid driving and abuse of horses is frequently caused by the patrons not being ready when called for. Resolved, That the thoughtlessness of the young woman in delaying the carriages which all for them, and which necessitates the overdriving of horses so that appointments may be kept, is one of the most frequent causes for the abuse of horses in Ann Arbor and one which the society feels called upon to condemn. We, therefore, request the young women of the city to be prompt and ready when they expect to be called for, and thus aid in the carrying out of the good work for which the society is organized.”
1937 - Our first ambulance
Purchased for $40.
July 1937 - Our first shelter opens
Originally planned to be 200′ x 80′, and on Dexter Rd, the cement block shelter on 616 Barber Ave included 3 dog pens, a room for cats with a shelf to “sun themselves,” a utility room with a telephone and desk, and a Cape Cod house for the attendant. It was donated by J.J. Goodyear and his wife.
1942 - Youth membership starts
1945 - Our first expansion due to the need for more space for more animals
1947 - Ann Arbor housing shortage
Situations like farmers moving into apartments that don’t accept pets affect the companion animals in our area, resulting in a major influx in animal intake.
1949 - Major fundraising
1949 - Female dogs required to be spayed after adoption
1951 - Field trips from schools continue
1951 - Shelter built on Cherry Hill Rd.
Our shelter, believed to be one of the finest in the U.S., was built for ~$100,000.
Features include radiant heated floors, an automatic air purification system and fresh drinking water running to all cages.
Received 6193 dogs, 4460 cats, 20 pigeons, 34 rabbits, 26 rats, 15 squirrels, 11 mice, 12 guinea pigs, 10 parakeets, 39 wild birds, 9 skunks, 2 chinchillas, 1 pig, 1 muskrat, 1 snake, 1 snapping turtle, 2 ducks. 98 cruelty complaints investigated, 2 people prosecuted for cruelty. Spay program in operation, and all puppies receive distemper shots.
1965 - Added on to the shelter
1966 - We start advocating for proper care and treatment of lab animals
1972 - Stray Cat pickup service
1974 - More fundraising
Mid 1970s - Intake numbers at peak
1974 - Wolf advocacy
1976 - Pigeon rescue makes the news
1978 - Animal Welfare Act
1979 - First Walk & Wag
1979 - PSA: Please put a tag on your pet
1981 - Featured in HSUS’s Humane Education Happenings
1983 - Python removed from car
1990 - Our 11th Walk & Wag (a.k.a., Walkathon)
1998 - Adopt-A-Pet Program featured in Saline Reporter
2005 - Hired Tanya Hilgendorf
2005 - Expanded Animal Cruelty Investigations and Emergency Rescue
2007 - Kicked off campaign to build a new state-of-the-art animal care facility
July 2007 - Launched the first official Trap, Neuter and Return program in our community
2008 - Bountiful Bowls begins
Responding to the high number of pets being turned into the shelter because their owners were either losing their home or job and could not afford to feed their animals any longer, we started the free pet food pantry Bountiful Bowls in October 2008. It still runs today.
September 2008 - Broke ground on our state-of-the art animal care facility.
December 2008 – Recognized as a best managed non-profit
2009 - Opened our new state-of-the art animal welfare center
March 2009 - Barn Cat program begins
2010 - First 4-star Charity Navigator rating
The nation’s largest independent charity evaluator awards HSHV it’s highest rating: 4-stars. See what’s happened since then here.
2010 - Received ``Outstanding Performance`` award
August 2011 - Relaunched Humane Education program
Our current award-winning Humane Education program teaches thousands of kids each year about empathy and compassion. Kiddos love our day camps, story time, movie nights, birthday parties, tours, junior volunteer opportunities and more.
October 2011 - JV program
2012 - Campaign to save FIV cats
2012 - Our 50th animal abuse guilty verdict
2012 - Started Farm Animal Aid Fund
October 2012 - Partnership with Washtenaw County Juvenile Detention Center
November 2012 - Won a long and important legal battle
December 2014 - Charter member of The Million Cat Challenge
May 2016 - Cat Cafe opens
The first and only cat cafe in Ann Arbor, HSHV’s “Tiny Lions lounge and adoption Center” at 5245 Jackson Road opens to bigger crowds than anticipated. Fulfilling the mission of pairing people with animals, “TLC” is a place to adopt, snuggle, and learn.