History

1866

Henry Bergh, an American businessman, founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in New York. It was based on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the UK, founded in 1824.

1877

The Michigan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is formed. The Society’s first board of directors included Thomas Witherell Palmer, President, and Alexander Lewis, Vice President, who was also the mayor of Detroit. This organization is the origin of what would become the Michigan Humane Society. This is also the year in which Michigan’s first statute prohibiting cruelty to animals was enacted.

1910

The Detroit Humane Society is formed to protect humans and animals from cruelty, abuse and oppression.

1912

The Detroit Animal Welfare Association is formed and far surpasses the previous animal welfare organizations in the city.

1913

Arthur C. Curtis becomes the Animal Welfare Association’s only employee and is named Humane Marshall by Michigan governor Woodbridge N. Ferris with authority to investigate charges of animal cruelty statewide.

1925

Multiple organizations in the city of Detroit merge to form the Michigan Humane Society and lease property at 7378 Richmond to shelter animals.

1931

The Michigan Humane Society purchases an old factory at 7401 Richmond and converts it to an animal shelter. The MHS Detroit shelter operates out of this facility until August of 2016.

1967

In the midst of the Detroit riots, shelter staff continued to care for the animals in their charge. MHS veterinarian Dr. Dewdney worked with the National Guard to provide first aid for injured animals and 5,000 cans of dog and cat food were distributed to owners in need.

1968

The first Protect A Pet clinics are held to help low income families provide their pets with vaccines.

1971

MHS opens its second facility in Westland, MI.

1982

MHS begins construction on its Rochester Hills facility, thanks in part to a generous grant from the Kresge Foundation.

1983

The Michigan Humane Society adopts a mandatory sterilization policy for all adopted animals.

1989

The first Mutt March is held in memory of board member Laura Lee Greer.

1990

The inaugural Bow Wow Brunch is held, drawing hundreds of guests.

1993

“Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo” is held for the first time. It quickly becomes the largest off-site adoption event in the country.

1996

Governor Engler signs House Bill 4654, making Michigan’s felony animal cruelty law one of the toughest in the United States.

1997

MHS helps draft the Large Carnivove Act (Act 274 of 2000), which bans ownership of a number of non-domestic animals.

2003

The Michigan Humane Society creates the Michigan Partnership for Animal Welfare (MPAW) and develops an annual conference. MPAW aims to foster collaborative relationships among animal welfare professionals and volunteers, share best practices for the animals , and come up with creative solutions to problems. Attendees come from across the state and region to join MPAW and participate in the first MPAW conference. Now called the Great Lakes Animal Welfare Conference, MHS’ annual animal welfare conference continues to draw hundreds of attendees from throughout the Midwest region.

2005

After extensive expansion, the Westland facility is renamed the Berman Center for Animal Care in honor of Madge and Bill Berman. The beautiful facility greatly increases MHS’ ability to help the animals of metro Detroit.

2006

The Michigan Humane Society celebrates its first “Mega March for Animals” at Hart Plaza in Detroit. The Mega March will go on to include multiple locations in the area to connect with more animal lovers in the region.

2011

Our PetCo adoption center has its grand opening in November. Acting as a satellite adoption center for MHS, this location adopts out more than 1,000 animals each year.

2013

After many years of discussion and planning, the capital campaign to create a new Detroit shelter officially launches.

2014

Ground is broken on the new Detroit shelter only a ½ mile away from the current site, maintaining MHS’ mission in the city for both its animals and residents

2015

The Michigan Humane Society reaches its goal of placing 100% of its healthy and treatable animals into their forever homes- more than 10,000 animals in this year alone.

2016

In March, the new Detroit facility officially opens to the public. The Mackey Center for Animal Care is a beacon of hope for the animals in the metro area.

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