Heritage of Care
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to AnimalsBook - 2008
Founded in 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was the nation's first animal welfare organization. The society had its origins in the fervor for social reform that characterized the era following the Civil War. Its founder, Henry Bergh, organized the ASPCA because of his abhorrence of injustice -- personally, he was never especially interested in animals. The society's agents--known in the early years as Bergh's men--were empowered to enforce the law throughout the state. Bergh used the media to advance his cause, and many of the issues that he confronted were covered in the press. Heritage of Care brings these early efforts to life again.
After Bergh's death, the ASPCA's original mission to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals drew committed men and women to continue the work. From 1894 to 1994, the ASPCA handled animal control for New York City, changing the image of dog pounds to animal shelters by introducing the concept of a professional staff. And just as Bergh preached kindness to children in the orphanages of old New York, his successors instilled caring attitudes through the new medium of television, and later through the Internet. Heritage of Care brings the society's work up-to-date. It is an insider's look at Bergh's men and Bergh's women of the twenty-first century.