Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society
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Our History

History of the Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society
 
During the turn of the 20th Century, the Children’s Aid and Humane Societies started out under one umbrella. Even back then, the link between cruelty to animals and cruelty to children was recognized. The two organizations worked closely together back then and still do to this day. But due to the high demand on both parts, the two groups separated into their own organizations. 
 
The initial group that met in 1902 included ministers and lawyers drawn from a population that numbered about 8500. 
 
In 1903, city council formed a “Humane Society” with Mayor Plummer as chair. Their mandate was defined as two fold: 

  1. The prevention of cruelty to children 
  2. Enactment of suitable laws for prevention of cruelty to animals. 

In 1904, the “Children’s Aid Society of Algoma” was formed and the Humane Society was not resurrected again until 1925. 

The sight of delivery horses whipped while trying to climb Bruce Street hill prompted the formation of a local Humane Society. On December 3, 1925, with Mayor Dawson presiding, it was decided to affiliate with the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Honorary President was Archbishop Thornloe, and President was Mr. J. Hayes Jenkinson. The group asked that watering troughs be built and placed throughout the city and cards were sent out urging the people to place their meat and grocery orders to be delivered early in the day. 
 
The Humane Society received its charter in 1956. In 1961, the Sault and District Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals opened the doors of its first animal shelter at 861 Second Line East. Prior, the Society was housed in a barn where volunteer had to carry water and plow snow to reach the animals for feeding in the winter. This first shelter became a reality due to the hard work and perseverance of Bette Gaughan who served as the Society’s President and Shelter Manager from 1962 until she died in 1970. 
 
On a 20-year lease from the City, the Shelter opened its doors at our present location, 962 Second Line East in 1983. Named in honor of Bette Gaughan, it took the Society several years to raise the necessary funds for the new facility. Along with fundraising events and donations, money was obtained through a government grant and the sale of the old building to the City. Since its initial construction, the Shelter has undergone expansion and major renovation, including construction of the outdoor dog runs. In 2003, another 20-year lease was signed with the City.

Our commitment to animal welfare is evident through our education programs, spay and neuter programs and incentives and our willingness to work with our City Officials and other Agencies to make our Community and District a kinder and gentler place for animals and children. 
 
In 1998, the Sault Ste. Marie and District SPCA created the C.A.R.E. (Compassionate Animal Response Efforts) fund. The C.A.R.E. fund provides life to the following programs: 

  •  Veterinary care for sick, injured and neglected animals admitted to the Shelter, 
  •  Emergency Veterinary care for animals seized in the course of an investigation, 
  •  Spay and Neuter surgeries for cats and dogs available for adoption. This greatly increases their chances of being adopted and is in keeping with our mandate to end pet over-population, 
  •  Post-adoption veterinary care for unforeseen health issues, 
  •  Low-Cost spay and neuter program for low income families, 
  •  Foster program for orphaned, injured or immature animals, and 
  •  Emergency housing and care for clients of the Red Cross and Women in Crisis. 

The ongoing efforts of our staff, volunteers and animal welfare advocates were recognized in 1999 with the Quality Achievement Award by the Ontario SPCA. The award acknowledged the improvements to animal welfare in our community through the implementation of the C.A.R.E. fund, shelter renovations, and animal micro chipping. 
 
The Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society is not a government organization and receives no financial support from any level of government. The Shelter operations are overseen by an 8 member Board of Directors, which are volunteers chosen from our membership, plus one Municipal Councilor appointed annually. We receive a fee for service from the City of Sault Ste. Marie to perform animal control duties and enforce animal related by-laws. Programs such as low cost spay and neuter program, emergency medical care, foster care and education are funded solely through donations, fundraising, and bequests. 
 
The year 2000/2001, saw the Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society encounter their biggest animal cruelty case in their history. With the hard working efforts of the Shelter Manager, Staff, and Volunteers, 77 dogs were placed in foster care until after the trail. The Staff worked endless for days, cataloguing, photographing, and providing treatment and care for these severely neglected dogs. The dogs were seized from a local German Sheppard breeder. Ms. Barb Carlson was charged and convicted of animal cruelty and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $30000.00. Due to the lack of funds of Ms. Carlson, this order was removed. 

The Ontario Government gave the OSPCA a grant of 5 million dollars for infrastructure renewal, with a focus on Northern Ontario communities in 2008. This SPCA received $70310.00 for Investigation Revitalization project and $195480.00 for Improving Pet Projects through Facility upgrade projects. 

The Facility Projects included: 

  • installation of a water softening system, 
  • replacement of heat recovery and ventilation unit in dog kennels, 
  • excavation and landscaping in dog yard, 
  • building new outdoor door kennels. 
  • replacement of corroded sink fixtures and toilet damaged by hard water, and 
  • expansion and upgrade of cat isolation room and laundry room.  

Almost 3000 unwanted, abandon and stray animals relied on the Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society for care, comfort and a second chance in 2010. Historically, the Society would euthanize more animals then were adopted. In 2002, this statistic was reversed – for the first time we adopted more animals than were euthanized, a trend that continues today and keeps improving. Cats continue to greatly outnumber dogs and remain the focus of the over-population crisis. Every year the dog statistics improve despite the introduction of the amended Dog Owner’s Liability Act in 2005 banning pit bull type dogs. We are able to improve the lives of animals who call the shelter their temporary home through the generosity of donors and successful fundraisers who keep the C.A.R.E. Fund viable. We spend $100,000.00 to $125,000.00 annually on life saving programs funded by C.A.R.E.. 
 

Please help us in continuing our efforts in animal welfare, the C.A.R.E. Fund, and programs. 
 
Adopters and Volunteers are always welcome!!! Come and visit us today for more information.

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