Ever wonder how life changed for our pets over the last 50 years?

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During The First 50 Years of Willamette Humane Society,

Weasley shows how good life is in 2015!
Weasley shows how good life is in 2015!

technology radically altered our human lives.  But what about our pets?  Most people are familiar with the Mahatma Gandhi quote, “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”  We still have a long way to go with how animals are treated in this country.

In our backyard of Marion and Polk Counties, things are vastly improved for homeless pets thanks to a caring community.  We are assisted and aided by the increasing professionalism of the industry and shared best practices.  Here are a few of the major milestones in animal sheltering over the decades:

1964:  Cat Litter. Edward Lowe Industries creates Tidy Cat box filler from clay minerals capable of absorbing their weight in water, providing an alternative to sand and a boon to pet owners who want to keep their cats indoors.

1965:  5 Freedom’s.  Ruth Harrison, a British woman, wrote “Animal Machines” which described intensive livestock and poultry farming practices. The outcry of the British public regarding the information in the book prompted the British Government to appoint a committee to look into the welfare of farm animals.

In 1965, the committee, chaired by Professor Roger Brambell presented the 85 page “Report of the Technical Committee to Enquire into the Welfare of Animals Kept under Intensive Livestock Husbandry Systems” which became known as “The Brambell Report.” The origins of the Five Freedoms

In 2010 the 5 Freedoms were adopted by the Shelter Veterinary Association for animal shelters as well as farms as they speak to the fundamental needs of animals in any setting.  

1975:  American Humane Association observed its first annual Adopt-A-Cat Month®, to encourage the adoption of cats from overcrowded animal shelters.

1971:  Spay and Neuter.   The first low-cost spay/neuter clinic was established by an animal shelter (in Los Angeles). This clinic launched an impassioned national debate about the issue and private practice veterinarians began to perform surgical sterilizations at a much greater rate. Animal Sheltering Trends

 1980: First Breed Specific Legislation  (BSL) Occurs in Hollywood, Florida.   BSL laws ban or regulate ownership of certain dog breeds with the hope of reducing dog attacks. Fortunately, many of the laws put in place over the years were since repealed for being ineffective.

 1981:  American Humane Association celebrated its first annual Adopt-A-Dog Month®, to encourage the adoption of dogs from local animal shelters.

 1984:  Karen Pryor publishes her book, Don’t Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training, an explanation of operant-conditioning procedures written for the general public to describe specific positive methods for changing the behavior of husbands, children and pets based on positive reinforcement of good behavior. 

 1984:  Best Friends Becomes the Flagship of the No-Kill Movement

1990:  Alley Cat Allies is founded to give voice to feral cats on a national state.

1994:  Maddie’s Fund is created by Dave and Cindy Duffield through an endowment of more than $300 million. More than $153 million in grants increased community lifesaving, shelter medicine education, and pet adoptions across the U.S. 

1995:  Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon is founded to serve feral cats with the first mobile spay/neuter clinic in North America. 

1996:  Petfinder, a national pet adoption web resource launches to help adopters find their next pet anywhere in the US or Canada.  

2000:  No More Homeless Pets Coalition in Utah holds first mega-adoption events.

2004:  Asilomar Accords is created.  Animal welfare industry leaders from across the nation convened at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California, for the purpose of building bridges across varying philosophies, developing relationships and creating goals focused on significantly reducing the euthanasia of healthy and treatable companion animals in the United States.

2005:  Hurricane Katrina launches the largest pet rescue operation to date and forges a future for animal transport transports from overcrowded shelters to geographic locations where demand is higher.

2005: Members of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians begin work to develop Shelter Medicine as a potential specialty.

2010  Dogs Playing for Life is introduced by Aimee Sadler as a way to enhance the quality of life for kenneled dogs leading to a higher save rate. Willamette Humane Society adopted this lifesaving strategy in 2010 as one of Aimee’s first shelters.

What’s in store for our furry friends in The Next 50 Years?  We hope it’s a good home for every pet in need.

Learn More About Our 50th Anniversary
Learn More About Our 50th Anniversary