The area’s longest-serving agency aiding animals, the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, got its start 116 years ago caring for animals — and humans.
Here are 9 things to know about the history of the organization according to their research and Dayton Daily News archives:
1. First Established. The Humane Society of Greater Dayton was officially established Jan. 15, 1902 and was originally called the Montgomery County Humane Society.
2. Preventing cruelty. The Montgomery County Humane Society was “organized primarily to prevent cruelty to children, the aged and to dumb animals,” according to a historical narrative in the May 1914 edition of the Dayton Daily News.
3. Employee benefits. In 1914 the Humane Society had four paid employees – two humane officers who were paid $85 a month and two clerks, one was paid $60 a month and the other was paid $35 a month.
4. New directions. A new building for the animal shelter opened on Idylwild Ave. in 1924. Written directions in the invitation to the celebration were curious by today’s standards: “The Animal Shelter may be reached by going east on Monument Ave. to the canal. North along the levee, which in known as Idylwild Ave, for about a block and half, or you may take north-bound Valley or Leo car to Taylor street; walk north on Taylor to Monument Ave., thence east to canal and follow levee north to Animal shelter.”
5. Salute to pets. To celebrate the new shelter, Dayton’s first pet parade was held Sept. 27, 1924. According to that day’s edition of the Dayton Daily News, more than 1,500 pets with “devoted boys and girls,” lined up for the march. The parade traveled along Main Street and ended at the fairgrounds where entrants were assigned into groups. One group was described by the newspaper as “aristocratic cats, common cats, bantam roosters, rabbits, fish, snakes, lizards, turtles, alligators and frogs.”
6. Refuge from the storm. In the days after a tornado devastated Xenia in 1974, the Humane Society of Greater Dayton took lost and frightened animals into its shelter, finding new homes for them or reuniting them with their families. A monkey was one of the animals found among the destroyed buildings.
7. Unique animals. The shelter has housed a variety of animals over the years and at one point in the mid-1970s pondered creating a children’s zoo. Among the animals considered for the zoo were a cougar, raccoon, rabbits, ducks and a Shetland pony.
8. Life savers. In 2010 the Humane Society of Greater Dayton became a no-kill facility and currently has a 98% save rate.
9. Shelter statistics. Last year 1,831 animals were placed or adopted, 431 cases of cruelty were investigated, 3,964 animals were spayed or neutered, and 628 volunteers donated 78,180 hours of service to help animals at the shelter.