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30 Philadelphia Women Created ‘America’s First Animal Shelter.’ At Last, They Get Their Due.

By Katie Park
The Philadelphia Inquirer

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) On April 14, the Women’s Animal Center, recently renamed from the Women’s Humane Society, will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Katie Park shares the fascinating story of the women who started it all back in 1869.

Philadelphia

In 1869, the Women’s Branch of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals opened in Philadelphia as the nation’s first animal shelter. Now, 150 years later, it still stands in the form of the Women’s Animal Center, a modern, airy shelter in Bensalem.

Yet the backstory of the shelter and its founder has largely fallen into obscurity.

That will change, said Catherine Malkemes, the shelter’s chief executive officer, and Suzanne L. Bush, president of the shelter’s board of directors.

On April 14, the Women’s Animal Center, recently renamed from the Women’s Humane Society, will celebrate its 150th anniversary, a significant milestone, shelter management says, and one that will highlight the organization’s roots.

“We wanted to focus on the women because of the history and the fact that these women were so courageous and innovative,” Bush said.

To celebrate, there will be parties. A ribbon-cutting. A National Animal Shelter Day of Service, during which shelter officials hope people will volunteer, donate supplies or money, or adopt a pet.

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