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Inside the ASPCA

By John M Disque


A dig into the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) numbers and facts to find out exactly what they do, what they bring in, if what they do is working and how much they pay their people produced some interesting facts.

ASPCA is based in New York City and is one of the oldest existing non-profit companies in America. Henry Bergh founded the company in 1888. Mr. Bergh certainly had a big heart. Fourteen years before founding ASPCA he founded Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which also still exists today. Bergh was recognized by world leaders, including Abraham Lincoln, for being one of the kindest, most generous people to ever live. 

ASPCA's official mission is "to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States." Focus in the 20th century was mostly on horses, livestock and farm animals. Around the turn of the century there was more of a focus on small, household pets such as cats and dogs. 

What they do depends on which state you might be referring to and at which time in their history you are interested in. Throughout the years, this non-profit organization has done a lot of research and development of new animal medicines, they've created animal hospitals, new procedures for healing sick and wounded animals, and developed courses and classes to teach people how to train and care for their animals. They have a 24 hour poison control line, a staff of veterinarians to provide emergency assistance, a mobile spay/neuter service for low income people, pet loss support and grief counseling, a pet rescue system, a disaster area rescue system, an animal shelter system, and a shelter outreach program. They lobby for new laws, teach police departments how to enforce the laws and, in some states, they have their own law enforcement division. 

The numbers below are from the year 2009. 

Program expenses 73.7%

Administration expenses 7.5%

Fundraising expenses 18.6% 


Primary revenue $114,207,296

Other revenue $3,015,372 


Program expenses $78,717,770

Administrative expenses $8,059,872 

Fundraising expenses $19,925,068 


So now you never have to wonder what the ASPCA does, but it's not all rosy and free from controversy. While I hate to end an article on a bad note it wouldn't be complete without mentioning that there are many people opposed to the ASPCA and feel that it's up to the people to raise their animals any way they deem appropriate. Then there's the following issue: 

In 2009, President and CEO Edwin J. Sayres salary was $494,711.00. A salary this high is usually justified by pointing to the percentage that the salary takes from the expense account. In this case, it's about 1/2 of 1 percent of ASPCA's expenses. Still, for a non-profit company Mr Sayres is certainly making himself a profit and I'm not the only person who sees this issue as a serious red flag. I can only wonder what Henry Bergh would think. 

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is located at
424 East 92nd Street
New York, NY 10128.


Temp-Published September 2, 2011

Published in East TN News October 11, 2011

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