Who We Are The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world. Our organization was founded by Henry Bergh in 1866 on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans, and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and proud to boast more than 1 million supporters across the country. What We Do As the first humane organization to be granted legal authority to investigate and make arrests for crimes against animals, we are wholly dedicated to fulfilling the ASPCA mission through nonviolent approaches. Our organization provides local and national leadership in three key areas: caring for pet parents and pets, providing positive outcomes for at-risk animals and serving victims of animal cruelty. For more on our work in each of these areas, please visit our programs and services page. History Incorporated in 1866 by a special act of the New York State legislature, the ASPCA has a history rich in challenges and victories—from providing care and protection for the city's working horses and transforming dog pounds into professionally run adoptions facilities to founding an animal hospital that is still running today. Read more about our history. Mission The ASPCA's mission, as stated by Henry Bergh in 1866, is "to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States." For more information, please read our policy and position statements.