Description & History

For over 100 years, the Humane Society of New York has been a presence in New York City, caring for animals in need when illness, injury or homelessness strikes. In 1904 we were founded to protect the city's horses against abuse. Members fought for laws to punish negligent owners and place watering troughs in streets and parks. As funds allowed the Society expanded to include a free medical clinic and a small adoption center for cats and dogs. Today our hospital and our Vladimir Horowitz and Wanda Toscanini Horowitz Adoption Center help more than 34,000 dogs and cats annually, and their numbers continue to grow.


At the Society, the quality of each animal's life is paramount. Long before it was popular to think of animals as individuals - to consider their physical and emotional needs when taking responsibility for their care - we were doing just that. That means every day, every dog gets exercise time in the rooftop run, and the chance to walk outdoors with staff and volunteers. Cats enjoy daily play sessions outside their kennels. This very personal care is fully as important to a pet's well being as the inoculations, spay/neuter and other veterinary care provided during its stay in the adoption center. "This doesn't feel like a shelter" remark many visitors to the Society. "It feels like a home."

On any given day the Humane Society of New York is responsible for hundreds of animals with diverse needs. For many, the Society is the only place they will find help:

  • Seven days a week, dog and cat owners with limited means turn to the Society for quality veterinary care at affordable rates.
  • Services range from basic wellness care to spay/neuter to advanced diagnostic and surgical procedures.
  • Neediest cases (frequently elderly or disabled owners with acutely ill pets) receive full or partial underwriting for care; costs are covered through the Society's Animal Emergency Appeal. Each year, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of life-giving care for animals in need is made a reality through such underwriting.
  • The Animal Mukti Free Spay/Neuter Program covers 100% of spay/neuter costs for pet owners. The service is available by appointment.
  • Also by appointment, owners of pit bulls and pit bull mixes may have their pets neutered at any time, costs covered by the Society.
  • The Outdoor Cat Spay/Neuter Program - the New York area's first such effort-prevents much unnecessary suffering by underwriting spay/neuter and basic wellness care for feral cats.
  • In the adoption center rescued dogs and cats of all ages await placement in carefully screened, permanent homes.
  • Adoption dogs are evaluated and trained under the supervision of renowned animal behaviorist Bill Berloni, the Society's Director of Dog Training. After dogs go home, Bill continues to guide and assist new owners.
  • All adoption pets are microchipped on arrival.
  • All adoption animals are neutered.

"Can my gift make a difference?" Supporters should know that efficient management (by a superior staff of professionals working with a non-salaried President, Board of Directors and volunteers) allows an impressive 97.25% of all monies raised to go directly into program activities. Every gift is important. Forms of support include:


  • Private donations
  • Corporate gifts
  • Foundation grants
  • Appeals
  • Bequests
  • Matching gifts
  • Benefits
  • Securities
  • Non-cash contributions (eg, property, art objects)

The Humane Society of New York has long been noted for its innovative, highly individualized approach to animal care; its pioneer attitude is now reflected in programs coming to the fore nationwide. Each year finds us reaching for a higher level of care. As new technologies and medical advances such as digital radiography and ultrasound-guided biopsy become available, the Humane Society of New York evolves as well. Developing programs offer exciting opportunities for support and sponsorship.

About the organization

Humane Society of New York

Sandra DeFeo
Executive Director
Sandra DeFeo
Executive Director
Organization’s website: