Humane Society of Missouri History

“Men will be just toward men when they are charitable toward animals.”

Henry Bergh
Founder of the American humane movement

January 3, 1870

Admirers of Henry Bergh’s philosophies found the Humane Society of Missouri, just four years after Bergh’s first ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is founded in New York City. Sketchy records indicate that George Patridge is the first president for the Humane Society of Missouri. Business is conducted from a small, one-room office in downtown St. Louis at 1618 Carr Street. Animals were housed in an old, weather-beaten shed, and during cold weather, were brought inside the office, where business went on as usual.

HSMO history figure Henry Bergh
HSMO history first building and office


Back in New York, Mary Ellen, a 10-year-old abused and neglected child, was carried by Bergh into the courtroom wrapped in a horse blanket. The child displayed a mass of scars from repeated beatings and mutilations and was severely malnourished. However, according to the laws of the day, she was completely at the mercy of her mother. Bergh asked that the child be treated like a “dumb animal” and placed into the hands of the ASPCA as animals were now protected from this kind of abuse. The unprecedented verdict states that Mary Ellen would be committed to “the Sheltering Arms” of the ASPCA. Her mother was sentenced to prison for one year.


The first horse ambulance is placed in service to help rescue animals in distress and investigate nearly 1,500 cases of abuse and neglect in St. Louis.


St. Louis socialite Mary Mitchell calls attention to the lack of watering troughs for horses. She decides to alleviate their suffering by installing a fountain service adjacent to her home in the fashionable Central West End.


The Humane Society of Missouri helps nearly 14,000 animals. In these early years, the Humane Society of Missouri also cared for abused and neglected children as a result of the landmark case involving Henry Bergh and young Mary Ellen.


John Lichter donates $30,000 for a new building to be located at 1210 Macklind Avenue. The donation was made in memory of his wife, Irene, who had been a director for the Humane Society of Missouri for many years.

HSMO historic building


Eric Hansen becomes the first General Manager of the Humane Society of Missouri. The Humane Society of Missouri handles a record number of animals – nearly 33,000 animals — while contributions decrease in size and number due to the Great Depression. The Humane Society of Missouri conducts free clinics for pets and their eligible owners. On Tuesdays and Fridays, WIL Radio broadcasts descriptions of stray dogs and cats in hopes of reaching their owners. The Humane Society of Missouri also makes national news by scattering birdseed from an airplane to birds unable to feed themselves in the severe winter weather.

May 1933

Newspaper headlines read “Humane Society of Missouri Broke and In Debt.” The debt was the sum of $5,000 of unpaid salaries.

Margaret Mitchell HSMO history figure


It is revealed that Miss Mary Mitchell (the animal-loving socialite) had contributed more than $50,000 to cover annual deficits throughout a period of 15 years. In an effort to help curb violent behavior, the Humane Society of Missouri gives cameras to boys in exchange for air rifles. The theory behind this practice is “It’s better to shoot with a camera than with a gun.”


Arnold M. Amundsen becomes Director of the Humane Society of Missouri. 1942 The Mary C.J. Todd Memorial Hospital and Clinic is built with funds she has bequeathed.


Fritz K. Grolock becomes Director of the Humane Society of Missouri. While Grolock is president, the Humane Society of Missouri enlarges the clinic facilities to include a new waiting room, examination rooms and resident veterinarians quarters. The Humane Society of Missouri, which served as the only area animal/child welfare group of its kind, discontinues service to children due to the development of other agencies meeting child welfare needs.


A crematory for animals goes into operation at the Humane Society of Missouri. This is the first time pet owners can have their pets cremated and keep the ashes.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch creates a tradition with the introduction of “Dog of the Week”, later changed to “Pet of the Week”

Pet of the Week history photo


The first female veterinarian in the state of Missouri, Dr. Suzanne Saueressig joins the Humane Society of Missouri as a staff clinician. Originally from Germany, Dr. Saueressig hopes to learn as much as possible about American veterinary medicine and then travel on to South America and Africa to continue her learning process. However, shocked by the horrific pet overpopulation problem in the United States, Dr. Saueressig instead begins a 50+-year career with the Humane Society of Missouri, “chipping away at an iceberg with a teaspoon.”


The Humane Society of Missouri gives sanctuary to a 200-pound lioness. The lion lives in the basement for many weeks and becomes quite a friend to many of the 25 employees.


Donald H. Anthony becomes General Manager and facilitates a fact-finding mission of some of the larger and newer shelters in the eastern United States. This trip was to analyze the Humane Society of Missouri’s need for new and improved shelter facilities.

March 1965

Two new adoption wings with a total capacity of 52 animals are in use. Each housing unit has inside-outside facilities with heated floors and running water. The remodeled puppy adoption area displays new, stainless steel puppy cages and allows for 40 puppies. Two new community cat areas debut. The size of the cages in the stray holding section is reduced, thereby permitting fewer dogs to be put in the same cage.


To help curb the pet over population, the Humane Society of Missouri begins spaying all female dogs and cats adopted through the shelter.


Dr. Suzanne Saueressig is promoted to Chief of Staff and is forever affectionately known by Humane Society of Missouri staff as “Chief”.

Two additional hospital wards are added to relieve the crowded conditions in the nearly 40-year-old building. Improved surgical and preparation facilities are another feature of this department. Also added are a self-contained laundry and sterilization room; improved laboratory facilities; a 120-seat humane education auditorium for use by employees, school children, civic groups and animal-related organizations; and a fleet of 10 vehicles, including two animal ambulances, an investigation unit and an education vehicle called “Know Us Ark”.


The first dog obedience class graduates at the Humane Society of Missouri. A baby jaguar is in custody of the Humane Society of Missouri. The baby jaguar had been found locked in a closet at the nearby Chase Park Plaza Hotel, guarding what remained of a $47,000 bank robbery.


The 70 employees of the Humane Society of Missouri celebrate 100 years of service to people and animals. The Humane Society of Missouri appears each week on episodes of KTVI-TV’s Romper Room with various animals.


The resident veterinarians quarters built in 1940 are converted to administration offices. To help relieve the overcrowding problem at the Macklind Avenue location, Elizabeth N. Parrish donates funds for a branch facility located in Maryland Heights.


The Humane Society of Missouri Auxiliary is formed by a group of dedicated women with the hope of raising funds to subsidize different needs of the Humane Society of Missouri. Their first exciting endeavor is to organize a pet supply shop, “Adopt n’ Shop,” located within the Macklind Avenue headquarters. It is the first shop of its kind in the country within a humane society, and is so successful that another shop is opened at the Maryland Heights branch. The Branch is also soon equipped with a clinic and laboratory thanks to the Auxiliary, which provides funds for the additions.

Elizabeth Parrish with dogs


The Visiting Pets program is established, a program in which volunteers with their own pets visit area nursing homes and hospitals, bringing joy and delight to individuals who can no longer have pets of their own.


The Auxiliary opens a spay/neuter clinic at the Maryland Heights Branch.


The Auxiliary contributes $80,000 for a wing expansion at Maryland Heights Branch.


A pioneering idea by Sue Gassner, director of education, and KMOX radio personality Jack Carney pairs older pets with senior citizens through the Golden Friendship program. (This program was taken to a nationwide level through the Ralston Purina “Pets for People” program, directed by Kathryn Wright.)

Governor Kit Bond signs into law the revised statute allowing, for the first time in Missouri history, search and seizure warrants to be obtained to aid in the rescue of abused or neglected animals. This historical signing takes place in the Humane Society of Missouri auditorium.


The importance of teaching humane education is recognized with the first Humane Educator of the Year award.

July 1984

The Humane Society of Missouri is featured in a live broadcast of the NBC TODAY show with hosts Jane Pauley, Bryant Gumbel and Williard Scott in downtown St. Louis.


Volunteers from the St. Louis community, animal control and other rescue groups join Humane Society of Missouri employees in a daring rescue of more than 55 horses at Creve Coeur Stables, saving these horses from drowning after the Missouri River levy surrenders to flood waters.

Flood rescue in 1993


The Humane Society of Missouri opens its Large-Animal Rehabilitation Center at the George H. Packwood Animal Sanctuary and Longmeadow Farm in Union, Missouri. Situated on 165 acres of land positioned in a valley surrounded by trees, the rehabilitation center is home to abused and neglected horses, cows, goats and other farm animals while they are rehabilitated and placed up for adoption.


The Humane Society of Missouri debuts the Cinderella Program, a fund dedicated to giving animals a second chance at life by paying for the veterinary medical care of stray, injured animals with minor medical problems that might otherwise prevent them from being adopted.


The Humane Society of Missouri celebrates 120 years of helping animals.
In spite of previous building additions and improvements, the 62-year-old headquarters on Macklind Avenue is code-deficient and inefficient to operate. To increase programs and services to better serve the animals and people of the St. Louis community, a new building is needed. Architects, building consultants and Humane Society of Missouri staff examine animal shelters and veterinary medical centers across the United States.


Kids For Critters Camp is created, allowing St. Louis children an opportunity to spend one week during their summer vacation learning about the joys and responsibilities of caring for pets.


The annual dog walk Bark in the Park debuts to promote awareness for Humane Society of Missouri programs.

The Humane Society of Missouri pulls together to work 24-hours-a-day to help thousands of pets displaced by the Great Flood of 1993. Animals are rescued from water-logged abandoned homes and dangerous environments. Pets find solace in temporary foster homes while their owners rebuild their lives. The Humane Society of Missouri reunites lost pets with their families after weeks of separation. Those animals not claimed after the flood are placed up for adoption and find new homes.


The Humane Society of Missouri makes it mandatory for each animal adopted to receive a microchip implanted between its shoulder blades. The microchip, detected by a scanner found at all area animal shelters and veterinarian offices, enables the Humane Society of Missouri to increase reunions between lost pets with their owners by nearly 75 percent.


The Foster Care Program debuts, allowing newborn animals a chance to mature prior to adoption. Puppies younger than 6-weeks-of-age and kittens not yet 8 weeks gain weight and are socialized through the efforts of dedicated foster parents.


To encourage all pet owners to have their pets microchipped, the Humane Society of Missouri begins hosting annual Chip-a-thons, allowing pets to be fitted with a microchip for a nominal fee. The first Chip-a-thon draws a crowd of more than 2,000 people; nearly 700 pets are microchipped.

Puppy checking microchip

April 1996

The new building’s fundraising campaign kicks off with a press conference announcing the future new headquarters. A preexisting warehouse, located directly across the street on Macklind Avenue, will be renovated to serve as the new home for the Humane Society of Missouri. Renovating an existing building saves the Humane Society of Missouri millions of dollars. This fact, combined with the concept of having more space to help rehabilitate more animals appeals to the thousands of St. Louisans who donate to the fundraising campaign. October, 1996 Ground is broken for the new headquarters on Macklind Avenue.

Spring 1997

Staff members Jan Chipperfield and Stan Flowers head north to Grand Forks, North Dakota to help rescue animals trapped by raging flood waters. After working with other animal rescue teams from the American Humane Association, the two staff members return with stories of the worst flooding ever seen in that state but tales of triumph in their endeavors.

January 4, 1998

The new headquarters opens to the public with a Parade of Pets from the old facility. Community representatives including St. Louis Mayor Clarence Harmon and St. Louis County Executive Buzz Westfall escort dogs, cats, puppies and kittens across the street into the new building.


Pet Etc. classes are added to the Education Department’s summer curriculum. The one-day seminars for children focus on specific animal-related issues such as caring for a puppy and the proper care of birds.

October 1998

The Large-Animal Rehabilitation Center celebrates its 10th anniversary of helping rehabilitate abused and neglected farm animals by hosting an open house celebration enabling the public to tour the farm and visit the many resident animals awaiting adoption.

February 1999

The former Humane Society of Missouri headquarters is demolished, having served the people and pets of St. Louis for nearly 70 years.

April 1999

Ground is broken for Carol Gates Throop Memorial Park on the site of the former headquarters.

May 1999

The Humane Society of Missouri sends a contingent of five employees to Oklahoma City to rescue animals displaced by the massive Category 5 tornado. While investigating an area strewn with cars and pieces of destroyed homes, a traumatized 2-week-old kitten was found hidden beneath the hood of a car. “Okie” was brought home to Missouri and placed into a foster home until she was healthy enough for adoption.

June 1999

Carol Gates Throop Park officially opens to the public with Paws in the Park, a celebration with community representatives, including St. Louis Mayor Clarence Harmon, and St. Louis County Executive Buzz Westfall, immortalizing their handprints and their pets’ pawprints in cement at the entrance of the park. Built on the site of our former headquarters as a tribute to the countless millions of people and pets who were helped during the nearly 70 years at that location, Carol Gates Throop Memorial Park contains a columbarium where pet lovers may inter their pet’s ashes. Personalized bricks inscribed with donors’ names are among the fundraising opportunities available from the park’s creation.

September 1999

The Humane Society of Missouri enters the electronic age with the debut of a website, Internet users view Pets on the Net, read the newsletter, order merchandise from the Gift Shop, mark their event calendar and vote in an online pet photo contest.

June 2000

Former employee Kathryn Wright Warnick returns to the Humane Society of Missouri, this time as President and Executive Director.


Pre-adoption spay/neuter program established, ensuring that all pets are spayed or neutered prior to being available for adoption and will not contribute to pet overpopulation.

Kathy Warnick with dog


Operation SNIP (Spay/Neuter Initiative Program) launched. Funded by donations, the surgeries are performed at the Macklind Avenue veterinary-medical center one day per week for just $9.95 per pet no matter what the owner’s income status.


Operation Pet Partners is formed, comprised of the region’s four leading animal care organizations: Humane Society of Missouri, Animal Protective Association of MO, St. Louis City Animal Center, St. Louis County Animal Control


Since behavior problems are the number one reason pets are relinquished to animal shelters, the Humane Society of Missouri tackles the issue:

  • The type and quantity of obedience training classes offered are increased by 63 percent.
  • The Pet Behavior Helpline is established, offering customized, person-to-person answers for more than 500 annual calls and e-mails.


The non-profit watchdog group Charity Navigator deems the Humane Society of Missouri a top-rated charity, awarding four stars out of four. The goal of Charity Navigator is to provide objective, unbiased analytical information regarding whether charities are spending money wisely so donors can determine if giving to those charities is a sound decision. By receiving four stars, the Humane Society of Missouri ranked as high as the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis University and Washington University.


January • The Humane Society of Missouri assisted the Greene County Sheriff’s Office in rescuing 120 horses from a 180-acre property outside of Republic, Missouri. Many of the horses were starving and sick and several dead horses were found. The owner was charged with 39 misdemeanor counts of animal abuse, animal neglect and failure to dispose of animal carcasses. This was the largest horse rescue in Longmeadow Rescue Ranch’s history.

February • The Humane Society of Missouri reaches an amazing milestone – more 250,000 dogs and cats have been spayed or neutered by the organization. It is an amazing number of animals and a huge step in curbing the pet overpopulation problem in St. Louis.

Dr. Suzanne Sauressig celebrates her 50th anniversary of service at the Humane Society of Missouri.

May • Accompanied by renowned animal ambassador, Joan Embery, a long-time supporter of the Humane Society of Missouri, Longmeadow Rescue Ranch Barn Buddies are featured on NBC’s Today Show.

Hurricane Katrina team

August 31 • The Humane Society of Missouri sent a Disaster Response Team to assist national and local animal welfare and emergency management organizations in the rescue of pets affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The team consisted of 10 staff members in six vehicles, including a disaster response trailer that can hold 50-100 animals; a livestock trailer equipped for large or small animals; a 14-ft. Jon boat; a support equipment trailer (with generators, chain saws, animal food and other supplies) and an RV to serve as living quarters. The team rescued hundreds of lost and injured pets from Jackson, Mississippi all the way into New Orleans, Louisiana under daunting and adverse conditions.


May 13 • Bark in the Park, the Humane Society of Missouri’s largest fundraising event, returns to Forest Park. Nearly 2,000 people and dogs braved blustery weather to raise money for the animals and walk the red carpet into the Bark in the Park Goes Doggywood event.

November 9 • Chesterfield Valley Center opens for business with a colorful, open and airy adoption and pet-themed boutique retail presence. The center boast a cageless environment using tempered glass animal enclosures for maximum human-to-pet interaction with minimum germ transmission. A veterinary clinic with three exam rooms also is housed in the center. The center fills a community need as the only animal welfare and shelter organization located in the Chesterfield area. The new center is the Humane Society of Missouri’s third location, joining the Headquarters in St. Louis City on Macklind Avenue and the Westport-area Branch in Maryland Heights.

September 27 • 42 horses in an overcrowded, double-deck tractor-trailer were headed to a slaughter house in Illinois when the trailer swerved and overturned on Interstate 44 in Franklin County, Missouri. The horrific accident left 16 of the animals dead. Fortunately, a team of emergency rescuers and veterinarians led by Earlene Cole, director of the Humane Society of Missouri’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch, were able to rescue 25 horses and one hinny. They are now known as our Horse Heroes.

November • HSMO’s third full-service facility, the Chesterfield Valley Center, opens in the Boone’s Crossing shopping area of west St. Louis County. This center provides animal receiving, adoption, veterinary care, pet training and gift shop services.

December 14Longmeadow Rescue Ranch’s Barn Buddies make a second appearance on NBC’s Today Show.


April 18 • Twist of Fate, or “Twister”, was born to Mama, a Thoroughbred mare that was pregnant and bound for the slaughterhouse when she was rescued from a horrific tractor trailer accident on Interstate 44 last September.

Bark in the Park 2007 • The 15th annual Bark in the Park, A Walk for Animals and Country Fair, lands a perfect day; offers Missouri vendors and Country Fair food and attractions and draws the largest crowd in the event’s history.

Bark in the Park food court

June 5 • Twenty-eight large-breed dogs were rescued from a substandard puppy mill in Morgan County while the remains of thirty other dogs were discovered in shallow graves on the property. One month later, sixty small-breed dogs were rescued from a substandard puppy mill in Bollinger County. Many of the dogs had hair that was so matted they were unable to see or move their legs freely. Missouri is estimated to have one of the highest number of substandard puppy mills in the United States.

June 8 • Working in cooperation with the Howell County Sheriff’s Department, the Humane Society of Missouri rescues the largest number of animals in the history of its Longmeadow Rescue Ranch. Among the animals rescued from the property were: 5 horses, 61 goats, 53 ducks including numerous ducklings, 99 chickens including numerous chicks, 11 turkeys, 5 dogs, 1 cat, 8 exotic birds and 10 doves.

September 27 • Humane Society Emergency Rescue Team was again called into action to rescue 62 cattle from a double-deck trailer that overturned on the exit ramp from the Poplar Street bridge to I-70 in downtown St. Louis. Forty-four yearling bulls survived the accident. One additional surviving bull escaped into the wooded area near the Arch grounds. Despite rescuers valiant efforts the following morning, the bull became entrapped in a rocky area on the riverfront, fell into a small ravine and died.

Stoddard County Dog fight victim

October • In cooperation with the Stoddard County Sheriff’s Department, HSMO seized 25 pit bulls and one beagle from an organized dog fight outside of Dexter, MO. Many of the dogs had new and old wounds as a result of fighting. Several months later, HSMO received custody of the seized dogs. Working with behavior specialists and rescue groups, HSMO committed to giving these dogs who came from such horrible abuse the absolute best chance for a good life.


March • Humane Society of Missouri Disaster Response Team responds to help rescue and provide emergency shelter for pets of Southeast Missouri Flood victims. The Humane Society of Missouri is the lead animal welfare agency activated by SEMA (State Emergency Management Agency) to help in the rescue and shelter efforts in the flooding parts of Missouri. HSMO partners with national organizations to cover widespread flooding in Cape Girardeau, Butler, Pemiscot, Jefferson and St. Louis Counties. Gov. Matt Blunt commended the Humane Society of Missouri and other animal service organizations for assisting pet owners displaced by the flooding by caring for their pets.

April-June • HSMO’s Disaster Response Team continues to assist pets and their owners throughout the state and region during a summer plagued with natural disaster. Rescue and sheltering services are provided to victims of the Newton County tornado as well as flooding in Lewis, Pike, and Lincoln Counties. The Disaster Response Team also received an official request for assistance from the Iowa Department of Agriculture for teams trained in water rescue. HSMO immediately dispatched three rescue teams totaling 10 people with boats, trailers and HSMO’s mobile shelter unit. HSMO performs water rescue operations and assists with temporary sheltering in Cedar Rapids.

Missouri Flood 2008

August • The Humane Society of Missouri conducted the largest animal rescue in the organization’s history. In cooperation with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, a 26-person team from the Humane Society of Missouri rescued more than 360 animals on an 80-acre property outside of Pleasant Hope in southwest Missouri. According to Humane Society of Missouri humane investigators and representatives of the sheriff’s department, the animals were living in deplorable, filthy conditions with little to no access to appropriate or adequate food, no fresh, clean water, and no adequate shelter.

October • 73 dogs and cats are rescued from a substandard breeder in Howell County. Many of the animals are emaciated with no access to food or water, some have severe mange and other skin infections and matted coats. HSMO also responds to a request from the State of Indiana to perform field rescue operations and evidence collection at a substandard puppy mill south of Terre Haute.


January-February • HSMO’s Disaster Response Team sets up animal rescue operations in New Madrid to assist with feeding, watering and sheltering for pets of families with no water or electricity in New Madrid, Butler and Pemiscot Counties. The area was hit hard by a severe ice storm earlier in the week.

Green County Yorkie Puppy Mill

February • Two major puppy mill rescues in the same week give second chances to almost 250 dogs: In cooperation with the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, HSMO’s Animal Cruelty Task Force rescues more than 90 Yorkshire Terriers living in filthy conditions at an unlicensed, substandard breeding facility. Kennels were covered with feces and urine, many dogs were severely matted and many appeared to have no access to food or water. These Yorkies were eventually rehabilitated, and several appeared on an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show to raise awareness of the horrors of puppy mills.

Just a week later, the Animal Cruelty Task Force, in cooperation with the Newton County Sheriff’s Department, rescues approximately 150 dogs living in unsanitary conditions at a facility near Seneca, MO. The animals’ wire-bottom cages were covered with feces, there was no visible food and water was frozen. A Bengal Tiger also on the property was transported to the Springfield Zoo for care.

July 8, 2009

Dog fight victim

The Humane Society of Missouri led the largest dog fighting rescue and shelter operation in U.S. history. Working in cooperation with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service and the United States Attorney, the HSMO coordinated the rescue and sheltering of nearly 500 pit bulls associated with multiple suspected organized dog fighting operations.


February • Working in cooperation with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force rescues 157 animals from a property near St. Clair, Missouri. The animals included: 131 domestic rabbits, 3 dogs, 4 cats, 1 guinea pig, 3 baby goats, 5 doves, 7 chickens, 2 pigeons and 1 duck. All of the animals were living in filthy conditions.

October • At the request of the producers of Animal Planet’s series Confessions: Animal Hoarding, the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force rescued 71 dogs from a property in Saline County, Missouri, including Marshall the Miracle Dog, who suffered from serious face, chest and leg injuries from possible attacks by other dogs.


March • Working in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department, the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force rescued 124 dogs, 67 cats and 4 puppies, from a rescue facility near Bonne Terre, Missouri.

Veterinarian at Joplin tornado

May • At the request of the State Emergency Management Agency, the Humane Society of Missouri sent a fifteen-member Disaster Response Team to Joplin, Mo. to rescue and shelter pets affected by the devastating tornado. The team consisted of professionals trained in emergency animal rescue and shelter operations and included a veterinarian to care for sick and injured animals.

July • The newly enacted Canine Cruelty Prevention Act is put into use. Missouri Department of Agriculture, working with Attorney General Chris Koster, obtains a restraining order against the owner of a breeding facility in Monett, MO. HSMO assists with the rescue of 73 dogs and puppies, as the owner failed to provide a sanitary environment and adequate housing to the animals.


January • Eighteen starving horses and donkeys are rescued in Vernon County. Seven deceased horses were found on the property and many of the live horses appeared to be severely underweight, with the only food being low-quality hay. One horse, thought to be deceased, was so underweight he was unable to stand. Today, that horse is now known as Tumbleweed, a Barn Buddy Ambassador at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch.

Tumbleweed the horse on the day of rescue

June • The Humane Society of Missouri rescues Sonny, a Boxer puppy, who had severe burns on his face, his ear and the left side of his body. Whimpering from excruciating pain, he was transported to the Humane Society of Missouri’s headquarters, where the veterinary staff immediately began treating his gruesome injuries and making him as comfortable as possible. On Sept. 20, Sonny was adopted into a loving forever home with four other rescue dogs.

July • The Humane Society of Missouri’s Macklind Avenue Headquarters serves as an emergency shelter for pets affected by the Midtown fire. The five-alarm fire occurred at a multi-unit apartment complex, friendly to college students and their pets. HSMO rescues and cares for several dogs, cats, and even hamsters in the days following the devastating fire.

November • Responding to a call from the St. Louis City Police, the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force dispatched an investigator to the scene of a severely injured dog that had been tethered to the back of a truck and dragged along Highway 55. The puppy, a five and a half month old male pit bull mix, was in shock and suffered from severe and traumatic injuries including exposed tissue and bones. The Humane Society named him Trooper, and he has developed a world-wide following, spreading his message of perseverance and compassion to people everywhere.


HSMO’s Veterinary Medical Centers become the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America, to better reflect the practice’s position as one of the largest veterinary practices in the Midwest, open to the public, with proceeds helping homeless animals at the Humane Society of Missouri.

Chief and cat Ninnie


February 8 • The animal world loses one of its most dedicated and tenacious advocates with the death of Dr. Suzanne Saueressig. She was an exceptionally important and beloved member of the Humane Society of Missouri family.

Dr. Saueressig served as Chief of Staff of the Humane Society’s Veterinary Medical Hospital for the majority of her 55 years with our organization. Fondly called “Chief” by her friends and colleagues, Dr. Saueressig’s exceptional intellect and tireless devotion to improving the lives of animals in need helped more than a million animals live healthier and happier lives.

In addition, she helped build the Humane Society of Missouri into one of the largest and most active animal welfare organizations in the country. Chief earned a reputation as a trailblazer and fearless fighter when it came to providing top-notch, state-of-the art care for the animals. Her heartfelt mentoring of veterinary students and staff won her legions of loyal supporters as well as new advocates for the cause of improving the lives of animals.

While her own voice has been silenced, Chief’s devotion to animals in need will be carried on through the many she befriended and mentored through the years. From the bottom of our hearts we thank Dr. Saueressig for setting such an incredible example for all of us who are trying to follow in her footsteps to make the world a better place for man’s best friend.

April • The woman accused of tying a young pup, now known as Trooper, to the back of a truck where he suffered horrific injuries from being dragged for more than a mile, is found guilty of misdemeanor animal abuse.

Cruelty to Compassion, a photo exhibit in tribute to employees & volunteers of the Humane Society of Missouri is held at the Macklind Avenue Headquarters. For 15 years, photographer Mike Bizelli has documented the work and compassion of HSMO’s Animal Cruelty Task Force that has given thousands of desperate animals a second chance in life.

May • The 20th Annual Bark in the Park is held at Cricket Field in Forest Park. New additions to the yearly dog festival included a 5k race and pancake breakfast. Thousands of dogs and their humans descended on the park for pet contests and performances, animal-related vendors, and a howlin’ good time.

November 20 • Groundbreaking ceremony for the Best Buddy Pet Center and Animal Medical Center of Mid-America at Page Avenue and Scheutz Road in Maryland Heights, Mo.

Trooper before and after


February • The Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force, working in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, rescued 135 puppies and adult dogs from a dog breeding facility in rural Howell County, Missouri. The owner of the facility decided to close the facility and agreed to place the dogs in the custody of the Humane Society of Missouri.

May • HSMO’s Animal Cruelty Task Force, in cooperation with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, rescued more than 150 cats, dogs, horses and goats from a property outside of Barnett, Mo. in Morgan County. One dead foal was found in a barrel on the property. The animals were rehabilitated and placed up for adoption.

HSMO’s Chesterfield Valley Center is renamed and dedicated as the Kuehner Center in honor of benefactor Kim Kuehner and in memory of his parents, Horty and Howard Kuehner and his sister, Kerry Kuehner.


September • The Rescue and Rehab Center at the Macklind Avenue Headquarters is built and immediately put to use housing 185 cats removed from a single residence in south St. Louis County. The new center allows for segregated intake and rehabilitation of rescued animals from situations of abuse and neglect.


As warmer weather approaches in spring 2016, HSMO launches its popular public relations campaign, “70 and over, DON’T take Rover.” Also launched in 2016, the Shelter Buddies Reading Program garners nationals and international media coverage as it socializes shy animals and helps children learn to read.


April • HSMO celebrates the grand opening of the Best Buddy Pet Center in Maryland Heights. Opening event emcee, John O’Hurley (a.k.a. Mr. Peterman from Seinfeld), hosts the event and adopts one of the first dogs at Maryland Heights, a Norfolk terrier mix named Charlotte.

August/September • HSMO responds to requests for assistance in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma along the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia. In total, 215 animals return with HSMO disaster response teams and are eventually adopted into loving homes.