Our History and Mission


Slide HSMO - Since 1870 Serving People and Pets Since 1870

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

Henry Bergh
Founder of the American humane movement

Our Mission

Since 1870, the Humane Society of Missouri has been dedicated to second chances. We provide a safe and caring haven to all animals in need – large and small – that have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Our mission is to end the cycle of abuse and pet overpopulation through our rescue and investigation efforts, spay/neuter programs and educational classes. We are committed to creating lasting relationships between people and animals through our adoption and shelter pet behavior programs and by making available world-class veterinary care. The animals thank you for your support.

HSMO Through the Years

2002

2002

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

2003

2003

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.
2004

2004

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.

2005

2005

Hurricane Katrina team

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.

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.

2006

2006

Adoptions at the HSMO chesterfield valley center

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.

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 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.

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

2007

2007

Bark in the Park food court

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.

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.

2008

2008

Missouri Flood 2008

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.

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.

2009

2009

2009

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.

2009

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.

2010

2010

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.

2011

2011

Veterinarian at Joplin tornado

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.

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.

2012

2012

Tumbleweed the horse on the day of rescue

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.

2013

February 8, 2013

Chief and cat Ninnie

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.

2013

2013

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.

2014

2014

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.

2015

2015

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.

2016

2016

2016

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.

2017

2017

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.

2018

2018

2018

April – One year after opening, the Best Buddy Pet Center in Maryland Heights exceeds expectations by taking in – and adopting out – more animals than ever before. The Center serves as a hub for animals coming from neighboring counties as well as the St. Louis area from HSMO’s Animal Cruelty Task Force and individual owners from areas where animal services are scarce. The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America opens the Integrated Pain Management Center – featuring an underwater treadmill, plasma-rich protein therapy, laser therapy, and more rehab services for pets in need additional care after surgery, for arthritis, and other health issues.

September – Humane Society of Missouri deploys their Disaster Response Team to North Carolina to rescue animals in wake of Hurricane Florence. The team rescues a maltese named “Soshe,” who was found after a week of floating on a couch in a flooded home. Watch Soshe’s amazing rescue »

December> – HSMO’s Shelter Buddies Reading Program takes their “Deck the Howls” event nationwide by partnering with other animal shelters and providing a free program guide for other shelters to hold their own holiday-themed reading event. The free program guide for partner shelters offers easy directions to provide a fun evening for local children, giving Kind Kids the opportunity to “give back” to pets in need.