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American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Day

The American Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the first animal welfare organization of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, was created on April 10, 1866. It works with shelters and humane societies across the country, with the mission of preventing cruelty to animals. Its founder, Henry Bergh, was inspired to create the organization after seeing a carthorse being beaten by its drivers. While on a diplomatic post overseas, at the behest of Abraham Lincoln, Bergh visited the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in London, which also influenced him in the creation of ASPCA.

The New York State legislature passed the charter incorporating ASPCA on April 10, 1866. Later that same month the first real animal anti-cruelty law in the United States was passed, giving ASPCA the power to investigate animal cruelty complaints and make arrests. The organization, which has its headquarters in New York City, became the model for many other humane organizations across the country.

Today's holiday commemorates the organization's founding. In 2007, an official celebration was held by ASPCA on this date, with events being held around the country, as well as an "ASPCA Day Festival" in New York City's Union Square. Fittingly, ASPCA has also created Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, which also takes place in April each year.

How to Observe

Celebrate the day by adopting a pet, volunteering at an animal shelter, or raising awareness about the mistreatment of animals. You could also donate to and fundraise for the ASPCA, or explore other opportunities regarding the organization.

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