The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society (formerly known as the Lewiston-Auburn SPCA) was incorporated as a nonprofit volunteer organization on February 25th 1885. Our first President was the Honorable Nelson M. Dingley, Jr., a former Governor of Maine, U.S. Congressman and founder of our local paper, the Lewiston Daily Journal (now known as the Sun Journal).
The Society’s original mission was to protect work horses and children from abuse. Volunteers carried on this mission until 1912 when they first decided to create a “home” for stray animals. Sadly, there was not enough money to buy the land needed for the Shelter so they continued to function primarily as an advocate for animal rights and welfare.
In the early 1970’s the Humane Society was granted a “generous donation” from a caring individual. This encouraged the Board of Directors to organize a fundraising committee, purchase land and in 1972 our first Shelter was built in Auburn. This building was then considered “state of the art,” intended to accommodate just over 1,000 animals per year and operated with a staff of volunteers and part time employees.
Through the years, animal numbers continued to grow and the Shelter itself also grew through a number of renovations to accommodate the growth until 1998. That summer it was announced that the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society had begun to search for land to build a new Animal Shelter. One able to accommodate the now more than 3,500 animals the Shelter received a year and one that could grow with the needs of the community. In 2000 the land on Strawberry Avenue was purchased and following 6 long years of fundraising efforts, construction began on the new facility in April 2006. Then on January 25th 2007 26 cats, 10 dogs, 4 rabbits, 6 guinea pigs, 3 gerbils and 2 rats made the trip from the old Shelter in Auburn to the new, current facility in Lewiston. Today, we take in nearly 5,000 animals a year and thankfully have a new facility to accommodate the animals and the needs of the community.
Over the past 30+ years, there is has been one true issue at hand…. Pet overpopulation. A number of years ago, our concerned Board of Directors realized something needed to be done about the animal overpopulation in our community. It was then agreed that the Humane Society would no longer allow an animal to go to a new home without first being spayed or neutered. We now spay/neuter every cat, kitten, dog, puppy and rabbit before adoption; a financial burden accepted and funded by the Shelter. In addition to our animals, we also offer our neighbors a low-cost Community Spay/Neuter Program. This program provides vouchers to low-income families in our community, helping to offset the cost of the spay/neuter procedure, another way we are dedicated to combat pet overpopulation. Both the Spay/Neuter Adoption Program and the Community Spay/Neuter Program are funded solely by fundraising efforts run by the shelter and our many volunteers. In 2006 we spayed/neutered 137 dogs, 587 cats and 11 rabbits before being placed.
Today, 122 years later, with the help of many extremely dedicated individuals we continue our pledge to work toward a more Humane Community. As our mission states: We are committed to using our resources to provide the best possible care for stray, abandoned and abused animals.
The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(C)(3) charitable organization. We are supported primarily by the donations received from our kind friends and concerned citizens.