In 2017, two of Pittsburgh’s oldest animal welfare organizations combined to form Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh. However, for over a century before that, the Animal Rescue League (established in 1909) and the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society (established in 1874) served the animals and animal lovers of Allegheny County and surrounding areas.
Take a trip down memory lane with us as we uncover some photos from the legacy organizations that made HARP what it is today.
This undated photo above shows one of our earliest agency vehicles. The Animal Rescue League’s wagon was used to transport animals and staff to and from shelter facilities.
Much of the Animal Rescue League and Western Pennsylvania Humane Society’s early work was centered on the ethical treatment of carriage horses like the one seen here; before cars took over the roads, many early humane societies across the country were established to combat the mistreatment of draft animals in cities.
Above we see two dogs in the care of the Animal Rescue League sometime in the 1920s, enjoying some sunshine. These dogs are wearing casts on their broken legs after being treated by shelter veterinarians.
In another photo from the 1950s, we see adoptable cats peering out through the Animal Rescue League’s front window into the streets of Pittsburgh. Members of the public were free to visit the shelter during walk-in hours and bring home a pet same-day, just like today!
We’ll be bringing you more glimpses into Pittsburgh’s history as we digitize our archive, and will continue to share with you the ways Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh has evolved and continues to innovate in our loving care of Pittsburgh’s animals.