Anti-Cruelty, Chicago: Celebrating 125 Years


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Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago was already saving animals when Coca Cola and Kraft Foods were launched. Celebrating 125 years.

The very first official animal shelter in the country was formed by the Women’s SPCA of Pennsylvania in 1877 and next in line is likely Anti-Cruelty.

Rose Fay Thomas was a fancy Chicago society matron of the arts, founded the national Federation of Music Clubs and the Anti-Cruelty Society. The mission was originally to save horses, as they were the primary mode of all transportation. Automobiles didn’t come along until the middle-1800’s and it wasn’t until well after 1900 when they became common place.

Decades later, Anti Cruelty began to focus on the countless dogs and cats on the streets of Chicago, and has been rehoming companion animals ever since.

It’s very rare for any business to make it past the Century mark, and even more rare in the non-profit world. Anti-Cruelty continues to thrive, as their next project will be to provide low-cost veterinary care and additional support to families in parts of Chicago where there are veterinary deserts. The education staff continues to educate children about kindness to animals and their (free) behavior helpline may be the first like it in the country. They even assist renters with difficulty paying sometimes outrageous fees for having a pet. The list goes on and on.

The gala benefit to celebrate their past and to raise funds for their future plans is the 125th Anniversary Gala, Saturday, March 9, 6 to 11 p.m. (VIP Hour 5–6 p.m.) at The Geraghty, 2520 South Hoyne Avenue, Chicago. Learn more and purchase tickets HERE.

Several people will be honored at the, including longtime Chicago meteorologist Andy Avalos, who I have had the pleasure of co-emceeing events for Anti-Cruelty. For years, he hosted a pet adoption segment on WMAQ-TV. Lee-Ann Trotter of WMAQ is the emcee. I will participate as well.

Another honoree is Chicago veterinarian Dr. Sheldon Rubin, who was being social well before social media, communicating regularly about pets to the public on my programs on WGN Radio, but before that dating back to the great Wally Phillips. He has served on the Anti-Cruelty Board of Directors for about 40 years, and his contributions to the shelter are undeniable. He’s now retired but his former clients are well aware of his formidable skills as a private practicing veterinarian. I’ve now met thousands of veterinary professionals, including many super brilliant and caring individuals. Dr. Rubin stands alone.

This Sunday on WGN Radio just after 1 p.m. CT, on Steve Dale’s Other World, hear a conversation with Tracy Elliott, Anti-Cruelty President, and at 5:30 am CT on March 10 he will let the cat out of the bag (sort of speak) discussing several Anti-Cruelty initiatives on Steve Dale’s Pet World, also WGN Radio, 720 AM or wgnradio.com.