Cover Stories

A Long History: Humane Society of Missouri

When it was founded in 1870, the Humane Society of Missouri dedicated itself to helping the abused and neglected. Now, more than 150 years later, it provides important care for animals in need. Along with being the largest provider of adoptable pets in Missouri, it is committed to ending the cycle of abuse and overpopulation through rescue efforts, spay and neuter programs, and educational classes.

While the Humane Society is known for its rescue and adoption efforts today, those services weren’t always a part of its objectives. “We started with the mission to help draft horses that were abused and neglected in the 1870s,” president Kathy Warnick explains. “One of our first big projects was installing water troughs throughout the city to ensure they could have adequate hydration.” At the turn of the century, the nonprofit started advocating for dogs, cats and other small animals. It also worked to help children, a necessity due to the lack of orphanages and other institutions to support them at the time. While the children’s services ended in the 1930s, the broader focus on animals remained and evolved into the programs offered today.

In the 1960s, the Humane Society Animal Cruelty Task Force was founded. The task force responds to more than 18,000 reports of abuse and neglect annually. The public can file reports online or by calling 314.647.4400. In 1988, Longmeadow Rescue Ranch was created as a haven for horses and farm animals. Another ongoing initiative the organization is proud of is SNIP, the Spay/Neuter Incentive Program, which launched in 2001. Since the nonprofit began tracking procedures, animal intake in local shelters has decreased by 40%. “We’re very proud of that statistic because it means we’re making real progress regarding pet overpopulation,” Warnick says. “Our history means we can focus on the most important elements of animal welfare, and we have the track record to show it.”

The Humane Society is independently funded, so donations and fundraising are integral to its survival. To make its mission possible and celebrate its anniversary, the nonprofit is hosting its 150 Years & Counting Gala on Nov. 6 at The Ritz-Carlton. Guests will get the opportunity to meet Barn Buddies from Longmeadow Rescue Ranch as well as adoptable dogs. Artwork from Twister, a rescue horse who learned to paint, will be available to purchase. To go along with the event’s birthday theme, wrapped presents will be raffled off. “There is a mix of high-end and low-end items,” Warnick explains. “People won’t know what they’re getting, so it will be fun to see what’s inside.”

At the gala, the Humane Society also will debut St. Louis Pets Illustrated, a book sharing the organization’s history and spotlighting passionate local pet owners. Warnick notes that the nonprofit has been working on the book for two years and is excited to be able to share it with the community while coming together to honor the Humane Society’s past and future. “We hope to continue helping animals in very proactive and meaningful ways,” she says. “We also want to celebrate the wonderful companionship that animals provide to us.”

The Humane Society of Missouri is dedicated to ending the cycle of abuse and pet overpopulation through rescue and investigation efforts, spay and neuter programs, and education classes. Its 150 Years & Counting Gala is Nov. 6 at The Ritz-Carlton. Pictured on the cover: Humane Society president Kathy Warnick (right) with gala chairs Francine and Simon Katz. For more information, call 314.951.1501 or visit

Pictured at top: Longmeadow Rescue Ranch
Photo courtesy of Humane Society of Missouri


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