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Our Story

//Our Story
Our Story 2018-04-20T12:11:25+00:00

Our Life Saving Lineage

1944

Roots of Rescue

North Shore Animal League and Dog Protective Association, Inc., led by animal advocate Marianne H. Sanders, begins rescuing homeless animals in and around the Town of North Hempstead, Long Island. The Association dedicates itself to the no-kill philosophy.

1945

Rubber Meets the Road to Rescue

Rubber Meets the Road to Rescue

Buys first vehicle, a station wagon.

1953

Building a Foundation

Acquires two lots and a house in Port Washington; begins planning shelter construction.

1956

Expansion = Limitless Opportunities

Shelter is completed; group purchases local homes to expand offices.

1960

Keeping Our No-Kill Promise

As Long Island grows, the Association must choose between handling animal control and remaining no-kill. It chooses no-kill. As a result, it loses lucrative animal control contracts and suffers a serious drop in revenue.

1969

Lewyt Family Creates Lasting Legacy

Name changes to North Shore Animal League, Inc. Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt become more involved in day-to-day operations, helping the Association regain financial stability. Lewyts recruit their neighbor, popular singer and dog-lover Perry Como, as celebrity chairman of a successful membership drive. Alex Lewyt becomes President and Chairman of the Board of Directors.

1974

Life Saving Movement Begins

Life Saving Movement Begins

Elisabeth Lewyt begins driving her “Love-A-Pet” van from pound to pound to rescue pets, paying $12 a piece for each dog the pounds will release.

1978

The Birth of Compassionate Care

The Birth of Compassionate Care

Establishes small medical center on the premises.

1980

Broadening Our Reach

Humanely relocates animals from the ASPCA in New York City and other municipal shelters on Long Island to the safety of its no-kill shelter.

1982

Puppies Make Everyone Smile

Puppies Make Everyone Smile

Launches outreach program — volunteers and associates visit nursing homes, senior citizen centers, etc., where puppies and therapy dogs bring joy and comfort to residents.

1987

Faithful Volunteers Spark a Movement

Elisabeth Lewyt’s Pound Rescue Team grows from one volunteer to dozens, saving thousands of animals from municipal shelters.

1988

A Passing of the Torch

Alex Lewyt dies. Elisabeth Lewyt is named Chairperson of the Board of Directors, a position she holds until her death.

1991

A New Era of Rescue Begins

Celebrates grand opening of new adoption center and Alex Lewyt Veterinary Medical Center. Launches nationwide National Shelter Relocation Program, the first to work with overcrowded shelters in the South, welcoming animals slated for euthanasia. Today this program is widely imitated, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

1992

Networking to Save Lives

Launches Pet Savers® Foundation, with a revolutionary Cooperative Advertising Program that supports local advertising and provides advertising grants for other shelters to encourage adoptions. First such advertising campaign in the country.

1993

A New Leader Emerges

A New Leader Emerges

J. John Stevenson becomes President.

Spearheading the Spay/Neuter Movement

Spearheading the Spay/Neuter Movement

Introduces SpayUSA®, the first and largest nationwide network providing referral and information about affordable spay/neuter services.

Remembering Our Seniors

Develops Seniors for Seniors Program, which enables senior citizens to adopt well-matched senior pets, with some veterinary costs covered.

1995

First-of-its-Kind Adoption Event Saves 525 Lives

First-of-its-Kind Adoption Event Saves 525 Lives

Conducts its first annual Pet Adoptathon®, saving 525 lives.

1997

All Animals Deserve a Chance at Life

Establishes monthly donation Sponsor Program, providing ongoing care for special-needs animals.

1999

Mobile Adoption Units Create Limitless Possibilities

Mobile Adoption Units Create Limitless Possibilities

Uses new Mobile Adoption Unit. to pioneer two off-site adoption programs: Mobile Adoption Program (MAP), which transports our pets to high-traffic areas, leading to countless adoptions; and Cooperative Adoption Program (CAP), through which we share our mobile units with small rescue groups and shelter partners, saving even more lives.

2000

North Shore Animal League Expands Across America

Name changes to North Shore Animal League America, Inc., reflecting growing national scope of programs.

Nourishing Pets. Enriching Lives.

Purina begins its support by donating food and litter needed for all pets in the Adoption Center.

2001

Inaugural Tour For Life® Spans the Country

Inaugural Tour For Life® Spans the Country

With Purina as sponsor, completes first Tour for Life®. One mobile unit travels “From the Golden Gate to the Empire State,” saving more than 200 animals. Purina also becomes sponsor of worldwide Pet Adoptathon®.

2002

Expanding the Fleet

Laura J. Niles Foundation donates funding for second mobile adoption unit.

2003

Loyal Supporters Fund Exciting, New Addition

Loyal Supporters Fund Exciting, New Addition

Don and Karen LaRocca donate funds and design the dog park.

2004

Ultimate Supporter Begins Her Journey

Ultimate Supporter Begins Her Journey

Volunteer Beth Stern becomes official spokesperson, raising our profile and generating countless rescues and adoptions.

2005

Ready at a Moment’s Notice

Ready at a Moment’s Notice

Emergency Rescue Team is one of the first agencies on site to assist local shelters after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. League subsequently creates the Katrina Animal Rescue Fund.

2007

Combatting the Inhumanity of Puppy Mills

Combatting the Inhumanity of Puppy Mills

Launches Mill Dog Rescue.

2008

Our Emergency Rescue Team Knows No Boundaries

Emergency Rescue Team responds to hurricanes Gustav and Ike along the Gulf Coast. League brings more than 100 dogs to safety from a West Virginia puppy mill.

2010

Teaching the North Shore Animal League America Way

The League’s Pet Savers Foundation, in conjunction with Yale University’s School of the 21st Century and Cesar Millan’s foundation, introduces groundbreaking Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum.

Run Beth, Run!

Run Beth, Run!

Beth Stern runs the ING NYC Marathon, raising nearly $300,000 for the League.

2011

Smile!

Smile!

Creation of the Marvin M. Fried Dental Suite.

2012

Always Ready When Called Upon

Emergency Response Team tackles two major natural disasters: Hurricane Sandy, in our own backyard, and Colorado wildfires.

The Passing of a Special Woman

Elisabeth Lewyt, an early leader with her husband, dies at age 99.

Shelter Pets Finally Receive their Due

Shelter Pets Finally Receive their Due

League announces the Mutt-i-grees® Registry, world’s first registry for shelter dogs and cats. Goal: to raise status of shelter pets, encourage adoption, and reinforce the fact that every Mutt-i-gree is unique and worthy of respect, care, and love.

2013

Providing Relief in Wake of Natural Disasters

Emergency Response Team goes to Moore, Okla., following EF5 tornadoes, to work with local groups rescuing pets displaced by the storms.

Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum Flourishes

More than 2,000 schools use the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum in the U.S. and Canada. Also implemented in libraries, animal shelters, and after school programs.

Continuously Growing Leaps and Bounds

Continuously Growing Leaps and Bounds

Gala 2013: Spokesperson Beth Stern announces a $7 million fundraising campaign for Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption & Wellness Center (BFF).

2014

The Tour Rolls On

The 2014 Tour for Life® travels more than 17,000 miles and helps place more than 2,500 pets into loving homes.

Record Number of Animals Find Homes

Pet Adoptathon® 2014 places more than 30,000 animals in loving homes around the world.

Piano Man Sings a Song for Animal League America

Piano Man Sings a Song for Animal League America

Musical legend and League adopter Billy Joel dedicates proceeds from his huge 65th Birthday Concert in Madison Square Garden to BFF campaign.

Thank You, Rachael!

Ribbon cutting for new mobile unit donated by Rachael Ray’s rescue group, Rachael’s Rescue, brings the number of rescue units to seven.

A Lifesaving Milestone Reached

Puppy Mill Rescue efforts exceed 2,500 lives saved.

Cats and Coffee: The Pur-fect Pairing

League joins with PurinaOne® to host America’s first Cat Café, leading to many “cat’acchinos” and the adoption of 24 adult cats.

The Kick Off Of A Winning Tradition

The Kick Off Of A Winning Tradition

League joins with Hallmark Channel to air first annual Kitten Bowl.