Our Story

//Our Story
Our Story2020-12-04T16:47:19+00:00

Founded in 1944, North Shore Animal League America has grown into the world’s largest, most comprehensive, rescue and adoption organization. View our timeline to see how far our little shelter has come.

Our Life Saving Lineage


Stand With Us!

Our petition against the Yulin (China) Dog Meat “Festival” generates nearly 60,000 signatures from around the world. In addition, our International Rescue Program transports 16 dogs from the horrors of the Yulin (China) Dog Meat “Festival” to the safety of our Adoption Center. We also continue to rescue from Thailand.


Pet Health Centers Take Center Stage

Pet Health Centers Take Center Stage

The Alex Lewyt Veterinary Medical Center, the Freed Special Recovery Center, and the Karen and Don LaRocca Pet Wellness Center are re-branded as the Pet Health Centers at North Shore Animal League America.

Only The Best For Wellness

The state-of-the-art Don and Karen LaRocca Pet Wellness Center opens, providing the latest veterinary medical treatments including aqua therapy.

The Curriculum Supports Compassion At Home

The Curriculum Supports Compassion At Home

The Mutt-i-grees At Home handbook is published, highlighting ways parents can promote empathy and raise awareness of shelter pets. Disseminated to parents and families, the handbook is also used by state agencies and child and family services.

Mutt-i-grees On The March

Mutt-i-grees On The March

To date, the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum and its supplemental programs have been implemented in more than 4,000 schools and libraries in all 50 states, including Washington D.C., and Canada.

The Curriculum’s New Website

The Curriculum’s New Website

Launch of a redesigned website reflecting the growth of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum and its potential as a global initiative.

We Don’t Forget

Nearly a year after hurricanes devastated Texas, Louisiana, and the Caribbean, we continue to work with shelter partners in the region to bring stranded and abandoned pets to safety, including homeless kittens rescued from the streets.


75 Years of Saving Lives!

75 Years of Saving Lives!

Celebrating 75 years of saving lives and setting the standard for no-kill, animal welfare work.

Building Bridges, Saving Lives

Muttigrees® Ambassadors, students from Spruce Pine, North Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York, work together to assist with a rescue transport of dogs and cats

New LaRocca Dog Park Opens

The LaRocca family, staff and volunteers participated in an official ribbon cutting ceremony for the new dog park. The LaRocca family continued a tradition begun by their mother and father, Karen and Don LaRocca, and donated to assist Animal League America with renovating the existing dog park.

1st Annual Giving Day was a Resounding Success!

1st Annual Giving Day was a Resounding Success!

Initiated the 1st Annual Giving Day on May 1st in honor of our 75th year of saving lives. We commemorated our Founder’s Day and launched our Global Pet Adoptathon®. The funds raised benefited the Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center.

Emergency Rescue Team Braves Hurricane Dorian’s Harsh Wind and Rain

More than 50 animals are rescued from the hurricane’s track and possible euthanasia and brought back to our Port Washington, NY campus.

Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center Opens

Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center Opens

Beth Stern, National Spokesperson, Foster Parent, and Board Member, cut the ribbon officially opening the cage-free Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center. Beth is joined by (from left to right) Joanne Yohannan, Senior Vice President of Operations, Billy Joel, husband Howard Stern, Rachael Ray and John Cusimano, and J. John Stevenson, President & CEO.

Jindo Mix Dogs Saved from Horror of Korean Dog Meat Farm

Adult dogs, saved from a Korean dog meat farm, arrive at our Port Washington, NY campus through a new partnership with K9 Global Rescue.


Saving Lives in a Big Way

Animal League America collaborated with National Mill Dog Rescue to save more than 100 dogs and puppies from horrific puppy mills, and brought them to our campus, where we found them responsible, loving homes.​

Coronavirus Pandemic Sweeps through New York

Animal League America responded to the COVID-19 health crisis by instituting social distancing, requiring staff and adopters to wear masks on the campus, processing adoption applications via zoom and phone, and conducting adoptions by appointment only. The Pet Health Centers used a drive-up service to drop off sick pets to see the veterinarians. ​

Rescue Team Braves the Aftermath of Hurricane Laura to Help Shelter Partners

More than 60 homeless dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens were rescued from shelters in Louisiana and Texas in the wake of Hurricane Laura and brought to safety at Animal League America’s Port Washington, NY campus.

Partnership with Proud Rescuers from Puerto Rico

With the arrival of 13 more cats, Animal League America’s partnership with Proud Rescuers from Puerto Rico has saved the lives of 200 felines.

New Lifesaving Milestone!

New Lifesaving Milestone!

Thanks to our wonderful supporters, we’ve saved over 1.1 million lives!

First Anniversary of the Opening of Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center

This cutting-edge Adoption Center has been a sanctuary in its first year — a safe place amid a pandemic where all felines, including senior and special needs, continued to be adopted.

A Virtual Celebration of Rescue

A Virtual Celebration of Rescue

First-ever Virtual Celebration of Rescue was held and raised nearly $300,000 for homeless animals. The celebration, which featured celebrity guests and an online auction, showcased compelling rescues, inspiring stories of animals overcoming adversity, the dedication of our frontline workers in our Adoption Centers during the global pandemic.


Puppy Mill Rescue Dogs Find New Life

Fifty dogs were saved from puppy mill breeders in the Midwest, with the help of National Mill Dog Rescue. This marked the first rescue mission with National Mill Dog Rescue since COVID-19 restrictions were implemented over a year ago. Many of these animals were sadly treated as commodities — used purely for breeding purposes, and…

Chihuahuas Rescued From House of Horror

Animal League America took part in a rescue that saved more than 150 dogs from an extreme hoarding situation in Tennessee. Shelter partner Rescue DOG (Mountain City, TN) led the mission in lifting the dogs – primarily Chihuahuas of varying ages — out of unfathomable living conditions. Our Mobile Rescue Unit in the area picked…

Our Animal Rescue Efforts Take to the Skies

It was clear skies ahead for the 21 dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens who landed at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY, on their way to Animal League America and a brighter future. Through a new collaboration with Amelia Air Animal Rescue, and the efforts of our South Carolina partner Lakeside Animal Rescue, Animal League America…

Hurricane Ida Canine Rescues Arrive to Helping Hands

With help from our shelter partner, Paws4Life, 55 adorable canines were rescued from Louisiana-area shelters in advance of Hurricane Ida, in order to make room for animals displaced by the storm. Donations filled our Mobile Unit with critical supplies which were distributed to shelters in the Gulf Coast region, struggling from the catastrophic impact of…