Bensalem Woman’s Animal Center Turns 152 Years Old — That’s 1,000+ in Dog Years


Women's Animal Shelter
Image via Women's Animal Shelter at Facebook.

Just four years after the Civil War, the Women’s Animal Center (WAC) unleashed its animal advocacy. This month, that shelter — the first in the nation — celebrates 152 years of care, reports Lucy Bustamante for NBC10

Catherine Malkemes, WAC chief executive officer, cites the history. 

“We are America’s first animal shelter, founded in 1869 by a group of Philadelphia women led by Carolyn Earle White. They wanted to make a difference in the lives of animals in Philadelphia and beyond. 

“They petitioned the mayor of the City of Philadelphia to take over what was then the dog pound. They wanted to make sure that animals were provided their basic needs: food, water and care.” 

White was a highly educated Philadelphia author and intellectual. Sensitive to the cruelty toward animals that was common on city streets at the time, she acted. White raised funds, organized volunteers and advocated for homeless cats and dogs.  

“Today, there’s over 3,500 animal shelters across the country. So, it all began with us,” Malkemes said. 

The WAC offers educational, adoption and veterinary services. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed its business to appointment-only visits. But it continues to unite willing Bucks County residents with dogs and cats in need of homes. 

“We’re so grateful that there are so many animal lovers in the Philadelphia region.” 

To watch Malkemes’ interview, visit NBC10

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