Central Dakota Humane Society : About Us
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OUR HISTORY


March 1, 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of the League for Animal Welfare. In 1957 fewer than 12 people (among them William Austin, Dorothy Moses and Joe Donahue, who later became Board members) gathered at the home of League founder Mrs. T. Clem (Meredith) Casey to begin plans to care for the area's increasing number of stray animals.

In paging through the newspaper article/picture album that Meredith entrusted to our care in 1996, it was evident that this small group of people worked diligently and tirelessly to care for and find homes for what they referred to as their "orphaned pets," which were housed at a local kennel and by caring individuals in their homes.

By the 1960's, listeners to KBOM (1270 on your radio dial) could hear information on pets available for adoption at 10:15 a.m. Monday through Friday. "Pets on Parade" featured "orphaned pets" on KXMB-TV, Channel 12. Proper pet responsibility was conveyed through dog obedience classes, newspaper articles and in school classrooms. "Animals in Art" competitions were held and chaired by Mrs. Ralph Vinje. There are a number of pictures of "Riff," Mrs. Casey's beautiful Scottish Collie. In the 34th annual observance of September National Dog Week article, Riff's theme addressed to humans was "Deserve to be Your Dog's Best Friend."

During that time, an annual dog license fee was $4.00 and cat licensing was being discussed. In a Bismarck Tribune on-the-street interview, people shared their views on possible cat licensing fees. The suggested amounts ranged from five cents to $50.00, mostly from individuals who didn't like cats!

We tend to look upon that "Father Knows Best/Leave It To Beaver" era as the ideal... a less tainted American way of life. It's interesting, but sad to discover that some of the same problems the League was dealing with 40 years ago, we're still seeing today: Family moves, but leaves dog chained to a tree in backyard; boys try to drown Maltese puppy; amidst the garbage, two tiny pups found; animals tortured; kitten found mutilated...

In a 1966 Bismarck Tribune article, with a heavy heart, the League for Animal Welfare announced it had to cut most of their services because of a lack of funding and a need for a facility designed specifically for sheltering unwanted animals. The League would continue to accept donations until a shelter facility could be established. In 1972 an architect's drawing of a proposed shelter was unveiled in the Bismarck Tribune. With $13,000 from contributors, there was hope again for an all-out campaign to get a shelter project launched. "I won't rest until it's finished," Mrs. Casey said of the proposed pet shelter at that time. As we know, this plan didn't come to fruition.

In the years since, many other high hopes and the plans of other caring, compassionate individuals have been dashed as well. But in the fall of 1994, with a bequest from the Estate of Ruth Ferguson (and a wish and a prayer), we purchased the former Poodle Boutique and Kennels. And now, eight years later, we have completed our second shelter building housing 32 dogs, thanks primarily to bequests from the Estate of Elmer and Evelyn Klipstein, the Estate of Agnes Lindseth, and through the beneficence of Helen Sorlie.

During a recent conversation with Meredith from her Montana home, when asked to share her thoughts about the shelter facility and especially the newly constructed dog building, her smile was evident across the phone lines as she said, "It's a miracle... a dream come true!"