History of Early Heroes

The Humane Society of Erie County has its roots in the formation of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) which began in 1866. By 1877, the SPCA took over the concern for the well-being of children as well and so the American Humane Society was founded. The Erie County Humane Society was formed officially in 1900 and was concerned with providing “kindness, justice, and mercy to every living creature”.

Sandusky’s first female deputy, Fanny Facer Everett, was prominent in the founding of the Society and for many years worked as an armed humane agent protecting animals and children, often without compensation. The Society addressed animal cruelty cases, cases of neglect and non-support, domestic relations, finding shelter for people, providing transportation for stranded indigents, and domestic relations. When government began to take over the care of children, the Erie County Humane Society (HSEC) changed its focus to saving animals from abuse.

In 1954, a rift broke out among AHA members. Some believed that animals that were abandoned at shelters and had little hope of adoption should be turned over to laboratories for research. Other felt this was cruel and against what they were fighting for and formed the Humane Society of the United States. As the national organization offered no funding for local shelters, The Humane Society of Erie County, incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and operates solely with donations.

For many years, the HSEC was housed in Sandusky, Ohio on Columbus Avenue in the building currently holding the City’s water department. Volunteers were active in identifying animal abuse and rescuing animals in need of temporary shelter. In 1987, George Mylander donated a lot in Sandusky on Superior Street and a shelter was constructed with proceeds from donors throughout Erie County.

In 2011, the Board hired a new Executive Director to manage the shelter, expand the volunteer base, increase educational programs to bring the HSEC closer to the community, and to develop new resources for animals in need. Renovating and expanding the shelter was identified as critical to achieve the goals set by the Board. Cost projections were calculated and donations were set aside for construction. In 2017, the Board hired architect John Feick to draw plans for the project and solicit bids from area construction firms. The project was divided into three phases, allowing construction as funds become available.