The earliest record of a Humane Society Organization in Venango County dates to 1901 when Mrs. C. J. Miller and Mrs. Samuel G. Allen complained of the cruelty they witnessed to draft and carriage horses as they carried oil barrels. They were termed “concerned matrons”. In March 1901 the Venango Humane Society was formed. The society existed for several years and then faded away. The precise reasons are lost to history.
The Modern Venango County Humane Society traces its beginnings to 1954 when 18 animal lovers gathered to discuss the problem of strays, unwanted animals and animal cruelty. In June of 1956, the Venango County Humane Society was incorporated with the stated purpose of the corporation to:
“Provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals; to provide proper care for stray and injured animals; to enforce all laws designed for the protection of animals; to secure in lawful manner the arrest, conviction and punishment of persons violating such laws; and through the dissemination of literature and other educational means, to instruct and induce people to be kind, considerate and merciful in their treatment of animals.”
The original incorporators were H. D. Brown, Jr., Ruth M. Oliver, Mary M. Bouquin, Helen James and Adelaide E. Fike, all of Oil City. The first board of directors following incorporation was composed of Helen C. James, John E. Cunningham, Elvira M. Falco, Mary M. Bouquin, Donald L. Marsh, W. F. Sharpnack, Lorraine Hoover, Mrs. A. H. Hoover, H. D. Brown, Jr., John R. Rynd, Jr., D. J. Schultz, Betty Rennacker, Adelaide E. Fike, Helen Gahr, William Stahlman and Mrs. William Stahlman.
The first shelter was established on property owned by board members Mr. and Mrs. William Stahlman along Horsecreek Road in Cranberry Township, which was also listed as the initial registered office in the papers of incorporation. Animals were housed in makeshift crates, which have been described as ramshackle, but the animals were safe and well fed. The dream continued to be to have a proper shelter.
Under the leadership of then president Gerald Swartzfager the dream moved toward reality in 1970. With the proceeds from countless bake and rummage sales, raffles and the initiation of a capital fund drive, the Venango County Humane Society purchased two acres of land along Deep Hollow Road. The property was purchased from Quaker State Corporation at a cost of $4,000. In September of 1970 the society, with money coming in from the capital fund drive, took out a $45,000 loan and began construction of a modern shelter.
Construction of the new, then state-of-the-art shelter was completed in late 1971.
Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, the number of animals that would find their way to the shelter steadily increased. It was not too many years before the new shelter was often full, and the facilities were becoming outdated.
A generous bequest by Adelaide Fike, an original incorporator, allowed the society to begin planning in 1992 for a major expansion and renovation, which was undertaken in 1993. The shelter office was enlarged, and a new cat room, tech room and enclosed areas where potential adopters could become acquainted with the animals were added. The shelter now had 28 dog pens and four puppy pens – the nurseries – all with outside runs, and 20 condo-style cat cages and a cat nursery area.
In 1998 construction of a new sewage treatment system to serve the shelter was completed at a cost of about $70,000.
In 2008 the Venango County Humane Society received a generous donation from a benefactor. The monies enabled the society to retain an architect to design an efficient shelter and to build a new facility for our shelter pets.
Our new shelter is spacious and staffed with employees that give compassionate care to our shelter pets. Come and visit us at 286 South Main Street, Seneca, PA 16346.
Our Mission is to positively impact homeless companion animals.