A lot has changed during the Capital Area Humane Society's 125-year existence. For one thing, the group no longer includes protecting neglected children as one of its objectives.
Yes, that's right. When two local teachers and several community leaders founded the group in 1883, the Humane Society of Columbus was tasked with defending children, women and livestock - all vulnerable members of society - as well as creating a public sentiment against the abuse of innocent creatures.
Today, the name is different (it was changed to the Capital Area Humane Society in 1973) and the list of who they serve is smaller, but the group's core mission hasn't changed at all. They still work to prevent cruelty to animals and help the bond between humans and animals to flourish.
The humane society still has the group's daily logs from the 1890s, which paint a picture of how humane officers spent their days back then. In fact, they investigated cases just as today's officers do, explained Mary Hiser, the humane society's development manager.
A few of the entries from the original log book: "It is reported that David Y., who lives in Worthington, has a cow that he does not take proper care of. ... Caused to arrest of Michael S., janitor of the post office, for cruelty to dog. The trial was held on the 17th. Found guilty, was fined three dollars and costs."
The entries may sound a little silly, but Hiser takes comfort in reading about the outcomes of the cases. "It's nice to know that even back then, people were charged a fine for negligent behavior toward animals," she said.
Today, the Capital Area Humane Society continues to do their part to help. Last year, they served nearly 14,000 animals through their shelter, spay/neuter program and community services. They also found homes for more than 1,700 cats and kittens, more than 1,200 dogs and puppies, 126 rabbits and 234 small animals and other pets.
The group serves all of Franklin County with five humane agents who are out seven days a week, said Jodi Buckman, the human society's executive director. The humane society's shelter is an open-admission facility, which means it takes in all unwanted pets.
In the last year, besides felines and canines, the shelter has taken in a horse, sheep and a litter of piglets. They don't turn any animals away, Buckman said, "and there is no deadline for how long the animal can stay here. Our goal is to have healthy, adoptable pets."
One trend Buckman has noticed recently is an increased number of cats surrendered or reported to the agency.
"I don't know if there are more cats out there, or people are just more aware of them. But we do get a lot of cats," Buckman said.
This year, the Capital Area Humane Society launched the AdvoCat program to provide spaying and neutering assistance for cats to good Samaritans and low-income families. In addition, they also get a boost from the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine - senior veterinary students complete two-week surgical rotations at the clinic.
And just in time for this year's 125th-anniversary celebration, the humane society opened a new retail shop on Dec. 5. It's designed to ensure a smooth transition for adopted pets from the shelter to their new home.
"We have everything a new pet owner would need for the first few days," Buckman said. "And we have products for people who love pets."
Capital Area Humane Society
3015 Scioto-Darby Executive Ct., Hilliard