MENANDS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Many folks in the Capital Region don’t realize just how long the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society has been serving the community or that the organization first began as a shelter for children. This week, they are celebrating their 134th Anniversary.

On June 9, 1887, the Albany Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children based in Troy was officially incorporated after a horrible case of neglect involving a local little girl.

Not long after that, the Society’s founder, a very forward-thinking physician named Dr. William O. Stillman, believed they had a duty to include neglected and abused animals. Their efforts included having an ambulance for injured animals.

Dr. Stillman was heralded for many things, and even spearheaded the first ever Be Kind To Animals Week.

“Dr. Stillman was a pioneer in looking into humane education and looking into the connection between if someone was going to commit a crime against an animal more than likely that would lead to committing a crime against a child or a human being,” said Ashley Jeffrey Bouck, CEO of Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.

The society shuttered their homes for children in the late 1950s as they shifted to focusing solely on animals. But the concept of what was humane was very different than today.

“There was no support at the time. Everyone just looked at it like it was just an animal pound,” said Dave Glatz, Director of Facilities.

Glatz has worked at MHHS for nearly 40 years. He began as a peace officer with little help from local police departments. Back then, there were only eight employees caring for about 10,000 animals a year.

“The euthanasia rate was very high here due to the number of animals coming in,” said Glatz.

Now, about 95% of their animals are adopted. As mindsets changed and with a swell of support from the community, the shelter helped spur a system of other animal shelters.

In 2017, they built their current facility caring for 3,000 animals a year.

“Now I am proud to say I work here,” Glatz said. “At one time, I wasn’t too proud to be associated with the organization.”

Bouck adds, “There is really so much more that we will be able to do to enrich the lives of the animals and the people who love them.”