This year marks the SPCA of Wake County’s Golden Anniversary as we celebrate 50 years of helping pets and people in the Triangle. We are excited about expanding our role in the next 50 years and will be sharing some of our plans during a press conference June 7, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Join us live on our Facebook page for the press conference.

As we look to the future, we know it’s important to remember how we started, why we started and the evolution of the longest-running animal rescue group in our area.

The SPCA was established in 1967 with a single $5,000 donation. Mrs. Martha Gappins of Whiteville passed away and left $5,000 of her estate to help homeless animals. She left the money to the “Raleigh SPCA,” assuming that the capital city had its own Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals. When her trustee called Raleigh in search of the animal welfare society that did not exist, the call found Dot Helms, wife of Jesse Helms, and Diana Maupin, wife of Armistead Maupin, who were both active in Raleigh’s philanthropic community.  

Mrs. Helms and Mrs. Maupin held an open call for people interested in starting a Raleigh humane society. A newspaper advertisement and word of mouth drew over 200 people to a standing-room-only first meeting at the S&W Cafeteria in downtown Raleigh. And the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County was created from that meeting and officially incorporated on June 7, 1967.

From 1967 to 1971, the SPCA of Wake County took in homeless cats and dogs and kept them at a farm on Six Forks Road.  In 1971, the SPCA built and opened its first building on Highway 70 in Garner. That building, the Holding Center, is still a vital part of the SPCA’s program today and is where every animal starts his or her journey with us to a better life.

Built in 1971, the SPCA's original building is still in use today

In 1974, the privately-operated kennels that the City of Raleigh used to impound stray animals came under intense criticism for the inhumane conditions at the facility. The city investigated and shut down the kennels. Public officials with the city asked the SPCA of Wake County to provide the city with a sheltering program that involved a focus on the humane treatment and rehoming of the animals. In 1974, the SPCA entered into its first animal sheltering contract with the City of Raleigh and continued until mid-2010.

In 2004, the SPCA opened a state-of-the-art Pet Adoption Center in Raleigh. The SPCA of Wake County has helped more than 320,000 animals in its 50-year history, taking in animals throughout the Triangle and the state of North Carolina. The SPCA also helps reduce pet overpopulation with its low-cost Saving Lives Spay/Neuter Clinic. The clinic has performed more than 46,000 spay/neuter surgeries since opening in 2009.  

The SPCA is proud to serve the Triangle and North Carolina as it implements new ideas and techniques for creating a more humane community for animals and helps prevent animal cruelty.

What are our plans for the future and specifically the next few years? Join us live on Facebook at 10 a.m. June 7th to find out!  Plus, watch as puppies celebrate our 50th Anniversary by digging into some cake!  


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