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The Early History of South Shore Humane Society

In 1974 the Patriot Ledger ran a picture of a beautiful German Shepherd on the front page. We are not sure which town this was, but the Animal Control Officer was upset as he was supposed to put the dog to sleep as no one had claimed him. Mary Toomey (a Weymouth resident) and a Weymouth High School teacher made a call to the Ledger concerning the situation. Several other people called and there were letters published. Mary asked the Ledger for the names and phone numbers of interested callers. Mary called these people and they agreed to meet at the Tufts Library in Weymouth. The names of the original participants were Norma Weiner of Randolph, Doris Campbell of Braintree, Betty Braniforte of Weymouth and a fourth whose name has been forgotten.

Although the German Shepard initiated the meeting, the main focus was on the situations animals faced. If consigned to a town pound they had a limited number of days to live and they were routinely put to sleep. This was done without publishing the availability of these animals. They agreed that something had to be done. Meanwhile a reader of the Ledger had taken the German Shepherd whose picture had appeared in the paper.

The little group met again and each gave money to have the group incorporated. Norma Wieners' husband agreed to have this done. As soon as this was decided they elected Doris Campbell as President, Norma Weiner as Treasurer and Mary Toomey as Secretary. As soon as the incorporation was accomplished they advertised for members, and gradually others joined.

The early meetings consisted of discussions about the towns' Animal Control, state's laws about time given for adoption, types of Animal Control Officers etc. Reports on conditions at town and city shelters were on the whole, poor. Mary and Betty Brangiforte visited the Weymouth pound, and found it poor. They reported this to the Town Officials, and said they would help to improve it. Mary enlisted the aid of Weymouth High School students to work at the pound after school and walk the dogs. Other members checked on surrounding towns.

Meetings at first were held at the home of Doris Campbell in Braintree. The discussions began to focus on how to publicize the animals in pounds that were available for adoption. Finally they enlisted the aid of the editor of the Ledger who agreed to print the column of available animals provided the Society give him a list according to towns and also a picture. This brought excellent results. Betty Brangiforte also organized a party on Christmas at the Weymouth Pound and many people attended. In addition they received money from the town to install runs for the animals. Little by little the Society grew, and improvements were made.

Fortunately, Althea Griffin had joined and in 1979 and she agreed to become president. Her sister Muriel Carlson was also a big help and over the next 20 years they devoted themselves to the expansion of South Shore Humane Society.

Althea became recognized throughout the state as an advocate and champion for all animals. In reality, she literally worked seven days a week to educate others, to address problems and to develop programs to alleviate the suffering of animals and to assist pet owners.

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Programs of the South Shore Humane Society

    The Goals of the South Shore Humane Society are as follows:
  1. Reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats and rabbits through our Spay and Neuter Assistance Program.
  2. Enlist more foster homes for cats and dogs and rabbits until new permanent homes can be found.
  3. Actively support legislation designed to protect wild and domestic animals.
  4. Participate in Pet Therapy by visiting nursing homes with cats and dogs and rabbits
  5. Carry out our school program which instructs children in the understanding and care of pets.
  6. Give emergency financial assistance to injured and ill animals when it is deemed that the owners are in urgent need of assistance with veterinary bills.
  7. Use the media, newspaper, and TV, to publicize the dogs and cats on the South Shore who are desperately in need of caring new homes.
  8. Run an active adoption and placement program.

Feral Cat Program

Communities throughout the country are facing large populations of feral cats as a direct result of negligent pet owners. They fail to spay (female) or neuter(male) their pets and when they show signs of being "in heat", they throw their pets out like trash. College students leave their pets behind when they go home for the summer or when they graduate. Apartment owners receive ultimatums to either get rid of their cat or move out. In all instances, it is the cat that ultimately suffers. They are tossed out without a second thought to fend for themselves. Now they are called "abandoned" cats. They begin to breed "in the wild" and have multiple litters of kittens per year, none of which ever are socialized with humans. They are extremely fearful of humans. These are the "feral" cats. They continue to breed, spread feline diseases amongst themselves and, many times, die of diseases, starvation, or as food for animals higher on the food chain. This is a problem of enormous proportions, and has been addressed in different ways, by different people. The only proven way of adequately slowing, and eventually breaking this cycle is to Spay/Neuter, Immunize and Return these cats to their colonies. Young kittens who can be taught to trust and accept humans need to be socialized and placed with loving families.

To this end, South Shore Humane has developed a Feral Cat Program under the leadership of Ron Vachon, who originally formed the Cat Action Team of Holbrook, in order to address that town's feral cat problem.

Under this program, colonies have been trapped humanely, the cats have been spayed/neutered, immunized and released. Volunteers share the responsibilities of trapping, bringing the cats to the vets or spay clinics, and monitoring these colonies for health issues as well as providing food and shelter for them.

This is a cumbersome task, but these dedicated people work with Ron 365 days a year in order to maintain these colonies. There is always a need for volunteers.

People who are interested in addressing the needs of a feral colony near them are urged to contact Ron (781-767-3806) or email mousemother@comcast.net for information on how their feral population can be helped and ultimately controlled. While South Shore Humane does not have "trappers", we do offer education as well as loan out the humane traps. Together, we can make a difference!

Smokey's Fund (Pet Medical Help)

Smokey's Fund is a medical assistance fund established by the South Shore Humane Society in the early 1990's. The fund was originally established as a Emergency medical assistance fund in memory of a dog name Smokey. Smokey had been hit by a car and his owner was unable to find a veterinarian who would treat the dog because the owner had no money. By the time the owner had contacted SSHS the dog had suffered for a week and had to be humanely euthanized despite the owner's attempt at home care.

Thankfully, today most veterinary offices offer some limited financial assistance to their clients through their own office "rescue funds" and also by offering their clients various payment options , such as a a low interest charge card program called "Care Credit." And some pet owners are also now purchasing veterinary health insurance policies which can help finance unforseen veterinary bills.

But there will always be those situations, where a beloved pet or new found stray needs help. Please understand, we do screen all requests for medical assistance - we do not assist with routine medical care such as vaccines etc. - these expenses should be expected as part of the responsibility of pet ownership - instead we try utitlize the fund for emergencies and to assist those people who have true financial need.

As word of this fund as spread, we have been flooded with requests for assistance from all over the state, and have found that we have had to limit assistance to residents of the approximately 15 towns that SSHS services. These 15 communities are Abington, Braintree, Hanover, Hingham, Hanson, Holbrook, Hull, Norwell, Milton, Randolph, Rockland, Stoughton, Whitman, Quincy and Weymouth.

To request financial assistance with a medical problem, please refer to our main telephone number, 781 843 5838, to obtain the name and telephone number for the volunteer who is currently managing the Medical Assistance Program.

As with other organizations, we have far more requests for aid than we have resources. If you would like to make a donation towards this fund, assist with fundraising, or wish to make a bequest, please contact our treasurer, Kathy Vachon, at 781-767-3806, for assistance.

Donations are always appreciated as there alway seem to be more and more animals out there who need our help.

Spay and Neuter Assistance

One of the primary goals of the South Shore Humane Society since its inception in 1974 is to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats through our Spay and Neuter Assistance Program.

Pet owners can call Mary Connolly, President, at 508-378-3560 to apply for spay/neuter assistance. Please understand that like most of the volunteers here at SSHS, we work during the day and can only return calls in the evenings, usually between 6:00 and 9:00 pm, and on weekends.

For dogs, SSHS has a certificate program through Roberts Animal Hospital in Hanover, MA and/or South Coastal Animal Health in South Weymouth. Please call Mary for details.

For cats, we can refer both feral and owned pets, under five years of age, to the Stop Clinic mobile spay van operated by Dr. Roche, 617-571-7151, www.thestopclinic.com. In most cases we recommend the pet caregiver check the website for the most up-to-date information of schedule and location.

We also have a certificate program for cats, again through Roberts Animal Hospital in Hanover and South Coastal Animal Health in Weymouth. Please call Mary for details.

South Shore Humane Society also attends the feral cat spay days hosted by Commonwealth Cats, usually held 4 times a year. Please check out their website www.commonwealthcats.org for upcoming clinic dates and locations

For neuter/spay assistance for Rabbits please call for a certificate.

We also direct people, depending on where they live, to the following Low cost neuter/spay clinics.

    Alliance for Animals
    232 Silver St.
    So. Boston, MA 02127

    Animal Advocates
    PO Box 79258
    606 State Rd.
    N. Dartmouth, MA 02747
Often times we hear from people who have stray cats in their yards or neighborhoods that they are feeding but the cats are having kittens year after year! When we talk to people about having these cats spayed or neutered people will often say "Oh, I can't get near the cat, they come around to be fed but run if I try to pat them." Much to my surprise, people often don't realize that these cats can be humanely trapped, neutered and returned to the area they came from! For a small deposit, we can lend you a humane trap, explain to you how to use it and make arrangements for a low cost spay or neuter. Occasionally we have a experienced trapper who can assist you but there is often a waiting list for a volunteer trapper to become available. So, for a sooner resolution of the cat problem in your neighborhood - please call and we can give you advice and the tools to help the cats.

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Adopting A Friend

To Download a copy of our Adoption Application CLICK HERE.

Please fill out the application, Save it as a WORD document to your desktop, then email it to maryconnolly.sshs@comcast.net

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South Shore Humane Society's Contact Information

Mary Connolly, President
508 378 3560

Lorraine Nicotera, Vice President
781 337 7513

Mary Connolly
508 378 3560

Ron Vachon, Director
781 885 1710

Mary Connolly
508 378 3560

Isabelle Oliveri
617 770 3371

Claire Stern, Director
781 843 8824

Janet Gray, Director
781 331 8898

Kathy Vachon, Acting Treasurer
781 885 1710

Jean Giagrande, Director
781 848 8216

Connie Coleman, Director
781 749 9157

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