Following the creation of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in the United Kingdom in 1824 (given Royal status in 1840), Henry Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) on April 10, 1866, in New York City on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans, and must be protected under the law. ASPCA is the oldest animal welfare organization in the United States.
ASPCA describes itself as the nation's main humane organization, providing local and national leadership in three key areas: caring for pet parents and pets, providing positive outcomes for at-risk animals, and serving victims of animal cruelty.
Aside from rescuing animals, ASPCA provides relief services for domestic animal victims of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, where the National Outreach department collected donations to provide supplies, coordinate volunteer efforts, deploy rescue teams to recover pets, provide temporary shelter to displaced animals, and reunite pets with their owners.
The official color of ASPCA is orange. April 10th is ASPCA Day. On April 10th each year supporters are encouraged to wear orange to commemorate the protection of animals. ASPCA members spread their message that day using mobile adoption vans, photography booths for pets, information booths about animal cruelty laws, and ways to better care for pets.
ASPCA actively lobbies for animal welfare legislation, with regional and federal lobbyists covering all 50 states. ASPCA communicates with federal and state legislators to consider animal-friendly legislation and bills. ASPCA also drafts animal welfare legislation initiatives and proposals for legislators to consider during their sessions. ASPCA's "Advocacy Brigade" allows users to write or email legislators about important animal legislation bills and referendums.