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Yavapai Humane Society Charity Profile
Early in 1972 a small group of interested citizens of Prescott, Arizona met to form a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. They named their new organization the Yavapai County Humane Society and on March 27th of that year incorporated under the laws of the State of Arizona. Lew Silverstein was one of the original founding members of the Yavapai Humane Society and first signature on the papers of incorporation. Their purpose:
• The development, promotion, and maintenance of a humane society in the city of Prescott and surrounding area of Yavapai County for the prevention of the cruelty to animals.
• The operation and maintenance of an animal shelter including but not limited to, boarding and medical facilities, and an animal adoption center.
• The promotion of all animal welfare, including legislation.
Despite a Fund Drive meeting held on Jan. 24, 1973 at which time a decision to raise the sum of $50,000 nothing more was done.
In the spring of 1974, things began to happen. Peggy Stidworthy, Jean Sanz, Shirley Flaa, and Jean Thompson were instrumental volunteers and planned for a Baked Goods Sale. It was held Easter Saturday in front of the JC Penny store, downtown, which was a great success and raised $300.
A 4th member donated a hand made luncheon cloth and raffle tickets were sold for 10 cents for one and 3 for a quarter.
Other volunteers now offered their services to man tables at banks and stores during ‘Be Kind to Animals Week’, the first week in May. A local radio station, KYCA, donated hundreds of old phonograph records which were sold adding to the growing fund. Publicity picked up; many wrote letters to the editors of the Prescott Newspapers condemning conditions at the local dog pound, and criticizing the city for the number of lost and homeless animals roaming the streets. Many wrote to urge the citizens to donate to the animal Shelter Funds.
In October of 1974 an all out Fund Drive was organized lasting until the end of November-Thanksgiving Day. Volunteers covered the county and city on a house to house campaign. A mailing list was obtained and the drive netted $16,000 and the Shelter began to seem like a reality at last.
1975 arrived. The 2nd annual Easter Bake sale was held bringing in $400; $100 more than the previous year. An antique shop donated an antique grandfather clock, which brought in $1,800 through the sale of raffle tickets. Puppy cans were made and placed in stores throughout the city to raise money.
In the meantime, negotiations were going on with the city and county whereby the Humane Society would sell dog licenses and tags, retaining $1.00 from the sale of each.
The need for an office was becoming evident, and the Society was able to “lease” an old building from the county for $1.00 a year. Volunteers scrubbed, scoured and painted the interior; old office furniture was loaned or donated, and on November 24, 1975 the office at 135 South Cortez St. was in business. From this point on, the Society became actively involved in aiding needy animals, helping people find lost pets, and finding homes for homeless animals.
Membership Files were prepared and carefully maintained, and annual Membership Drives were now instituted. By the spring of 1976, $40,000 had been raised.
A final fund drive, to be called “The Last Mile” was launched May 1, 1976.
The goal was reached August 18, 1976 and plans for the shelter began materializing. The society was permitted to bid on and then purchased a piece of land from the city for $1.00 with the understanding that the land would be used only for the purpose of construction of an animal shelter there on.
On March 21, 1977 ground breaking ceremonies were held at the site with the Mayor of Prescott Larry Caldwell, and the President of the Humane Society jointly manning the shovel which broke the first ground. 5 months later, August 1977 was the long-awaited day when the shelter opened house. Its first tenant, a smart St. Bernard, who we named Beauregard, made his escape form the pound and headed straight for the new shelter, hiding under the office building until he was admitted to his own kennel.
Information provided by Peggy Stidworthy.