Go To Main Menu

Our History

The Maryland SPCA is one of the nation’s oldest animal welfare organizations, founded in 1869 by a group of Baltimore citizens who were concerned about the welfare of the City’s work horses. For decades, the MD SPCA provided water and emergency care to work horses that were used to pull wagons in daily commerce and investigated complaints about their treatment.

In the 20th century, as the use of horses in commerce declined, the MD SPCA began to aid the City’s homeless dogs. We entered into a contract with Baltimore City to manage shelter facilities and collect stray and lost animals. In 1950, we discontinued the contract because the City required that we provide lost and stray dogs to local hospitals for medical research. From 1950 to present, the MD SPCA has received no operating funds from the local, state or federal government, relying instead on private donations to care for animals. We continued to investigate allegations of animal cruelty into the 1990s.

In the early 1970s, we built a new kennel facility on the property, providing additional space and better housing for dogs and cats. In the mid-1990s, the MD SPCA began interviewing prospective adopters to make the best possible matches between animal and home. In 1997, we renovated our kennels and added office space for adoptions. In 2011, we completed renovations of our kennel facilities and opened the Morton Gorn Center for Animal Adoption. 

Today, the MD SPCA is one of the busiest adoption centers in the area, placing more than 3,000 pets a year into new homes.

Maryland SPCA Headquarters House

Visitors to the Maryland SPCA often ask about the Italianate-style mansion that sits on the MD SPCA’s property. The Headquarters House is the centerpiece of the estate known as "Evergreen on the Falls." The estate was purchased by Henry and Caroline Snyder in February 1862. By the summer of 1863, they had improved the property with extensive plantings and the lovely mansion.

Tragically, Henry Snyder was able to enjoy the home for only two years before he died of small pox in 1864 at the age of 38. Mrs. Snyder, unable to care for both her family and the estate, returned to her family farm. She sold the property in 1870 to David Carroll, owner of the Mt. Vernon Milling Company, who purchased it for his son, Albert. The estate remained in the Carroll family for the next 35 years, during which time kennels for hunting dogs and stables for carriage and riding horses were added to the property.

The MD SPCA purchased the estate in July 1926. It has served the MD SPCA well as a headquarters over the years, even surviving a fire in 1971. Though damaged, the house was restored and, on August 23, 1975, it was declared a National Historical Site.

Today the Headquarters House is used for our administrative offices.