HSNT is passionate about helping animals in need. Our mission is to act as an advocate on behalf of all animals and to ensure their legal, moral and ethical consideration and protection. We provide for the well-being of animals who are abandoned, injured, mistreated or otherwise in need. We promote an appreciation of animals and seek to instill respect for all living creatures.
HSNT's Early History
Dr. John S. Burns
On a summer night in 1904, an enthusiastic group of people met in Fort Worth to talk about their plan to form a Humane Society. The group included doctors, businessmen, homemakers, and a judge. Some of the women had worked to protect children and animals in the 1890’s. Now, they joined the new group to fight cruelties. Reading about life in Fort Worth 100 years ago helps us understand their determination. In the city streets it was common to see horses and mules staggering as they pulled overloaded wagons while being beaten with bullhide whips. Newspaper stories often reported the abandonment of infants and young children and the physical abuse of women by drunken husbands. The member of the new Society held frequent meetings, often at the Fakes Furniture Store, which was owned by the Humane Society’s first President, W. G. Turner. Volunteers were organized, duties assigned. In 1905, the Fort Worth Humane Society was officially incorporated as an independent charitable organization with this purpose: “to protect women and children and to prevent cruelty to animals.”
Humane Society volunteers worked with the small police force and sheriff’s deputies to warn first and arrest if necessary owners of over worked horses. Every year the work increased. A Humane officer was employed to patrol the streets and to answer complaints. Since many cruelties occurred outside the city limits, the Society changed its name to “Tarrant County Humane Society” in 1910. Four fountains were built to water thirsty horses and mules coming into the city from dry West Texas . By 1915, the amount and scope of the work done was impressive. A quarterly report for January – March, 1915, states that 1, 525 complaints were investigated. The cases included two little girls found in a brothel, a woman with a two-week old infant, who was cruelly beaten by her husband, homes were found for abandoned children, jobs were found for young boys taken from the overcrowded jail. Hundreds of animals were rescued from starvation, neglect, and physical abuse: 281 horses but also mules, cows, calves, cats, dogs, poultry (including a box car full of chickens), and a monkey. The work done by the pioneer founders of our Humane Society is our heritage.
In 1982, our name was changed to the Humane Society of North Texas to reflect our belief that kindness cannot stop at county lines and to indicate our investigative and rescue work in neighboring counties. Today, strong laws protect children and shelters have been established for endangered women. But animals still need our Humane Society just as they did 100 years ago.