History of the KCSPCAThe KCSPCA has deep roots in our county and a long history of strong volunteer involvement. It is these caring volunteers, along with a dedicated professional staff, that have made the SPCA the strong, effective organization it is today.
The Kent County SPCA had its earliest beginnings as far back as 1953. It had a series of starts and stumbles until November 1963 when a meeting of about 70 people formed the first well-organized group. They elected Pattie Rau president and Jean Bradford vice-president. Throughout the period from 1953 to 1963 Jeanetta Irwin provided the perseverance that ultimately brought the organization together. Jeanetta served as shelter manager from its beginnings until her retirement in 1976.
The SPCA incorporated in June of 1964 and signed its first contract with the Delaware Game and Fish Commission. The city of Dover donated the Horse Pond Road property. The early facilities consisted of four concrete kennels that had one side open to the weather. There were no facilities to handle cats, so Dr. Spence provided space to care for stray felines that were turned in or found.
In 1964 the State of Delaware, under the leadership of Senator James McGinnis, approved a $5,000 grant to the SPCA for new construction. With these funds, and a lot of work by volunteers to secure donated materials, a new building was completed in August of 1965. The new building gave the SPCA space for cats and they were moved from Dr. Spence's.
In 1966 Mr. Capaldi donated two small buildings to the SPCA. These buildings were moved to the Horse Pond Road site, providing separate space to handle puppies.
During this same period the Kent County SPCA was struggling just to keep the shelter open. With the help of Dr. Lorin Sebrell the organization was revitalized. Colonel Bill Richardson was elected president and under his leadership many improvements were made, including a trailer for office space, a security fence and many improvements to the kennels.
Since 1967 the SPCA has maintained a full and active board and has continued to grow and make improvements to the facilities and the services provided to the community. In 1994 the Kent County SPCA was awarded the contract by the State to provide Animal Control Officers for the County, bringing responsibility for animal control and care under one umbrella. This has led to a significant improvement in service and a major reduction in citizen complaints about non-responsiveness to calls for assistance.
The Board of the SPCA recognized many years ago that we would eventually need to enlarge the facilities and began placing all special event fund raising proceeds in a capital improvement fund for that purpose. This fund has provided the seed money to purchase a new and better-located property and to draw plans for a modern facility to serve Kent County now and well into the future.
This 2 million-plus dollar facility was opened to the public in July 2001. The facility has doubled its housing for canines and felines looking for homes, separate isolation and quarantine rooms, a full medical and radiology suite, and housing for large farm animals.
In July of 2005, The Kent County SPCA was awarded the Animal Control contract for the whole state of Delaware. As we continue to grow, the Kent County SPCA has tripled its staffing, opened 2 remote satellite holding facilities in New Castle and Sussex County, and expanded our home base shelter by adding an additional building to accommodate even more of the animals that are in need of shelter.
The KCSPCA Board of Trustees and Staff members look forward to providing a superior service from a well-located facility that can be easily expanded as Kent County's population grows in the future.