in New York City, Henry and a brother ran their retired fathers
shipbuilding company. When President Lincoln appointed Henry Bergh
secretary of the American Legation in Russia, he was horrified
to see animals treated cruelly. A visit in London to the Royal
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals awakened his
decisive action to secure a charter not only to incorporate the
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals but
to exercise the power to arrest and prosecute violators of the
law. Local governments across the United States and Canada formed
similar societies affirming: Animals have rights! Animal beatings
and cockfights are illegal! Sick or injured horses can no longer
be left to die on the streets!
In 1874 an incident of abuse of a child named Mary Ellen led people
to join with Bergh in establishing the New York Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children.