See R. C. McCrea, The Humane Movement (1910, repr. 1969); L. G. Housden, The Prevention of Cruelty to Children (1955); P. P. Hallie, The Paradox of Cruelty (1969); D. Bakan, Slaughter of the Innocents (1971).
Aside from rescuing animals, the ASPCA is also involved with disaster preparedness and management. For instance, prior to hurricane Gustave making landfall in Louisiana, New Orleans, September 1,2008, the ASPCA checked in more than 800 animals into the Louisiana Mega Shelter in Shreveport. The shelter for evacuees is at capacity, so they are being rerouted to shelters in other states. The shelter for animals still has room available, and they continue to receive evacuees' pets. The ASPCA, along with the American Humane Association, currently has a 24 hour presence at the shelter.
The ASPCA works primarily with companion animal issues, such as pet care, equine or horse cruelty issues, and animal cruelty and neglect. Their programs and services include: a national poison control hotline for pet owners and animal health professionals; a shelter outreach program to promote best practices within locally-owned shelters, a corporate partner program to promote animal-friendly products and services, and a special anti-cruelty initiative to teach animal welfare education and animal welfare law enforcement practices (known as "humane law enforcement" within the organization) across the United States. In the state of New York, the ASPCA's Humane Law Enforcement division has powers to investigate cruelty and enforce laws. The Humane Law Enforcement division has been featured on the television program Animal Precinct.
Additionally, the ASPCA provides relief services for the domestic animal victims of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, where the National Outreach department collected donations to provide supplies; coordinated volunteer efforts; deployed rescue teams to recover abandoned pets; provided temporary shelter to displaced animals; and reunited pets with their owners.
The ASPCA is very active in lobbying for animal welfare legislation, with regional and federal lobbyists covering all 50 states. The ASPCA communicates with federal and state legislators to consider animal-friendly legislation and bills. The ASPCA also drafts animal welfare legislation initiatives and proposals for legislators to consider during their sessions. The ASPCA's "Advocacy Brigade" allows users to write/e-mail their legislators on important animal legislation bills and referendums.
Many local organizations use the term Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), but they are not related to the ASPCA, which is based in New York and has a national reach. Some local organizations take in animals that are stray, abused, or owner give ups, while others may provide humane law enforcement services. They may be private, or contracted with their local government.
The current president of the organization is Ed Sayres. The current vice president is Stephen Musso.