About Us

Who We Are

We strive to find the perfect fit for placement for every single one of our animals.  We take the time to talk to potential adopters and help them choose a companion so that the match is perfect for the animal and for the home.
Before they leave our care, each of our dogs and cats are fixed, vaccinated, FeLV/FIV or heartworm tested, dewormed and on monthly parasite prevention.  Each of our animals gets weighed and given parasite prevention every month. 

For the past 30 years, the Humane Society of Erie County has operated a shelter to take in homeless dogs and cats, provide them with proper care, and match them permanently with loving families; and worked to educate the public on compassion and proper care of animals. All of this done by donations, as we receive no county, city, state or federal funding.

We provide a safe, temporary shelter for dogs and cats while providing them with medical care, until placing them into their new, loving, “forever” homes.  We strive to prevent animal cruelty in Erie County through education about recogizing and properly reporting abuse/neglect cases.  We believe that compassion can be learned, so we speak to children about proper care and treatment of animals.   

Our Mission

The mission of the Humane Society of Erie County is to educate residents on proper care, compassion, housing and support of animals as we work to connect them with their forever homes.

History & Growth

The Humane Society of Erie County has its roots in the formation of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) which began in 1866. By 1877, the SPCA took over the concern for the well-being of children as well and so the American Humane Society was founded. The Erie County Humane Society was formed officially in 1900 and was concerned with providing “kindness, justice, and mercy to every living creature”.

A lot changed as the structure and purpose of organizations and municipalities morphed over the years.  The oversight of the welfare of children shifted, and differences of opinion lead to a split in the national animal welfare groups. As the national organization offered no funding for local shelters, The Humane Society of Erie County incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 1985, and operates solely with donations.

For many years, the HSEC was housed in Sandusky, Ohio on Columbus Avenue in the building currently holding the City’s water department.  In 1987, George Mylander donated a lot in Sandusky on Superior Street and a shelter was constructed with proceeds from donors throughout Erie County.

In 2011, the Board hired Executive Director Barbara Hargreaves to manage the shelter,  and a capitol campaign was designed and implemented to double the size of the shelter.  The expansion was completed in the fall of 2019, and was paid for prior to completion.  After a decade of true commitment and grit, Barbara retired in the summer of 2021.  In June of 2021, Melissa Gundlach was promoted to manage the facility after five years of working as the Registered Veterinary Technician for HSEC.