- To reduce animal suffering by providing assistance to abused, homeless, injured, and sick animals.
- To actively promote the altering of all pets to reduce overpopulation.
- To find loving, dependable, and nurturing forever homes for the animals in our care.
- To educate the public by promoting respect for all animals, the ethic of compassion, and the need to be kind and responsible stewards.
Animal Aid was founded by Jack Hurd, a Portland radio talk show host, in 1969. He spoke on the air about the number of cats dropped off and abandoned near his home in Laurelhurst Park and how much this bothered him and his wife, Kathryn. They had recently rescued an abandoned half-dead kitten, nursed it back to health, and named him “Chicken Charley.” Chicken Charley was later accompanied by 12 more cats that the Hurds rescued from their neighborhood.
When Jack’s listeners heard about the problem, they called in to talk about their own animal-related issues. Many people that called in told stories of their sick or injured pets and how they could not afford necessary veterinary care. Jack realized that something needed to be done to help these people and their pets. It was then that the concept of “Animal Aid” was born.
Jack’s first step to help his listeners was enlisting the help of local veterinarians who were willing to offer reduced rates for their services. Jack and Kathryn would help pay for some hardship cases, and eventually listeners called in to donate to other listeners.
The Hurds also solicited pet stores for food and supply donations. As a result of Jack’s on-air work, the couple acquired a team of 15-20 core volunteers who would help with fostering, adoptions, and delivering food. There was also a “lost and found” volunteer who would go through the newspapers and work to reunite pets with their owners; Kathryn noted that they placed about 1,000 animals per year through the program.
In 1973, Animal Aid officially became a non-profit organization. The original mission was to provide food for wild and domestic animals, to provide funds for routine and emergency veterinarian care for hardship cases, to rehabilitate and return wildlife to its natural habitat as possible, and to promote an understanding of all animal life and humane treatment of all domestic and wild creatures.
Jack and Kathryn continued to build Animal Aid until May of 1977, when Jacked passed away just 15 days shy of his sixtieth birthday. We are so grateful for the wonderful organization the Hurds created. We are proud to carry on their legacy. The Animal Aid Cares Fund was inspired by the remarkable man who gave us our start.