We are a humane society dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals. The organization was founded in November 1992 and incorporated in the State of New Jersey the following year. We are a private, non-profit, all-volunteer humane society funded entirely by private donations and recognized as tax-exempt under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service.
In this, our third decade, our focus continues to include YOU in hopes that we may be able to enlighten and inspire you to take action for animals.
“It all began with Sarah, found in misery on a given day in the fall of 1992. A loving black dog with compelling eyes and a certain magic. Throughout, she has been my inspiration and the driving force to make a difference for those left behind. Sarah’s magic continues to shine.”
— Marion Churchill
Founder and President of Compassion for Camden
I wrote this and the following following words in the mid 90′s. A long time ago, it seems. Much of what was written down brought attention to help animals. And, yes, it inspired some people to take action as well. It also inspired a few existing groups, those dedicated to animals or humans, to do more or even shift focus.
Our focus has not and will not change as it has always included all animals, not only our companion animals. As visit our site, you will see that it includes so-called farm animals, lab animals, circus and zoo animals, those who live in the wild on land and in the sea.
In November 1992, when we first began, I gathered a dozen friends for a meeting. With Sarah by my side and her dreadful “before” picture, I talked about the dogs and cats I had seen in the city suffering in all stages of deterioration. I told my horrified audience about dog fights that are so commonplace in Camden that people are under the impression they are legal. And, I told of the child who had seen a puppy set on fire and described such graphic details to me as the puppy “slobbering” while burning to death.
Camden is a relatively small city with 82,000 residents, just across the river from Philadelphia. It is the county seat for a well-to-do Camden County where politicians have swept animal issues under the rug for decades. There was much said that day about Camden, which has the dubious distinction of more dogs and cats abandoned, impounded and euthanized than any other city in the state and is indeed the worst setting for animals in the state of New Jersey.
I asked everyone present how we, the very people concerned about animals around the world, could allow this tragedy to happen less than ten miles from our homes.
A five year goal to make an all-around difference and to push the county’s politicians to provide a county animal shelter seemed reasonable. To achieve that goal, I vowed that I would volunteer full-time and for as long as possible.
We introduced humane education into the city’s schools and during unique mobile summer sessions at the city’s public housing projects. Veterinary care programs were started as an attempt to avoid abandonment by keeping dogs and cats healthy and good-looking — and spayed and neutered.
Early on, we stopped the horse-drawn carriage trade from setting up shop in Camden by petitioning the city council. This, in turn, prompted an ordinance to be written and passed, banning Philadelphia operators from bringing their cruel and corrupt trade to Camden’s waterfront area.
In 1996, I wrote — and council passed — a precedent-setting spay/neuter ordinance and, in 1997, the long-awaited and debated county animal shelter opened its doors. In 2001, we passed yet another model ordinance which prohibits the continuous chaining of dogs in the city. Our mobile adoptions, offered to folks in the county, saved hundreds of lives and a mobile animal drop-off program in the city ended the suffering for yet hundreds more.
For more than ten years we have seen incomprehensible cruelty and neglect and witnessed first-hand the very real connection of animal abuse and child abuse. Father Doyle of Camden Churches Organized for People calls Camden “a place like no other.”
Our quest for sanity is merely one of hundreds. No other city in the state ranks near Camden when it comes to urban woes happening here on a grand scale and now covering a period of more than 45 years. Thus, services benefiting animals are considered trivial and unimportant.
But, somehow we have managed to be heard. Unlike any humane society before us — or since — our ongoing presence at city hall and in the community has brought attention to Camden’s tragedy. Indeed, some things have changed and much more needs to be done.
It’s now a decade beyond the year 2000 and Camden’s plight continues, it may have even grown in size. We need to strike at the roots. Is anybody listening?