WCHS History

Jennie Powers’ Legacy

In 1887, a group of animal lovers in Windham County formed The Brattleboro Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Mrs. Jennie B. Powers served as humane agent for both Windham County, VT and Cheshire County, NH. Armed with the powers of a deputy sheriff, Jennie worked tirelessly in defense of animals. She once jumped from a window in her Brattleboro home to stop a man from beating his horses. At the freight yards she watched the loading of cattle, inspecting them on the cars. At her own expense, she once fought in a court case against a man charged with starving his horse.

Recent History

In 1968, the organization gained 501(c)3 status under the new name, Windham County Humane Society. In the early 1980s WCHS was an office downtown, with no housing for animals. From 1989 to 1991, offices were rented at Linda and Henry Hellus’ farm. In 1992, the Humane Society moved to cottages on Route 30, and the first animals were housed in two small buildings. In the late 1990’s a dedicated group of volunteers raised the money to build a new facility, which opened to the public in April of 2000 – that is where you can visit us today, keeping the legacy of Jennie Powers alive, protecting and caring for the animals who share our lives.