About Us

About Us


  • The MSSPA is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) and receives no federal, state or local funding
  • The organization is funded by a combination of donations, bequests, grants, and fundraising activities
  • The Society does not charge for its services and seeks no reimbursement from any public source

The Horses

  • Horses are received by the MSSPA from Maine law enforcement officials
  • Most of the animals in care at the Society have been abused or neglected
  • The goal for each horse is rehabilitation and a new home
  • During the pendency of an animal cruelty prosecution, the MSSPA does not comment.

The Care

  • MSSPA horses receive the best veterinary care on site
  • Eligible horses receive professional training including ground work, riding and driving
  • If unsuitable for adoption, horses may live out their natural lives at the farm

Take the 60-Second Shelter Tour!

Watch the video to learn more about MSSPA and the horses rehabilitated at the River Road shelter.  Please note that due to COVID, the shelter is not currently open to visitors.

MSSPA History

The Society is unlike any other animal welfare facility in New England. Originally formed in 1872 to protect the horses who pulled Portland’s streetcars and fire engines, the Society now provides shelter services, has access to veterinary medical care, and maintains dozens of equines on its farm facilities.

MSSPA Mission

The mission of the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals is to provide refuge, rehabilitation, and placement of seized equines, support the placement of surrenders, and educate the public. The vision is the elimination of equine abuse and neglect.

The Society uses its resources to provide direct care to animals who have suffered abuse. The Society promotes humane treatment, training, and use of animals through education and hands-on experiences. It collaborates with other animal-serving agencies to maximize the resources of all.

Society Leadership

Board of Directors

The Honorable Bill Diamond; Marilyn L. Goodreau, Chairwoman Emeritus; David Jefferson, DVM; Joseph McCarthy; Nancy Mills; Sonya Nadeau; Andrew Robinson, District Attorney; Christopher Rogers; Danny Shaw; Jane Sheehan; Amy Starnes; Roger Timmons; John Trafton; and Debbie Valenti


Meris J. Bickford, Esq., Vice President, CEO; Kathy Woodbrey, Secretary, Assistant CEO; The Honorable Bill Diamond, Treasurer; and Debbie Valenti, Assistant Treasurer

Of Counsel

Harold C. Pachios, Esq.


MSSPA 2018 990