About Us

About Us

30-Seconds of Hope & Healing at the MSSPA

Watch the video to learn more about MSSPA and the horses rehabilitated at the River Road shelter.


  • The MSSPA is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) private charitable organization and licensed animal shelter
  • The organization is funded by a combination of donations, bequests, grants, and fundraising activities
  • The Society does not charge for its shelter services and seeks no reimbursement from any public source

The Horses

  • Horses are most commonly 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
  • If no suitable adoption is found, horses may live out their natural lives at the farm

The Care

  • MSSPA horses receive the best veterinary and farrier care on site
  • Dedicated staff and volunteers provide the daily care and love needed for the rescued horses to thrive
  • Eligible horses receive professional training including ground work, riding and driving

While many horses do arrive at the shelter looking like Quarterhorse mare Violet, malnourished, underweight, and exhausted, that is not the end of their story.  The real magic happens next, as the horses are rehabilitated and their true personalities emerge.

Click Here to Read Violet’s Full Story

After regaining their health through individualized feeding plans combined with high quality veterinary and farrier care, the rescued horses enter the Society’s training program.  Some horses can be trained for riding or driving while others receive the majority of their training on the ground so that they can be adopted as companions.  MSSPA’s goal is for all the rescued horses to find the right adoptive home.

Click Here for Horses Available for Adoption

Get involved at New England’s Premier Horse Shelter.

Sign up for our email list to stay in the loop with all the news, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of great horse pics.

Learn more about volunteering at the shelter or check out the horses available for adoption.

The rescued horses are supported by your donations.  Please consider making a one-time donation or a monthly gift.

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. Learn more about the MSSPA’s history and help us celebrate 150 years of saving horses!

MSSPA Mission

The mission of the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals is to protect the health and welfare of neglected and abused equines. 

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

David Jefferson, DVM; John Lescure; Kevin Mahoney; Joseph McCarthy; Sawin Millett; Staci Nisbett; Jane Sheehan; Amy Starnes; Roger Timmons; John Trafton; Debbie Valenti; and Margaret Wheeler, LVT.


Jane Sheehan, President; Kathy Woodbrey, Vice President, Executive Director (non-voting); John Lescure, Treasurer; and Debbie Valenti, Assistant Treasurer

Advisory Council

Meris J. Bickford, Esq.; Peggy Cianchette; Jim Jaeger; Harold Pachios, Esq.; Sarah Strouss; and Amanda Woolford.

Of Counsel

Emily T. White


MSSPA 2023 IRS Form 990

MSSPA 2022 IRS Form 990

Celebrate the life of MSSPA Director Emeritus Marilyn Goodreau, who passed away July 9, 2023.

Marilyn Goodreau Tribute