About Us

About Us


  • 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

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.

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.

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; Jane Sheehan; Amy Starnes; Roger Timmons; John Trafton; Debbie Valenti; and Margaret Wheeler, LVT.


Jane Sheehan, President; 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 2019 990