Stevens-Swan Humane Society is now Anita’s Stevens Swan Humane Society (Anita’s SSHS).
In the early 1900s, a collaboration began with the Utica American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,
the Stevens Humane Society of Rome (founded by James Stevens), and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Children (founded by Gustavus Swan). The purpose of the union was to work together to better serve both
children and animals throughout Oneida County. The three societies officially merged in 1910 to become the
Stevens-Swan Humane Society of Oneida County Inc. (SSHS). Currently, SSHS provides care for more than 2,000
at-risk animals annually and 800 animals are adopted from the shelter each year.
Unfortunately, over the last decade, Stevens-Swan Humane Society has faced increased financial hardship.
Awareness of this declining financial situation brought Anita Vitullo, Utica-born animal advocate and longtime
SSHS major donor, to a decision to significantly increase her support. To save the shelter from having to close
its doors, Ms. Vitullo donated an initial $2 million to help kickstart the Stevens-Swan Humane Society Fund at
the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties for the sole benefit of the no-kill animal shelter. In
recognition of this transformative gift, the SSHS Board of Directors approved a resolution in February 2021 to
rename the organization Anita’s Stevens Swan Humane Society.
“Even though our name has changed, our mission remains. We are committed to the prevention of animal cruelty
and neglect, and we exist to make our community a safe haven for them. With an annual operating budget of
$1.3 million, we rely heavily on donations,” said Vitullo. “We need a community-wide partnership of financial
support to ensure the future of Anita’s SSHS.”
Along with the name change, Anita’s SSHS has launched a new website, is undergoing building enhancements
and renovations, and is working on a major gift campaign to help generate donations that are crucial to the
shelter’s survival. For more information, please visit Anitas-SSHS.org.