Defenders of Animal Rights was founded in late 1975 by Mary Jo Kovic. After working several years with other organizations, Ms. Kovic saw the need for a new group to help animals and people. Her goal was a group that would provide a multidude of services not available at the time, such as animal shelter operation, low-cost spay and neuter services, aggressive adoption program, humane education, wildlife sanctuary, and work programs for youth. She also envisioned a shelter that would avoid euthanization at all costs and instead would provide adoptable animals a space in the facility for as long as it took for them to find a home.
With these ideals in mind, Defenders was incorportated under the laws of the State of Maryland in July 1976. It gained 501(c)(3) status by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Starting out slowly, Defenders centered it activities on education. In 1979, it purchased a 35.8 acre property to realize the goal of an animal shelter and farm animal sanctuary. The shelter finally opened it's doors in 1988, and we operate out of the same location today!
Our organization is supported by donations from the public. Contributors recieve a bi-monthly newsletter describing our activities. We highly encourage our supporters and the general public to visit the shelter and see firsthand the animals they are helping.