O n June 5, 1940, a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, known as the Jackson County Animal Betterment Association, was incorporated in the State of Missouri. In 1944, it was revived with new leadership under the name of Wayside Waifs, Inc.
Fenby Webster was the lead contributor who helped to found Wayside Waifs. Her leadership and dedication is still seen throughout the shelter.
Through contributions, Wayside Waifs was able to purchase a 20-acre farm. The shelter was built in southeast Kansas City, Missouri in 1945 and remained until 1999 when a state-of-the-art facility was built adjacent to the original building. Additional acreage was acquired over the years, bringing the total acreage to nearly 44 acres.
The Top of the World Pet Cemetery (now known as Wayside Waifs Pet Memorial Park) was founded in 1946. It was established to provide a convenience to people who wanted their pets put to rest in the peace and beauty of an established haven. The cemetery contains more than 10,000 graves of well-loved pets. A special section of the cemetery has been set aside for the burial of individually cremated pets.
Wayside Waifs is a non-profit humane society and animal shelter. It is not endowed or supported by local, state or federal funds, or national humane organizations. It is financially supported primarily from memberships, bequests, the pet cemetery, adoptions, and gifts from the public, businesses and foundations.
During the 1951 flood, Wayside was on duty day and night. In May of 1957, the agency participated in rescue work following the Ruskin Heights and Martin City tornado. Wayside patrolled these areas, bringing in injured and homeless animals. And again in 1993 when floodwaters were rising, Wayside met the challenge and accepted hundreds of animals in need. In recent years, Wayside has also participated actively in raids of illegally operated “puppy mills.”
In March 1999, Wayside Waifs opened the doors of its new state-of-the-art facility. The 32,700 square foot building can shelter up to 800 animals. In 2009, over 6,500 pets were taken in at Wayside Waifs. In addition, Wayside offers many other services to the community including humane education for children and adults, an anti-violence humane education program for grades 3 - 5, a volunteer program, a half price adoption program for seniors, shelter for the pets of women in domestic violence shelters, and more.
Wayside Waifs is committed to finding homes for all adoptable pets. Wayside is the largest pet adoption center in Kansas City, placing approximately 5,000 animals each year. Wayside does not euthanize adoptable animals, and there are no time limits for animals in our care. Only animals suffering from significant medical issues or those that pose a danger are humanely euthanized. Wayside Waifs is proud to be a part of Kansas City's no-kill community.