We empower individuals and communities to create a no-kill state
Louisiana is a kind and compassionate state
WHO WE ARE
The Humane Society of Louisiana is a private 501(c)3 animal protection charity founded in New Orleans in 1988. We operate diverse animal care and protection programs, and we promote compassion for all animals. We work to prevent animal abuse and neglect in all its forms. We receive no government funding, and we rely on private donations for support.
Our charity is managed by a small staff and an extensive network of volunteers. We are not affiliated with or funded by any national animal protection organization.
THE EARLY YEARS
Our group was founded in 1988. At that time, there were only a handful of animal protection groups in Louisiana, along with some publicly-funded animal shelters. The primary function of many of those pounds was (and still is, in some cases) to capture, house, and destroy unwanted or “nuisance” animals, with no real regard for the protection of homeless cats and dogs.
When we opened our first office – with the initial goal of passing tougher anti-cruelty laws – we were overwhelmed by allegations of abuse taking place in our public pounds. We toured Louisiana, documenting shocking practices and conditions at many of our state’s shelter facilities. Because no state agency licenses, inspects or oversees such pounds, our group has worked to monitor and improve them throughout our history. We also helped start and support many small humane agencies and rescue groups during those years.
Early on, we discovered that incidents of animal cruelty were not being adequately addressed by law enforcement agencies. To combat this widespread problem, we trained ourselves to become experts in the field of cruelty investigation, and our Executive Director/founder, Jeff Dorson, became a private investigator. The Humane Society of Louisiana was subsequently licensed as a detective agency, the only animal protection agency in the state to hold that distinction. Since then, we have become recognized leaders in the field of cruelty investigations, giving professional testimony in court cases and offering training workshops for law enforcement and animal control officers.
Because of our proven track record of improving shelters, investigating cruelty cases, organizing humane groups and promoting compassion for all animals statewide, our agency changed its name from LISA (League in Support of Animals) to the Humane Society of Louisiana in 2001. At that time, we also opened our first ‘Safe House’ shelter for abused and neglected animals in Algiers, in New Orleans.
In 2005, our hometown of New Orleans was devastated by Katrina and the subsequent levee failures. Our ‘Safe House’ was destroyed, as was ‘Rescued Treasures’ our thrift store in Jefferson parish. ‘Happy Tails’, the adoption center we operated jointly with other rescue groups in Harahan, was also forced to close.
Before the hurricane, we had evacuated our 158 shelter animals and fled to our property in Tylertown, Mississippi. Two hours north of New Orleans, the site had been purchased just months before Katrina as an evacuation destination. On this undeveloped lot with a small house, we created a disaster relief center with the assistance of 500 volunteers from around the nation and Canada. We rescued, fostered and adopted more than 1800 animals in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
Using many of the contacts we made during the Katrina relief effort, we continued our adoption transports from Louisiana shelters in the decade that followed. As of January 2015, we had collectively rescued, housed and transported more than 7000 animals since fleeing the city of New Orleans.
We plan is for the Tylertown site to remain a permanent evacuation center for New Orleans and Gulf Coast humane groups and rescuers. Our goal is to return all operations to New Orleans and Louisiana.
A MORE COMPASSIONATE TOMORROW
In the years since Katrina, we’ve revived most of our programs, from cruelty investigations and lobbying to presenting the annual ‘NOLA Veggie Fest’ to promote compassion for farm animals.
In 2013, we were given a significant gift which helped bring our goal of returning to Louisiana closer to reality. We received a sizable contribution for a down payment on property in Mt. Hermon, a small town in Washington parish. Now called the Enoch J. Donaldson Animal Sanctuary, the 47 acre tract of land and house is a short drive from our Tylertown location. It’s now the largest dedicated no-kill animal refuge in the state. Already a haven for rescued horses, plans are to care for and house other large animals and creature of all kinds.
Mrs. Janice Donaldson Grijns endowed the sanctuary in honor of her late father, Enoch J. Donaldson. In her words: “Enoch Donaldson was an unloved foster child working on a farm in southern Georgia, where he was abused and beaten. The only love and goodness he knew in his life came from the farm animals, whose names he remembered all of his life. He never met a homeless animal who remained homeless.”
While the number of animal protection groups in Louisiana has grown significantly in the last 25 years, much important work for animals remains to be done. Many parishes and towns lack even the most basic services for lost, injured, abused or homeless animal companions. In fact, more than half of Louisiana parishes are without viable animal shelters or pet rescue programs; even most of the better shelters are still in need of additional funding and support. No other group is working to address this situation.
Louisiana offers few programs to aid native wildlife, and there are only a handful of defenders of animals in factory farms, in testing laboratories or in the entertainment and fashion industries.
The Humane Society of Louisiana is committed to expanding our animal protection programs to help as many animals as we can, wherever they suffer. With the support of our members and volunteers, we’ll create a kinder and more compassionate Louisiana for everyone.