Humane Society To Open State's Largest Sanctuary
for Abused, Neglected and Homeless Animals
The Enoch J. Donaldson Animal Sanctuary to Open in Mount Hermon, Washington parish
The Humane Society of Louisiana is asking the state's animal lovers to help make the dreams of abused, neglected and homeless animals come true.
The New Orleans charity, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, recently acquired 47 acres in Washington Parish, 90 miles northeast of the city. Plans are underway to transform the site into a loving home for hundreds of formerly abused and homeless animals. The facility will be called the Enoch J. Donaldson Animal Sanctuary, to honor the late father of the project's founding benefactor. Mr. Donaldson loved creatures of all kinds, and the sanctuary will serve as a lasting tribute to his compassion for pets, horses, and farm animals.
The promise of a new sanctuary lies at the end of a long road home for the Humane Society of Louisiana, following Hurricane Katrina. More than eight years ago, the charity's crew successfully evacuated 158 animals from their New Orleans shelter to Tylertown, Mississippi. (Thankfully, the group had purchased an undeveloped piece of land and house in Tylertown just months before Katrina, for use as an emergency evacuation site.)
After the storm and the destruction of their shelter in New Orleans, the group used their Tylertown property as an emergency animal shelter and disaster relief center. With the support of more than 500 volunteers from around the country and Canada, the Humane Society crew cared for, fostered and housed more than 1800 animals. While the vast majority of the pets went on to foster homes, reunions with owners, or subsequent adoptions, many of the animals were left homeless because of health or behavioral issues. The Humane Society has been caring for these 'special needs' survivors in Tylertown since the storm.
After staging an expensive rescue effort, and left without adequate funds to rebuild, the Humane Society's survival was questionable for many years; their key donors and volunteers were disbursed around the country, and large, out-of-state animal protection organizations - who raised millions during the disaster - did not contribute significantly in the group's recovery and rebuilding efforts.
"The promise of coming home to Louisiana and opening a sanctuary, which will far surpass anything we had before Katrina, means so much to our group and to the animals of this state," says Jeff Dorson, the agency's founder and Executive Director. "Now we just need people to support this lifesaving project!"
While the purchase of the property represents a major milestone, much work remains to be done before the facility can officially open its doors. When the sanctuary is fully operational, the group will convert its Tylertown property into a permanent evacuation center for small shelters and rescue groups in southeast Louisiana, as well.
"We intend to build state of the art housing facilities, including dog kennels and puppy quarantine areas, a barn, kitty cottages, quarters for our crew and more," says Dorson, "We'll be involved in ongoing building projects over the next few years, as we work to make the dream a reality."
The Humane Society of Louisiana is a private animal protection charity, which relies solely on private donations. The group is also licensed as a private detective agency, focusing on cruelty investigations and on bringing animal abusers to justice. The group operates a statewide animal abuse hotline and routinely works with law enforcement agencies to rescue abused and neglected animals. The local charity is not affiliated with or funded by any national animal protection agency.