Humane Society Opens Largest Sanctuary
for Abused, Neglected and Homeless Animals
No-Kill Enoch J. Donaldson Animal Sanctuary Opens 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 charity marked its 25th anniversary in 2013 by purchasing and making a significant downpayment on 47 acres in Washington Parish, 90 miles northeast of New Orleans. Already a haven for rescued horses, plans are underway to transform the site into a loving temporary home for hundreds of formerly abused and homeless animals of all kinds, who are seeking loving families.
Since the destruction of their shelter and thrift store in New Orleans, the group has used theTylertown property as its emergency animal shelter and disaster relief center.
Janice Donaldson Grijns endowed the sanctuary in honor of her late father, Enoch J. Donaldson. In her words “Mr. Donaldson was an abused 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 his life. He never met a homeless animal who remained homeless.”
Opening the sanctuary represents the symbolic end of a long road home for the Humane Society of Louisiana after Katrina. 10 years ago, the charity’s crew successfully evacuated 158 animals from their New Orleans shelter and moved to Tylertown, Mississippi, near the state line. (Thankfully, the group had purchased an undeveloped piece of land and house in the town just months before Katrina, for use as an emergency evacuation site.)
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 of Katrina 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.
“Coming home to Louisiana and expanding this sanctuary will allow us to far surpass any direct-care programs we had before Katrina. This 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 to dogs, cats and other animals in need. When sufficient funds are raised and 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.