Our History

Historical Milestones

Chartered in 1888, the Louisiana SPCA is the oldest and largest animal shelter in the state. The history of our organization reveals that what can be achieved in a day, a year, a decade, or even in a century is not the work of one organization, but rather the work of an entire community of people who have come together over the years to provide a safe haven for all homeless creatures.

  • 1884 – Under the leadership of Eliza Poitevent Holbrook Nicholson, owner and manager of the New Orleans Daily Tribune, the Louisiana SPCA was created to stop the mistreatment of horses and mules in New Orleans.
  • 1888 – The Louisiana SPCA is officially chartered
  • 1924 – Opens a free veterinary clinic; the first of many variations of veterinary services.
  • 1958 – The first physical shelter is opened at 1319 Japonica Street in the 9th ward and remains the home of the Louisiana SPCA until Hurricane Katrina.
  • 1978 – The first annual Howling Success Gala is held
  • 1984 – The Louisiana SPCA and Jefferson SPCA successfully persuade state legislature to approve a bill making dog fighting illegal in Louisiana.
  • 1985 – The original Louisiana SPCA Japonica Street Jingle debuted. It was written by Edward T. Haslam and sung by Allen Toussaint.
  • 1998 – The Louisiana SPCA evacuated the Japonica Street shelter in advance of Hurricane George. This is the first of many evacuations to come.
  • 2005 – Assisted state police with three dog fighting busts, including the raid of one of the largest Pit-Bull breeding and training operations in the United States.

2005 – Louisiana SPCA successfully evacuated 263 animals from the Japonica Street shelter for Hurricane Katrina.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, led the largest animal rescue operation in the history of the United States.

Japonica Street shelter is deemed a total loss and the organization sets up a temporary shelter in an old coffee warehouse. This location is used as the base of operations to continue rescue and sheltering operations, and reunite people and their pets. 

  • 2006 – A groundbreaking ceremony is held on August 31 at the site of the future shelter at 1700 Mardi Gras Boulevard in Algiers
  • 2006 – Successfully lobbied the passage of Senate Bill 607, the Pet Evacuation Bill. 
  • 2007 – Grand opening of the new Louisiana SPCA Dorothy Dorsett Brown Campus at 1700 Mardi Gras Boulevard in Algiers.
  • 2008 – Successfully lobbied to ban cockfighting in Louisiana.

2008 – In advance of Hurricane Gustav, the Louisiana SPCA successfully coordinated the evacuation of New Orleans residents with their pets marking the first time in the country that pets were a priority in a widespread mandatory evacuation.   

  • 2009 – The inaugural NOLA on Tap Beer Festival was held. This grew to become the largest beer festival in the region.
  • 2010 – Two new jingles to help the New Orleans community know about the new location of the shelter post Hurricane Katrina. The  Mardi Gras Boulevard Jingle was written by Edward T. Haslam and sung by Armand St. Martin.  The New Louisiana SPCA Jingle was written by Phil Melancon and sung by Deacon John.
  • 2010 – Created the Gulf Coast Companion Animal Relief Program in response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. 
  • 2012 – Paws on Parade public art project, designed to raise awareness for animal welfare, covered the New Orleans landscape with large Mardi Gras Bead Dog Sculptures, becoming one of the city’s most popular public art projects.
  • 2013 – More than 600 roosters seized in the largest animal seizure in Louisiana SPCA history.
  • 2013 – The Louisiana SPCA Celebrated it’s 125th anniversary and breaks ground on Phase II of the Dorothy Dorsett Brown Campus.
  • 2015 – The Louisiana SPCA celebrated the grand opening of the Adoption, Resource Center & Clinic on the New Orleans Campus.
  • 2015 – Launched a new mission statement: To Promote, Protect and Advance the well-being of Louisiana’s companion animals.
  • 2016 – Assumed ownership of NO Fleas Market 
  • 2016 – The Louisiana SPCA assisted families, pet owners and neighboring shelters impacted by the historic 2016 August flooding across Southeast Louisiana, providing emergency food distribution centers,  emergency  sheltering  and  care  as  well  as  transports.
  • 2018 – Successfully lobbied the state senate for the passage of Senate Bill 156, the Good Samaritan Bill. 
  • 2019 – For the 8th year in a row, the Louisiana SPCA was selected as the best nonprofit in New Orleans.

2020Assumed control of the Plaquemines Parish Animal Shelter, marking it their first expansion into shelter operations outside of Orleans Parish in their history.  

In response to COVID-19, the Louisiana SPCA expanded its public food pantry through pickup and delivery of more than 25,000 pounds of pet food and essential supplies to struggling pet owners.

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season particularly battered the Gulf Coast, with Louisiana being hit five times (Cristobal, Marco, Laura, Delta and Zeta). One of the most devastating was Hurricane Laura that made landfall on August 27 in Cameron, Louisiana. It brought back painful memories of Hurricane Katrina and our team quickly pivoted to help our neighbors 190+ miles to our west. Over 12,000 people and hundreds of pets whose lives were upended by Hurricane Laura were evacuated to New Orleans. In a matter of hours, we coordinated with state, city and NGO partners to assist families and their pets. All told we helped 800-plus animals providing pet food, pet supplies (leashes, collars, bedding, kennels), enrichment toys and even preventative flea treatment. We also assisted hotels suddenly housing pets, providing pets housed there with free microchipping and vaccinations via pop-up clinics.

In Louisiana, our pets are a part of our culture as much as anything else. And for more than 130 years, the Louisiana SPCA has been an advocate for all our furry friends across the state. Follow our Lead and show the characters of Louisiana you care by supporting the Louisiana SPCA.

The Louisiana SPCA helped more than 3,000 animals find their forever home in 2020.

Did you know that we’re not affiliated with the ASPCA and rely on local donations?