About the History of Capital Area Animal Welfare Society

The history of Capital Area Animal Welfare Society (CAAWS) started in 1979 by fearless leader Holly Frederick Reynolds. She saw the desperate need for a non-profit organization to fill the space left by the only local humane society at the time that closed. In those days, humane societies operated out of a horse trailer and cardboard boxes. The charter for the Capital Area Animal Welfare Society was officially granted in April 1980.

With her extensive devotion and compassion for animal welfare and the founding of CAAWS, Reynolds is considered the mother of the modern humane movement in Louisiana. CAAWS remains a living testament to her dedication and is the first local humane organization and no-kill shelter in Baton Rouge.

Today, CAAWS prides itself on being a reliable leader in animal welfare education and pet ownership. We proudly serve as part of the national and local movement to end animal abandonment and promote animal welfare. In the community, CAAWS pulls from seven local kill shelters, has an extensive feral cat spay/neuter as well as trap and release program, and provides low-income pet owners with veterinary assistance.


Our Mission

The Capital Area Animal Welfare Society (CAAWS) is a non-profit organization committed to the well-being of animals in the Baton Rouge community. Our organization serves by providing, facilitating, and promoting the humane treatment of animals, the adoption of homeless animals, and responsible companion animal ownership at all times, supporting the practice of spay/neuter.

  • Improve the quality of life for shelter dogs and cats through our Adoption Programs. Over the past year, we provided forever loving homes to 89 dogs and 15 cats.
  • Expand our Trap-Neuter-Release Program which has eliminated the reproduction of 1265 cats over the past year. That has prevented the birth of over one million unwanted cats.
  • Expand our Human Education Program which has taught responsible pet ownership to the community. This past year we presented our outreach program at 6 entities throughout the parish.
  • Grow our Pet Touch Therapy Program to bring more smiles to residents of our community-wide nursing homes, hospice, and schools. This past year our volunteers and their animals visited 24 facilities and 2 schools.
  • Increase our Shelter Logistics Fund to maintain and continually improve the in-home care we provide to the dogs and cats we house at the shelter. Currently we 13 dogs and 12 cats living at the shelter at any given time. 
  • Expand our Community Assistance Program which helps those most in need in our community by providing spay/neuter assistance to low-income families. This past year we helped 115 companion animals.
  • Would like to offer a Veterinary Assistance Program that would provide preventative and routine veterinary care to companion animals. (vaccinations, exams, etc.) for low-income families. Currently, funds are not available to sponsor this endeavor, but you can help.


Michael Coco and Petuni

“Five years ago today, I picked up this sweet girl from CAAWS and life has been better since then. Happy Adoption Day to little Petuni (whose real name is Breezy, along with about a hundred other nicknames which she remarkably responds to)!”

We Save Animals Through Your Generosity

CAAWS receives no government funding and is fully supported through generous private donations and fundraising efforts. One hundred percent of the funds collected go toward covering the costs needed to help animals. Please consider donating today so we can continue to aid the animals of Baton Rouge.