In 1979, Holly Fredericks Reynolds saw the need for a nonprofit organization to fill the space left by the only local humane society at the time, the Baton Rouge Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). In those days, humane societies operated out of a horse trailer and cardboard boxes. Reynolds saw a major need for change. The charter for the Capital Area Animal Welfare Society was granted in April 1980. After her extensive devotion to animal welfare and founding of CAAWS, Reynolds is considered the mother of the modern humane movement in Louisiana. CAAWS is the oldest local humane organization as well as the only no-kill shelter in Baton Rouge.

CAAWS prides itself on being the first no-kill animal shelter located in the Baton Rouge area and is a leader in animal welfare education and pet ownership. The organization is part of the national and local movement to end animal abandonment and promotes animal welfare. CAAWS pulls from seven local kill shelters, has an extensive feral program, and provides low-income spay and neuter assistance.



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


Who We Are

CAAWS is run solely by unpaid volunteers and is governed by a Board of Directors.

The volunteer base at CAAWS is made up of over 200 volunteers who are full-time professionals or students. Volunteers under the age of 18 are prohibited, but minors are allowed to help with fundraising and adoption events as long as a parent or guardian is present.

CAAWS offers 11 different volunteer opportunities ranging from dog and cat shifts, fostering, adoption help, humane education, pet touch therapy, and assisting in fundraising and special events.


What We Do

With the help of volunteers, CAAWS offers a number of services and programs that strive to promote animal welfare within the Baton Rouge community. Humane Education and companion ownership, Pet Touch Therapy, Feral Cat Program, Community Assistance Spay and Neuter Program, and Adoptions are all outstanding programs and services provided by the organization.


How We Do It

We receive no government funding and are supported by private donations and our fundraising efforts. Solely unpaid volunteers run CAAWS and 100% of the funds received goes toward helping animals. Our major fundraising events include the annual Mardi Gras Krewe of Mutts dog parade and the Christmas Santa CAAWS professional pet photo event.


For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, click here.

CAAWS is a GuideStar Gold participant – learn more about the nonprofit program here!