Raven Woods Animal Sanctuary
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A Little About Raven Woods Animal Sanctuary

Raven Woods Animal Sanctuary is a privately run 501(c)3 rescue in Roseland, Louisiana.  We are primarily a sanctuary for dogs, but a few cats also call Raven Woods home.  Raven Woods is an all volunteer organization, funded out of our own pockets and what donations we receive.  With over 200 dogs at the sanctuary, our dog food bill alone runs nearly $3000 a month. The cost of routine medical care for our dogs (heartworm prevention, intestinal wormers, and vaccinations) and medications for the chronically ill dogs adds easily adds another $500 a month, and when dogs need heartworm treatment or have a medical emergency our vet bills are often over $1000. Since our dogs frequently come from situations of neglect, many arrive with heartworms and other serious medical problems.






Our Mission and Philosophy

Raven Woods is strictly no-kill except in cases of terminal illness causing untreatable pain and suffering. We are dedicated to providing loving care to homeless, abandoned, and abused animals. We believe that every animalís life is a sacred gift from God, deserving of our love, respect, and the best care we can give. We try to find loving homes for as many of our dogs as possible, but those not adopted have a life-long home at the sanctuary. We do not choose which animals we accept on the basis of age, breed, health, or adoptability. We are first and foremost a sanctuary, dedicated to providing a home for those dogs no one else wants. We realize that some of our dogs are not likely to be adopted due to health or behavioral problems but each one is special to us.


Our goal is to never have to turn away an animal in need, but unfortunately we are presently at capacity and lack of space, resources, and adoptions severely limits the animals we can take in.


Our History

Raven Woods was begun as a labor of love by John and Rebecca Thornton in 1994 in an effort to alleviate the suffering of the many stray and abandoned animals in Tangipahoa Parish.  At that time they had no idea the shelter would come to house so many animals. But as time went on more people either brought their dogs to the Thorntons or just dumped them on the property. It became common to find whole litters of puppies dropped off in the driveway or dogs left tied to the fence. after hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, the Thorntons did their part taking in dogs left homeless by the disaster although the shelter had also suffered major structural damage.


By 2006 the number of dogs had ballooned to over 180 and John and Rebecca were still carrying on their work with no outside help. n the fall of 2006, Leila Baldridge began working with the sanctuary as adoption coordinator and taking part in the animal care, and continues to work with Raven Woods.  In early 2007, Connie Edwards of Seattle Washington read a plea for help that Leila had written, and she came on board as a much needed financial supporter. Connie made two trips to the sanctuary, taking back dogs to be adopted in the Seattle area and organizing a spay/neuter program that has enabled the spaying of nearly all the females and neutering of many of the males. Connie helped pay for nearly 50 dogs to be treated for heartworms and financed the transport of over 100 dogs to rescues in areas where they stood a much better chance of being adopted.


When hurricane Gustav hit in 2008 the shelter was dealt a devastating blow. Although no animals were injured, nearly every kennel was damaged. In November of that year, just as most of the hurricane damage had been repaired, a freak snowstorm dumped 7 inches of snow, caving in the tops of the kennels and leaving the dogs exposed to the weather. The kennels are now repaired, but the financial toll was heavy.


Rebecca Thornton is now disabled and unable to take part in the day to day animal care, and due to living 2 1/2 hours away, Leila has limited time to be on site, so the bulk of the work has fallen to John who spends 16 hour days 7 days a week taking care of the dogs.  Leila makes the trip to the shelter on her time off from her regular job, and Connie continues to helps the shelter financially, but to keep going we are desperately in need of both volunteers and financial help. And we must keep going--the dogs have no one else to turn to.


Our Facilities

The dogs are housed in 5 foot by 10 foot chain link kennels with concrete floors and covered by tarps for protection from sun and rain. John has built play yards for each group of kennels so the dogs can have exercise and time out of their kennels.  There are over 90 kennels with 2 to 3 dogs in most kennels. Just keeping that many kennels clean, and keeping water and food bowls filled is a full time task.


The cats are primarily semi-ferals who live in a colony managed by the sanctuary. They are mainly cats who were dumped on the property. We make an effort to get them spay/neutered to prevent litters. The cats are provided plenty of food and any that are ill or injured are taken in for veterinary care.



To continue our work, Raven Woods is in desperate need of donations and volunteers. The Thornton's, Leila, and Connie cannot continue to fund the shelter out of pocket. If everyone who believes in us would pledge $10 a month we would be able to stay afloat and make improvements that would greatly enhance the quality of life of our animals.


Volunteers who could help out a day a week or even a day every two weeks would help out immeasurably. We need people to clean kennels, feed and water dogs, socialize dogs and help them learn the manners that are essential to being adoptable. These dogs are so deserving, and are some of the most forgotten dogs in south Louisiana. It would take only a little of your time to make a positive difference in their lives--and yours. 


We need volunteers to help photograph the dogs to go on the website, people with organizational skills to write grant proposals and organize adoption days.


And we need your prayers that we will be able to keep going. The lives of over 200 dogs depend on that.  We keep believing that the God who entrusted these precious dogs to our care will provide a way.