The animals of Louisiana lost one of their greatest champions this week, when longtime animal protection leader, Johnna Harris, passed away on April 3rd, after a long battle with cancer. Vice President and Animal Services Director of the Humane Society of Louisiana, Harris was a 20 year veteran of the charity who managed many of the group's direct care programs. She personally rescued, adopted or cared for more than 50,000 animals and helped the Humane Society aid countless thousands of animals in need. Selfless and committed to the cause, Harris - a social worker and child protection advocate earlier in her career - spent a lifetime committed to society's most defenseless. She volunteered countless thousands of hours and often paid for needed supplies out of her own pocket. She always went out of her way to help a child or animal in need. Her tenure with the Humane Society began when she was first hired as a part time adoption counselor. Harris went on to direct Animal Care Services in major cruelty cases and during relief efforts, including disasters like Hurricane Katrina. She created the Humane Society's cross-country pet adoption program, TransPUPtation, and she was actively involved in projects ranging from the development of the group's Safe House for abused animals in New Orleans (sadly destroyed in Katrina) and the charity's Enoch J. Donaldson Animal Sanctuary in Mount Hermon.
To honor Johnna's life and legacy, her friends and colleagues at the Humane Society of Louisiana have established a memorial fund, so that all who have been touched by Johnna's life and work can contribute in her name.
Gifts in Johnna's memory will be used for her final expenses, sanctuary building projects and needed equipment, according to her expressed wishes. Any funds raised over the amount of the cost of those projects (if we are lucky enough to reach our goal and/or get items donated, etc) will be used for veterinary care for animals in need. Among the practical sanctuary projects Johnna wished to fund are: running electricity to the horse barn; building additional run-ins for horses; getting new tires for the horse trailer and transport vehicles; making repairs to animal caretaker housing; finishing portable buildings, resealing the kennel floor and more.
Even when greatly debilitated by disease, Johnna worked into her final days to ensure the Humane Society of Louisiana would continue its important and lifesaving work when she was gone. The memorial fund will help ensure the projects she was working on and the priorities she set for the organization will be addressed, despite the tremendous hole left by her loss.
It was Johnna's wish not to have a funeral, but memorial observances are now being planned and will be announced here soon. Rest in peace, dear Johnna. You were and always will be a shining example to us all.
More about the Humane Society of Louisiana: OUR MISSION: We empower individuals and communities to create a no-kill state where the lives of all animals matter. (The charity focuses on cruelty investigation, disaster relief, expanding of animal care and protection services statewide and more. ) The New-Orleans based group is not affiliated with any national animal protection charity.