What is the LAWCA?

The Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission Auxiliary is a non-profit Louisiana Corporation dedicated to doing the work of the Louisiana Animal Wefare Commission (see "The LAWC" below). It is effectively controlled by the LAWC. Four of the six members of the Board of Directors are members of the LAWC; and its Chairman is the vice-chairman of the LAWC. The members of the LAWCA Board of Directors are:

Pinckney Wood, President/Board Chairman/LAWC Vice Chairman
Mary Lee Oliphant-Wood, Treasurer/LAWC Treasurer
Dr. Gary Balsamo, DVM, MPH-TM, LAWC Chairman
Hilton Cole, LAWC Commissioner
Judge Sol Gothard, Ret. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal, Former LAWC Vice-Chairman
Dr. Bob Gros, DVM, Former LAWC Commissioner

Donations to the LAWC Auxiliary help it to carry out the goals and objective of the LAWC. To make a donation, click on "DONATE" at bottom.

Since the LAWCA is a non-profit corporation engaged in animal-related humane charitable work, donations to it are tax-deductible.
The LAWCA shall be obtaining Article 501(c)(3) status under the U.S. Code pertaining to Internal Revenue.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, send a check payable to LAWC Auxiliary to the address at the bottom of this page.

Do You Have Time and Skills to Volunteer?

Do you want to help "ensure and promote the proper treatment and well-being of animals"?

The men and women of the LAWCA are individuals with skills and qualities that enable them to function as the action "agency" of the LAWC. Skill areas for current or prospective LAWCA members include: veterinary, psychological, legal, judicial, political, legislative, situation surveys and investigations, government liaison, clerical, computer user skills, computer programming and Internet skills, writing, telephone hot-line coverage, specific knowledge of particular kinds of animals, animal rescue, etc., etc., etc.. LAWCA members may receive compensation for services rendered, and re-imbursement for expenses.

If you would like to serve with the LAWCA, and you have the "right stuff", please let us know by writing us, with qualifications and relevant contact information, at: staff@lawca.org.


The Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission (LAWC) was created by an act of the Legislature in 2001 as the result of legislation offered by Representative Melinda Schwegmann. Animal advocate Pinckney Wood proposed and offered the basic design for the LAWC, and he served as its first chairman. The idea was to bring together well-qualified individuals from various interest groups who could, by virtue of their expertise, set policy for the care and well-being of animals, and/or to represent the interests of groups that would be affected by such policy. Currently represented on the LAWC are the concerns of the humane community, veterinary practitioners, animal control agencies, public health concerns (under the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals), commercial dog breeders, horse associations, law and law enforcement pertaining to animal welfare, and the public in general. The LAWC was envisioned to provide for the well-being of all those animals that are neither under the purview of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries nor the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

The purpose of the commission, which was installed under the Governor's Office of Community Programs, is, in general, "to ensure and promote the proper treatment and well-being of animals". The Legislature enumerated specific "duties and functions", but the LAWC may engage in any activity that helps it fulfill its general purpose.

Louisiana Revised Statute 3:2364(D) states: The commission shall have powers and duties necessary to carry out its purpose, including but not limited to the following:

(1) To support local and municipal animal control enforcement efforts.

(2) To support law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases.

(3) To make recommendations concerning the care and keeping of animals.

(4) To coordinate a statewide voluntary pet database that will assist animal owners in recovering lost animals.

(5) To provide a centralized public animal information, education, and communication service.

(6) To formulate and implement proposals to deal with pet overpopulation.

(7) To make recommendations for rules and regulations, which may be adopted by parish and local authorities for the proper care and treatment of animals.

(8) To gather information from public records pertaining to the animals within the purview of the commission. The government custodians of such records shall make them accessible to the commission upon request under the provisions of R.S. 44:1 et seq.

(9) To inspect any animal impoundment facility for the purpose of making recommendations to the appropriate governing authority for improvements to those facilities and their operations wherever such facilities are operated by a government animal control agency or designated by municipal or parish governments to be used for the purpose of impoundment of animals. The governing authority shall provide to the commission reasonable access to the facility, its records, and personnel within seven days of receipt of a written request.

(10) To request, in the form of a letter to the appropriate governing authority, an animal control agency to produce public records pertaining to animal intake, adoption, and euthanasia.

Those who have served or have helped facilitate the LAWC include: current chairman Gary Balsamo, State Public Health Veterinarian, DHH; current treasurer Mary Lee Oliphant-Wood, Showboat Collies; Maj. Claude Mercer, Lt. Rhett Trahan, and Lt. Paul of the Louisiana State Police; Bob Gros, DVM (former president of the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association (LVMA)); Amy Grayson, DVM (current president of the LVMA); Bobbye Moore (dog breeder); Pamela Strange of Grace's Home; Hilton Cole, Director of East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control (former president of the Louisiana Animal Control Association); Vickie Campos of PAWS of St. Tammany Parish; Laura Maloney, Executive Director of the LA/SPCA; Brian Ghere, DVM; Dr. Sam Burk, and Judge Sol Gothard (retired from the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal).

Currently, the members of the LAWC, and the sector they represent, are:

Gary Balsamo, DVM, MPH-TM, Chairman - Governor's Office of Community Programs
Mary Lee Oliphant-Wood, Treasurer - Commercial Dog Breeder

Amy Buras - Member of the Public, appointed at Large
Hilton Cole - Animal Control Director
Dr. Phillip Dupont, DVM - Louisiana Veterinary Medicine Association
Capt. Paul Edmondson - State Police
Dr. Amy Grayson, DVM - Louisiana Veterinary Medicine Association
Dr. Brian Melius, DVM - Small Animal Veterinarian, appointed at large
Anita Milling - Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
Juanita Murphy - Humane Sector
Heather Parker - Humane Sector
Joelle Rupert - Humane Sector
Susan Schneider - Louisiana Quarter Horse Association

The LAWC has a vanancy for a representative of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

The members of the LAWC are appointed to four-year terms by the governor. Governor Jindal encourages interested persons to apply to serve on state boards and commissions.

Direct Support for the LAWC

The LAWC has a designated fund, the Louisiana Animal Welfare Fund (LAWF), within the state treasury. Anyone wanting to support the LAWC with a financial contribution may designating a contribution to the LAWC in the donations "checkoff" section of the Louisiana State Income Tax Form. The designated contribution will be taken from the computed refund due to the taxpayer and deposited into the LAWF.

Alternatively, one may donate directly to the LAWC by sending a check payable to The Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission to its current mailing address: P.O. Box 60630, New Orleans, LA 70160.

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