Animal advocates throughout the region and beyond are remembering Northshore Humane Society founder Holly Frederick Reynolds, a decadeslong animal welfare activist who died peacefully this month at 103.
Reynolds established what came to be known as Northshore Humane in 1953 after the sudden death of her beloved pup, Yankee Doodle Dandy, a stray born in Covington on July 4, 1950. Rather sink into depression over his death, she decided to work in every way possible to make life better for homeless or otherwise abused animals — and she actively continued that mission until her death.
Northshore Humane was the first animal shelter in St. Tammany, and it was responsible for policing and housing homeless animals in the community. The original building still stands, now serving as the surgery suite, while an expanded Northshore Humane operates as an independent, nongovernmental, no-kill animal rescue and community clinic that provides safety, shelter and medical care for abandoned, neglected and unwanted animals in the parish.
While her work began in Covington, she continued it after retiring and relocating to Baton Rouge in the 1970s to establish the Capital Area Animal Welfare Society. It, too, continues to this day operating as the city’s oldest humane organization and its only no-kill shelter.
“I had built a home in Covington that I was planning to eventually die in,” Reynolds told an inRegister reporter shortly after her 100th birthday. “But when I heard about Baton Rouge’s dismal shelter situation, I knew I needed to expand what I had started.”
She was also involved in numerous animal welfare movements across the state, including the establishment of the Coalition of Louisiana Animal Advocates, and was regularly in contact with lawmakers in Louisiana and in Washington, D.C., advocating on behalf of animal welfare.
“Holly is by far the greatest animal welfare activist in the state,” Louisiana Humane Society Executive Director Jeff Dorson has said of her, and he counted on Reynolds’ contacts among decision-makers, people she never hesitated to call on behalf of animals. “We cannot thank Holly enough for paving the way for the rest of us to follow,” he said last year when Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Legislature officially honored Reynolds.
Among her many accolades was recognition by the Humane Society of the United States for her lifetime of service to animals, work that began in Covington. “Northshore Humane Society is a living testament to the dedication and compassion she had shown to homeless animals throughout her lifetime,” said Northshore Humane CEO Scott Bernier.
Reynolds was the only child of Helen and C. Sidney Frederick, District Attorney for the 22nd JDC during the early decades of the 1900s. She graduated from Ursuline Academy, earned degrees in sociology and physical education from Brenau University and held a master’s degree from LSU. She worked in psychiatric hospitals in Covington and elsewhere until her retirement.