On Assignment | Baton Rouge Animal Activists | 225 Magazine

In August, writer Adrian Hirsch and I embarked on a mission: A mission to photograph and document 10 animal activists in the Baton Rouge area who have changed animals (and their owners) lives. We spent about three weeks on this project, and while we spent a lot of time chasing down each individual, our effort was well worth it because the end result? It’s stunning.

This story is the cover story of this month’s 225.

I could tell y’all a bunch of different stories of the things we experienced while photographing these activists, but I don’t think those would do the work these incredible people are doing justice. I’m going to let these photos and cutlines tell the story of each activist, and then let you go check out Adrian’s story because her words do this story justice.

Animal activist Cathy Wells, left, holds onto Mary as Sonya Cockran holds Addie Mae at Cockran

Animal activist Cathy Wells, left, holds onto Mary as Sonya Cockran holds Addie Mae at Cockran's Baton Rouge home on Wednesday, August 17, 2011. Wells first met Cockran when Cockran came to her organization wanting help to get shots for her nine dogs - seven puppies and two grown-ups. Wells later helped Cockran get all nine dogs spayed and also assisted in building a fence in her yard so the dogs did not have to be chained. (Photo by Erin Parker / 225 Magazine)

Paula Schoen walks two dogs outside of the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control, now the Baton Rouge Companion Animal Alliance,  on Tuesday, August 9, 2011. Schoen is a part of Friends of the Animals, which improves the lives of dogs and cats in the shelter. (Erin Parker)

Paula Schoen walks two dogs outside of the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control, now the Baton Rouge Companion Animal Alliance, on Tuesday, August 9, 2011. Schoen is a part of Friends of the Animals, which improves the lives of dogs and cats in the shelter. (Photo by Erin Parker / 225 Magazine)

LSU vet student Blair Benoit, left, and Dr. Wendy Wolfson, Instructor in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, look at the teeth of a black lab at Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson, La. on July 28, 2011. Wolfson

LSU vet student Blair Benoit, left, and Dr. Wendy Wolfson, Instructor in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, look at the teeth of a black lab at Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson, La. on July 28, 2011. Wolfson's team visits twice a month to give shots and check animal health. Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc led the initiative to get the animal shelter on the DCI grounds, starting the Pen Pals program where prisoners take care of the animals. (Photo by Erin Parker / 225 Magazine)

Dr. Marianne Fairchild, the part-time veterinarian at the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control, gives an exam to a puppy before spay/neuter surgery to confirm the animals are healthy enough for surgery on Tuesday, August 9, 2011. Fairchild has been working at Animal Control for more than a decade. (Erin Parker)

Dr. Marianne Fairchild, the part-time veterinarian at the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control, gives an exam to a puppy before spay/neuter surgery to confirm the animals are healthy enough for surgery on Tuesday, August 9, 2011. Fairchild has been working at Animal Control for more than a decade. (Photo by Erin Parker / 225 Baton Rouge)

Judy Atkinson and Mark Mese, founders of the Rescue Bank, help community cat caretaker Lori D

Judy Atkinson and Mark Mese, founders of the Rescue Bank, help community cat caretaker Lori D'Arensbourg feed feral cats at Blackwater Conservancy Park on Monday, August 15, 2011. Atkinson and Mese, both lawyers, founded the Rescue Bank, a non-profit that has distributed more than 200,000 pounds of food to its 30 member rescues in one year. (Photo by Erin Parker / 225 Magazine)

Michael Hackett and Carolyn Martin stand together in the outside kennel area at the YelpBR! House in North Baton Rouge. In 2009, BRAF began to examine the cause of the city

Michael Hackett and Carolyn Martin stand together in the outside kennel area at the YelpBR! House in North Baton Rouge. In 2009, BRAF began to examine the cause of the city's high euthanasia rate, Carolyn Martin and Michael Hackett, among other members of the community, took immediate action and created this organization. During its first year of operation, the non-profit placed more than 400 dogs into homes, who would have otherwise been euthanized. (Photo by Erin Parker / 225 Magazine)

Project Purr founder Peggy Polk cleans a kitten after vaccinating it at the Purr Booth at the Mall of Louisiana on Tuesday, August 2, 2011. Polk founded the organization a year ago that goes into Animal Control to rescue about 50 to 130 cats and kittens every month. (Erin Parker)

Project Purr founder Peggy Polk cleans a kitten after vaccinating it at the Purr Booth at the Mall of Louisiana on Tuesday, August 2, 2011. Polk founded the organization a year ago that goes into Animal Control to rescue about 50 to 130 cats and kittens every month. (Photo by Erin Parker / 225 Magazine)

Sandra DiTusa, the founder of Spay Baton Rouge, holds a kitten at a Spay Day event at Azalea Lakes Veterinary Clinic on Saturday, August 13, 2011. DiTusa said that since Spay Day started six years ago, the organization has spayed and neutered around 9500 animals. Spay Baton Rouge allows low-income dog and cat owners to receive a low or no cost spay/neuter. (Erin Parker)

Sandra DiTusa, the founder of Spay Baton Rouge, holds a kitten at a Spay Day event at Azalea Lakes Veterinary Clinic on Saturday, August 13, 2011. DiTusa said that since Spay Day started six years ago, the organization has spayed and neutered around 9500 animals. Spay Baton Rouge allows low-income dog and cat owners to receive a low or no cost spay/neuter. (Photo by Erin Parker / 225 Magazine)

To read Adrian’s article on these activists, click here.

And you can learn more about the latest news with animals in Baton Rouge by reading Adrian’s blog here.

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