The Kelly Family

The Company Pack

Marsh Dog’s executive leadership is comprised of humans and a few (ok, maybe more than a few) family dogs. Head dog is Louisiana Catahoula Cur, Marais du Chien (top of page), officially CED “company executive dog” and in charge of testing.

Our Story

Many of us ask what can I, as one person, do?
but history shows us that everything good and bad starts because
somebody does something or does not do something.”
—Sylvia Earle, Marine Biologist

Marsh Dog was founded in 2012 by siblings Hansel Harlan and Veni Harlan. A third sibling Gretel Kelly, and her husband Bob, came on board in 2018. All are avid dog lovers, rooted in south Louisiana, and witnesses to its sheer beauty, unique culture, and heart-breaking vulnerability. The siblings didn’t arbitrarily decide to enter the pet food industry. They saw a problem and wanted to contribute to a solution. 

So what’s the problem? Destruction of Louisiana wetlands by Nutria. This invasive species has already destroyed 100,000 acres prior to the Federal/State Nutria Control Program. The program provides a bounty at taxpayer expense but the highly nutritious lean meat of Nutria was not being utilized.

Hansel had studied in South America and knew Nutria were a delicacy in their native country. He had followed the state’s promotion of “Ragodin” for the human market. There was little interest or profit in the orange-toothed swamp rabbit but Hansel mused that dogs would be more than happy to partake of this eco-sustainable, nutrient-rich protein.

At the same time, the Harlans had become increasingly concerned about food ingredients and the environment for both themselves and their dogs. Hansel felt that with constant food recalls and harmful foreign ingredients, he didn’t always trust what was available. He had a dog that suffered from chronic allergies for which he explored treatments and dietary solutions. Veni was treated for cancer shaping her perspective on both the environment and food production. Her work for the Louisiana Black Bear Coalition and the the state’s Seafood Promotion Board increased her awareness of habitat issues. Like everyone, the Harlans felt powerless when Hurricanes Katrina/Rita and the Macondo oil disasters ravaged the region. All they could do as concerned citizens was foster domestic animals, triage wild ones, reunite owners with their pets, and adopt out those who couldn’t go home. These public and personal experiences made an indelible impression.

Unable to stop disastrous events like hurricanes, oil spills, climate change, or cancer, the Harlans have a strong belief that all of us are capable of small acts. Combined, these acts have the power to make big differences. This was the genesis of Marsh Dog, to make a difference. And who better to engage in environmental stewardship than man’s best friend?

In 2012, the Harlans launched their idea to use eco-sustainable wild nutria in dog treats with a grant from the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. Marsh Dog’s first products, handmade biscuits and jerky, quickly found an enthusiastic audience of dog owners, as well as acclaim from conservationists across the country. After much research, the company found the right manufacturing parter and in 2019 introduced the next generation of wild nutria dog treats. Now more dog owners can offer their dogs a healthy alternative treat while supporting science-based wetland conservation.

Hansel Harlan & Sheri St. Pierre

Veni Harlan


Marsh Dog has been hailed by national and state environmental groups
for its market-based approach to an environmental challenge.

Grant recipient of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program

Louisiana Wildlife Federation “Business Conservationist of the Year”

Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana “Conservationists”


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Marsh Dog, LLC
P.O. Box 14848
Baton Rouge LA 70898


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