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FoCCAS graduates a county of Fourth graders

Blake Spears, Speuter Award winner from CPA. Photos provided.

Friends of the Colleton County Animal Shelter (FoCCAS) is pleased to announce fourth graders at five Elementary Schools and three preschools have successfully graduated from the Colleton Animal Commitment Education Course (CACE). This pilot program was brought to Colleton County by the volunteer organization FoCCAS after learning about a similar program in North Carolina while they were attending a “Learning Dog” conference. The program was spearheaded by two former teachers, Carol Armentrout and Janice Young. Along with help from local veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Hughes, the trio set out to educate fourth graders on the importance of being a responsible pet owner. Since the pilot program began three years ago, it has now spread to five schools and

Avery Jiral, Speuter Award winner from Cottageville Elementary. Photos provided.



preschools. Not only are fourth graders learning about how to help with the over population of animals, but preschoolers at Bethel United Methodist Church, Black Street Early Learning Center, and Colleton Prep Academy learned about how to be safe around animals. Fourth graders were given a chance to win a free spay or neuter for any animal of their choice by writing an essay about overpopulation. Four-out-of-six schools submitted essays and they are printed at the end of this article. FoCCAS will also be visiting Northside Elementary fourth graders for a shorter version of the program and adding the full version next year. “FoCCAS is grateful for the support and encouragement from so much of the community. This program would not be successful without the support

of the Colleton County School District. All 5 public schools are involved in the CACE program this year. Each student receives an activity booklet sponsored by Keisha Brown at State Farm Insurance and a CACE folder provided by Deborah Kane. The students

are always excited to see therapy dogs, Moja and Lucky Blue, along with their handler Mr. Steve Cinnader. The final celebration also features “Speuter” the dog played by Audra Hudson and a visit from an Animal Control Officer,” said Sarah Miller, Vice President of FoCCAS.
Blake Spears won the Speuter Award at Colleton Prep Academy. In his essay, Spears wrote “I have two puppies, Clair and Gus. Gus is a boy. Claire is a girl. They spend lots of time together so it’s important that we get them spayed or neutered. It’s important to get your dog/cat fixed or there will be overpopulation. Colleton County is working hard to lessen overpopulation. Also, if Claire has puppies I’ll have no sleep (zzz) what so ever. If I win, I’ll fix Gus so we won’t have unexpected pups like Snowball.”

Taylor Ford, Speuter Award winner from Hendersonville Elementary. Photos provided.

(note: Snowball was a pregnant homeless dog taken to the shelter to be adopted – the children were told about her journey)
Avery Jiral won the Speuter Essay Contest award at Cottageville. For the first time, she gave her award to a shelter dog so it could be neutered and go to a rescue. A puppy named Shirley was chosen to be spayed. She was spayed and then a few days later she was on a rescue van to the New York City area. She was going to Manchester County, just outside of NYC. In her essay, Jiral wrote “I think it is important to spay or neuter your pets. If you do not spay or neuter your pets they will have or cause puppies. Then some puppies might run away and then be found and taken to the animal shelter. After they pick the dogs there might not be enough room. If that happens the workers have to put down the animals. The animals did not even do anything. Same thing with cats they

Emma Drew, Speuter Award winner from Forest Hills Elementary. Photos provided.

could have or cause kittens and maybe soon have to be put down. If you have not spayed or neutered your dog or cat you should or all of these things may happen. Please spay or neuter your pet’s if you haven’t already. Those are some reasons why I think you


should spay or neuter your pets.”
The winner of the Speuter Award for the best essay from Forest Hills Elementary was Emma Drew. In her essay, Drew wrote “Penny is my puppy. Penny is a female. I got her when she was 7 weeks old. She is now 16 months old or 1 year and 4 months. Since Penny is a female she can have puppies. I would love puppies but they cost a lot and we want to STOP over-population of animals. So Penny needs to be spayed. My mom told me that if I wanted a puppy, that I had to pay for the first round of shots. I wanted Penny so bad that I agreed to do it. Can you please help Penny get spayed so we can stop over-population of animals?”
The winner of the Speuter Award for the best essay from Hendersonville Elementary was Taylor Ford. In her essay, Ford wrote “Today in our country we have overpopulation and I know how we can stop it from happening. You can help get your or someone else you know dog or cat get spayed or neutered. If you don’t get your pet spayed or neutered you can cause overpopulation because two pets can make for example ten puppies and those puppies could have puppies and it can go on and on. And you wouldn’t want to be the person who caused part of the overpopulation in our county. So take your pet to the vet and make sure it gets spayed or neutered.”

Christie Slocum (470 Posts)