Pet Education Project volunteer and board member Stacey Taylor explains pet care to school students.
Did you know that 7 out of every 10 animals that enter Caddo Parish Animal Shelter are euthanized? It is a hard truth to face, but it is time we confront this statistic. These statistics are not just numbers. They are breathing, living animals.
Whether you like animals or not, pet overpopulation is relevant to you. Every animal that passes through our municipal shelter (about 10,000 animals a year) is tax dollars being pulled from your pockets. The truth is we do not have a pet problem; we have a people problem. And that problem stems from a lack of education.
This is where PEP! -- the Pet Education Project -- comes in. PEP! is an education and outreach program designed to teach kids and citizens of our community responsible pet ownership. Our goal is to lower pet overpopulation, animal abuse, neglect, and euthanasia. We believe that by enlightening the public to resources and information we can reverse those statistics.
PEP! is here to enlighten our community on the numerous resources available to help pet owners raise a happy and healthy pet. Educating our public on the many local programs will encourage pet owners to raise a pet for the entirety of its life. Many people may not be aware that their pets can live to be 20 years old. Preparing and committing to that responsibility prior to choosing the right pet is key.
We advocate that pet ownership is a lifetime commitment, not just until it becomes too much work, time, or money. Owner surrenders account for thousands of animals that enter our shelters; one of the top reasons is the expense of veterinary costs.
Also topping the list for owner surrenders is when pets have unwanted kittens or puppies. Your pet can have up to 16 offspring a year. Sterilization is now affordable for everyone at Robinson’s Rescue, a low cost spay and neuter clinic that has altered more than 25,000 pets. They also offer subsidized and free sterilization for those who qualify. We advocate for everyone to spay and neuter their pets and with the help of Robinson’s Rescue. Citizens of our community no longer have an excuse not to do it. There are so many wonderful animal organizations in our community to help pet owners and future pet owners.
PEP! The Pet Education Project is a volunteer run 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that visits schools and other youth organizations to teach kids how to care for their pets. PEP! has spoken to more than 50,000 kids for free across northwest Louisiana. If you would like to volunteer, support, or donate, contact Erica Callais at (318) 278-7543 or email email@example.com. Visit online at www.ilovepep.org or www.facebook.com/ilovepep.
February is designated as Responsible Pet Owner month. Local animal activist and PEP! founder Erica Callais is committed to bringing awareness and education about pet care every month of the year.