Humane Education in Watts
High number of roaming stray dogs in neighborhoods around elementary schools. This is a public safety issue as well as a call to action to educate children in the neighborhood. Classrooms are not addressing or discussing the pet overpopulation problem.
Challenges & Research
Over crowded classrooms and the pressure in many public schools are not conducive teachers do not have the time, or material within their curricula, to apply humane education-related content. Often it takes a compassionate dog or cat lover that may open their mind and classroom to a visit from a humane educator. It is crucial that humane education lessons blend well with required curriculum and are tailored by age group.
Watts is a small community with a great deal of history. Every December an annual "Christmas Parade" involves many residents. Our approach was to use the parade as a tool to enter the elementary school classrooms for humane education presentations. We presented at every elementary school in the area. The classrooms got together by grade, a maximum of 40 students attended each presentation on pet care and responsibility. We asked the students to complete an art project; to illustrate an important message about pet responsibility that they learned. Their pieces of art were affixed to our "Neuter Your Dog" van – which participated in the parade.
Kids attended the parade together to get a glimpse of their artwork along the van. They cheered, jumped and waved when we drove by. The "Neuter Your Dog" van was by far the most educational and unique parade vehicle. Most importantly, we engaged the schools, students and the greater community with our theme of proper pet responsibility. We also established a positive relationship with the schools, which meant an open door to future humane presentations, a crucial component to impacting the neighborhoods with consistency.