Following a proposal by concerned citizens, a Committee was appointed by the Moore County Commissioners in early 2006. The original mission of the “Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee” (PRC) was to provide and drive, with the support of the County Commissioners, solutions to the pet overpopulation crisis in Moore County. The Committee pulled together members from various organizations and interests – breeders, hunters, teachers, animal welfare proponents, animal shelter representatives, dog trainers, veterinarians, town officials – to work on common goals to improve the pet overpopulation situation in Moore County. The Committee focused on public awareness, education, and low-cost spay/neuter offerings against a backdrop of striving to place existing homeless pets. The Committee ran extremely successful “responsibility” campaigns in three major towns in the county. After successfully creating and driving a number of different programs, the Committee concluded that the area where most impact would be made would be through a proactive pet responsibility education program in the schools. The successful pilot program took place in the fall of 2008. The Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth graders is now an integral part of the curriculum in ALL public schools in Moore County, NC. One thousand fourth graders and their pets and families are impacted by this program over the course of one school year. The program is taught by volunteers as part of the County‚s Character Education course of study and is strongly supported and recommended by the Guidance Counselors in the schools. With a strong core of trained volunteers, 2011 saw the expansion of the program into the private school arena.
Children are huge influencers of family behavior ˆ evidenced by the number of people who quit smoking or wear seatbelts based on their children‚s comments! We leverage their influence to improve the lives of the pets in their families. We encourage them to discuss with their families their responsibility and commitment to their pets for the entire lifespan of the pets. We also realize that the fourth graders will be the next generation of pet owners in less than 10 years time! The program is repeatable, sustainable and continually open to improvement and expansion based on input from our teachers, the regular schoolteachers and the students.
For more detailed information about volunteering as part of The Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committe of Moore County, please click here :
The work of the PRC in the schools strongly complements the work being done by the Companion Animal Clinic Foundation and the Spay Neuter Veterinary Clinic of the Sandhills. A podcast of a radio show detailing the partnership can be heard at Fore Properties Podcast.
Word of the success of the program has spread to other counties. The program is currently being piloted in Gaston, Yadkin, Scotland and Wake counties. Representatives of other counties wishing to discuss the program and materials, should call Angela Zumwalt, Co-Chair of The PRC, at 910-949-9953.
Pet Responsibility Education Program lessons
The Pet Responsibility Education Program consists of six lessons. Click here for a high level overview of the content of each lesson:
Speuter Bowl Winners
Speuter Bowl Contest
The Speuter Bowl Contest was founded by the Sandhills Pet Gazette (an online, pet-related informational resourse) in conjunction with the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (“PRC”) which is comprised of volunteers who teach fourth grade students about pet responsibility. The focus is on proactive methods to reduce animal overpopulation such as promoting adoption and spay and neuter. Thirteen Moore County schools (over 1,000 students) are targeted annually. The lessons are integrated in the schools’ Character Education program and emphasize good judgment, integrity, kindness and perseverance. They are linked to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.
For example, Lesson 2, “Why is pet overpopulation such a big problem in our county?” includes a game using small plastic animals to help students understand how their pets can multiply if they are not spayed or neutered. Though most students grasp the solution to the problem, many come from households of multiple pets and some families, due to the hard economic times, are not in the position to alter their pets. Consequently, the students are just learning the importance of spay/neuter and want to contribute to ending unnecessary euthanasia. The PRC decided that every student should have the opportunity to become an advocate for their own pet or help another pet in the community. For example in Lesson 5, “How can I be an advocate for the animals?” each student may write an essay in the Speuter Bowl Contest describing how their pet would benefit from being spayed or neutered. The most obvious answer is to end the many unwanted puppies and kittens that are born each day in our county. Most importantly, the students have also learned what it means to be a responsible pet owner; what it entails to properly care for their pet’s health and safety; and how they will provide for their pet during its entire lifetime.
One winner is selected from each school where he or she is awarded a certificate to acknowledge their hard work, love and dedication toward their pet, as well as the many homeless animals still awaiting forever homes. With the support of their families and at no cost, each pet owned by an award winner is altered at the Spay Neuter Veterinary Clinic of the Sandhills.
If you would like more information or would like to contribute to the Speuter Bowl Contest, please contact Betsy Ficarro at 910-315-9569 or Sandhillspets@aol.com or mail a monetary donation to The Sandhills Pet Gazette c/o Ficarro, 200 Meyer Farm Drive, Pinehurst, N.C. 28374.
The Speuter Bowl Contest was piloted at Robbins Elementary School in early 2011. As it was the pilot, two winners successfully had their beloved pets spayed or neutered. Makala Garner had her cat, Samantha, spayed. Tyler Williams had his dog, Dexter, neutered.