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SPCA's Kind Kids program adds education to mix

December 05, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

A dream of many former Washington County SPCA directors came true last spring when Becky Cavanaugh was hired as coordinator of education.

No longer an afterthought or a sideline, education has been raised to the forefront by Cavanaugh who has already started an active program at the local shelter.

One of those programs is SPCA's Kind Kids, a group of just under 30 youngsters that meets every Thursday at the shelter on Maugansville Road.

"Our SPCA director Shelly Moore had the idea for this club and we got it started in August," Cavanaugh said.

Geared for kids aged 8 to 13, SPCA's Kind Kids had a special outing last Thursday, attending the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Scales and Tales program at the Washington County Library.

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The members and some other kids were able to view and touch live snakes and birds of prey brought by DNR Ranger Ed Snapp.

With Cavanaugh and several parents looking on, the children were able to see what happens when people negatively impact on wildlife.

A duck with a broken bill and an owl with an eye injury were all displayed by Snapp who told the children that these animals, all classified non-releasable, are housed at Greenbrier State Park.

"Normally we meet every Thursday at the shelter at 6 p.m.," Cavanaugh said. So far the group has heard presentations from a dog trainer, a woman who raises puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and some veterinary technicians on the care of the pets.

"The kids really enjoy socializing with the animals at the shelter, learning how to groom them and exercise them," she said. "The puppies are especially popular."

Cavanaugh said an arts and crafts project for the holidays is on tap at the shelter and other plans are being formulated.

"We got $950 from the Washington County Gaming Commission for the Kind Kids project," Cavanaugh said. She is looking for projects that will advance her goal of encouraging all young people to respect and take care of wild or domesticated animals.

An Allegany County native, Cavanaugh has a bachelor's degree from Frostburg State University.

Anyone interested in joining the club can contact Cavanaugh at 301-733-2060.

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