10-year-old Hagerstown girl speaks out against animal abuse


HAGERSTOWN - Hayley Beyer has taken a stand on animal rights and is determined to speak on their behalf to stop animal abuse.

"I've always been interested in animals," Hayley said. "They can teach you things."

Hayley, a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Eastern Elementary School, said she feels strongly about the safety of animals, so she submitted a paper titled "Animal Abuse" to the Humane Society of Washington County. Hayley said after visiting the shelter, she "stopped by the desk and asked if they wanted her paper."

"They told me they would put it in their case, so like people coming in the shelter can see it when they sign in," Hayley said.

The humane society's stated mission is to improve the quality of life for all animals.

"We try to determine what's best for the animals," said Paul Miller, executive director of the humane society. "We certainly try to educate the community of acceptable standards of animal care and ownership. We also make sure animals are properly taken care of through programs and press releases."


Hayley's paper, which initially was intended to be a school assignment giving an opinion on an issue, showcases her passion and desire to help neglected animals.

"There are so many poor animals that get hurt each year from animal abuse," Hayley said. "They should be treated kindly because to abuse them is like to abuse the Earth."

Virginia Russell, Hayley's baby sitter and a family friend, has witnessed Hayley's interaction with animals on several occasions. Russell has a cat and fish, and said Hayley is very good with them.

"Every now and then, the cat will come up to her and rub against her leg," said Russell, of Hagerstown. "She's taken the time a couple times to play with the cat, and she'll watch the fish every now and again."

Hayley lives in Hagerstown with her mom, and likes to draw, sing and play sports.

"I really love to draw," Hayley said. "I especially love to draw animals."

In addition, she is a Girl Scout.

"It is my duty as a Girl Scout to help everything in my community," she said.

With two cats and previous experiences with fish, hermit crabs and a dog, Hayley's love for animals has sparked her interest in a career working with animals.

"I think I want to be a veterinarian," Hayley said. "And when I get older, I want to volunteer at the shelter and maybe work at the zoo."

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