Schoolkids Win PETA Award for Promoting Rescued Cats and Dogs as ‘State Pets’

Governor and Sponsors Will Receive Sweet Gift for Signing Legislation That Says Colorado Is a Friend to Homeless Animals

For Immediate Release:
May 20, 2013

Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

Denver — Colorado just raised the bar for helping our four-legged friends. That’s because, on May 13, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law a bill that establishes dogs and cats adopted from animal shelters as the official “state pet”—or pets, in this case. The idea was proposed by students from the Peakview School in Walsenburg and Rooney Ranch Elementary School in Lakewood. Colorado is the first state to designate animals adopted from shelters as the official state pets. For conceiving of the measure and seeing it through to a successful conclusion, the young “lobbyists” at both schools will receive PETA’s Compassionate Kids Award from PETA Kids, PETA’s children’s division. The bill’s primary sponsors, state Sen. Andy Kerr and Rep. Brittany Pettersen, and Hickenlooper—whose rescued dog Sky accompanied him to the signing ceremony—will each receive a box of delicious vegan chocolates.

“The way that schoolchildren, legislators, and Colorado’s chief executive teamed up to focus attention on the crisis of animal homelessness should be emulated by states across the country,” says PETA Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “Many animal shelters perform heroic work, and everyone who adopts an animal in need of a loving home is a hero, too.”

Every year, 6 to 8 million animals end up in U.S. shelters, and approximately half of them have to be euthanized because there simply aren’t enough good homes for them. Countless more are abandoned on the streets, where they are often subjected to injuries, starvation, exposure, disease, and cruelty. That’s why PETA encourages families always to spay and neuter their dogs and cats and to adopt from animal shelters rather than buying from breeders or pet stores, which contribute to the homeless-animal crisis.

Gov. Hickenlooper also signed into law another bill that requires police officers to undergo training in dog behavior. The bill was introduced following several incidents in which police officers shot dogs under questionable circumstances.

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