Washington Middle School students working to help APA

Animal Protective Association of Missouri Director of Humane Education and former KSDK news anchor Jennifer Blome visited Washington Middle School to show students some dogs rescued from puppy mills, and to talk about the needs of the APA. Washington Middle School student Eric Cule, above, holds one of the dogs Blome brought to the school.

Animal Protective Association of Missouri Director of Humane Education and former KSDK news anchor Jennifer Blome visited Washington Middle School to show students some dogs rescued from puppy mills, and to talk about the needs of the APA. Washington Middle School student Eric Cule, above, holds one of the dogs Blome brought to the school.

Washington Middle School seventh-graders are launching a letter-writing campaign to seek donations to help the Animal Protective Association of Missouri take care of unwanted pets.

As a result, APA Director of Humane Education and former KSDK news anchor Jennifer Blome visited WMS to show students some dogs rescued from puppy mills, and to talk about the needs of the APA.

“The seventh-graders from Washington Middle School are writing letters to family, friends, and businesses to collect donations for the APA Adoption Center,” Blome stated in a district news release. “And we really appreciate it.”

Washington Middle School students were interested in what Blome and APA volunteer Lesa Davis had to say.

Student Hunter Kolaski stated in the release, “We learned that puppy mills are very bad places for dogs. They’re illegal in Missouri but we have more than any other state.”

Another student, Rachel Mordeck, got to hold one of the puppies.

“They are really soft and cute,” she stated. “You would think puppy mills are just a bunch of cages, but it’s a lot worse than that. There’s not a lot of food and the cages are made of wire, which hurts the dogs’ feet.”

Students David Dickerson and Abigail Miller explained what they hope to put in their letters. “That the APA needs donations to help dogs find better homes,” David stated. “Puppy mills are very bad and some dogs don’t even make it because they keep them outside in the weather.” Abigail added, “The dogs need beds, food and stuff for the puppies to play with.”

Blome said the APA takes care of 300 animals at a time, and the organization is dependent on donations.

“In years past, the letter-writing campaign has resulted in thousands of dollars for the APA along with donations like paper towels, old towels, newspapers, nail clippers, dog toys, peanut butter, and bleach wipes,” she stated.

Davis told children there are 4,000 puppy mills across the United States.

“Missouri has more puppy mills than any other state with as many as 900,” Davis stated in the release.

She showed an example of a cage or crate in which the dogs live. It was about2 feet wide, 1 foot deep and 18 inches tall.

“There will be four or five Yorkies in one of these crates lying on top of each other. They never get to come out of the crate or stand up,” Davis told the seventh-graders. “Puppy-mill owners stack these crates sky-high. They’ll put them outside of a barn in all weather — heat and the cold.

“A lot of the dogs don’t survive. And when they feed them, they just take dry dog food and throw it up to the one at the top. But because these crates have wire bottoms, the food just falls through.”

Blome told students the APA brings people and pets together.

“Most of our animals come from families just like yours,” she stated in the release. “Seventy-five percent of our animals are what we call ‘owner-surrenders.’ People turn in their animals for many different reasons and at the APA we take them in, take good care of them, get their history and we re-home them.”

Blome said the APA of Missouri also has a classroom program called Kind Kids where they focus on educating children about how to take care of animals.

“We teach kids about kindness and compassion to animals,” Blome stated, “so they will be kind to animals and kind to their fellow man and not bullies.”

The cost of adopting a dog from the APA is $200. For cats, APA officials ask a minimum donation of $50.

“For every one of us in this classroom there are 15 homeless dogs and 45 homeless cats,” Blome told Washington Middle School students. “That’s a problem.”