Teens strive to protect animal rights

VISTA — North County pets have a new defender in the form of the Animal Rights Club of Vista, sponsored by Vista High School. In less than a year of operation, the 20-member group has exploded on the scene, gathering money for animal shelters, working at awareness events and even knitting clothes and blankets for abandoned animals.
“I decided to make this group so that we can really give a voice to animals,” Janet Correa, club president, said. “I’m one of the most passionate people about animals, and I know there are so many others in the school who are just the same way I am.”
The club meets every Friday morning with no specific format. Sometimes there are guest speakers who speak on topics like pet foster care or spaying issues. Secretary Branden Lewis often brings in articles to keep the club up to date on the latest PETA news and other animal rights groups activities. These often spark long discussions.
“We’re very hands-on and we like to get involved, but we’re also about the philosophy,” club member Alex Borano said. He added that they want to make changes both locally and nationally.
Recently, the meetings have taken on a more pragmatic tone as the group participates in more and more activities. Correa often spends much of the meetings coordinating upcoming events.
April is already shaping up to be a busy month for the group. On the schedule is a bowling fundraiser for the Encinitas Humane Society and a walkathon for the Escondido Humane Society. On the side, club members will do a two-week cash drive with a goal of raising $250, also for the Escondido Humane Society.
“They really need the help right now, especially how the economy is going,” Correa said. “They’ve been getting a lot of animals, people who say ‘I can’t afford to feed my pet’ … It just breaks my heart.”
Now that the group has gotten its name out, many organizations are approaching them for help including the Loving Pets Organization and Spay USA. This is a big confidence boost for the Vista High School students.
“If people see that teenagers really do care, it changes their perspective about us,” Kellie Sones said.
Anne Green, Correa’s English teacher and the club’s sponsor, said she has been very impressed with the club’s passion and success.
“To be honest with you, the kids are very self-motivated,” Green said. “They design their own projects and decide what to do and I’m sort of the support person in the background.”
The Bowling for Animals fundraiser will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26 at the Vista Entertainment Center. For more information about the club and its activities, contact Janet Correa at vhsanimalrights@gmail.com.

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