PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - One Region 8 school is sniffing into a new curriculum surrounding the treatment of animals. It teaches kids not only about caring for a pet, but signs of animal cruelty.
Oak Grove Middle School in Paragould was a pilot school for the curriculum last year and plans to integrate it into the their after school program in the upcoming school year. Wednesday, at a Survivor Transition Camp, students had a chance to get their paws dirty in the new program.
The new curriculum connects students with man's best friend. "We hope by raising awareness about animal abuse, that it will decrease. By learning this at a young age they can help put a stop to it," said instructor Brandi Russom.
The curriculum is called Muttigrees. Kids will be able to get involved with local organizations P.A.W.S, learn about shelter pets and how to properly care for an animal, as well as being able to identify animal abuse.
"They need to know what to do. Do I need to contact someone? Do I not? They need to know the police need to be aware of what happen, and that they can help prevent this," said Russom.
It targets children from pre-K to sixth grade. This week at the Survivor Transition Camp kids got a glimpse of what the program's all about. Like nine-year-old Hailey Beliew, "The worst thing on earth you can do to an animal is abuse it. If you're going to get an animal you should give it food water, and make sure you can take care of it," said Beliew.
Twelve-year-old Alec Humblet says he learned if you have a pet it's important to be responsible. "We learned about what's going to happen to the dogs if we get over-populated, and like people putting dogs to fight," said Humblet.
Russom hopes that by teaching kids to have empathy to our furry friends, they will send an even bigger message to the children about how to treat each other. "By spending time with these animals they can see that these animals need love, and by spending time with them, it teaches them to respect other people as well," said Russom.
Russom says the curriculum was developed by the Pet Savers Foundation and Yale University School of the 21st Century. She adds, three other schools in the Paragould School District will also be participating in the program.