RSPCA hon­ours young an­i­mal lover

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS -

A LO­CAL stu­dent ad­vo­cat­ing for crea­tures large and small has been re­warded by the coun­try’s peak an­i­mal wel­fare group.

Atwell Pri­mary School fourth grader Katie Birss was re­cently named as an RSPCA ju­nior am­bas­sador for her ef­forts ed­u­cat­ing, fundrais­ing and car­ing for an­i­mals.

The eight-year-old plans to use the role to ed­u­cate peo­ple about keep­ing an­i­mals safe dur­ing hot days, en­sur­ing peo­ple treat dogs re­spect­fully and help to re­ha­bil­i­tate na­tive wildlife.

“I was re­ally ex­cited be­cause I love an­i­mals,” she said.

Katie’s de­vo­tion to an­i­mals is hardly sur­pris­ing when you con­sider her upbringing.

She lived in the Pil­bara town of New­man and the Ar­madale sub­urb of Brook­dale, be­fore mov­ing 5km west with her par­ents and four sib­lings to 2.5 acres of land in Haynes three years ago.

The wide open spaces have al­lowed Katie and her fam­ily to have a sheep, al­paca, dogs and cats, as well as care for in­jured or home­less an­i­mals.

“Katie has al­ways been an an­i­mal lover,” proud mum Jay El­liott said.

“I come from a farm­ing back­ground so I be­lieve all chil­dren should be in­volved in com­pas­sion­ate car­ing of those less for­tu­nate and in need, es­pe­cially those who can­not speak for or de­fend them­selves. Katie has in­spired our fam­ily to do more, so for the last five years we have opened our home to an­i­mals in need.”

While want­ing to help as many an­i­mals as they can, Ms El­liott said the fam­ily en­sured it did not take on more than it could han­dle.

“If we kept all the an­i­mals we fos­tered then this would be a full-time job and a zoo, so we al­ways fos­ter with the plan to find amaz­ing homes,” she said. “Many of our friends who meet our fos­ters will adopt these beau­ti­ful an­i­mals.

“This means we see them all of the time and we are al­ways happy to babysit and take care of them when they are on hol­i­days.”

Pic­ture: Marie Nirme www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d466646

Katie Birss with her horse Miss Molly and dog Prince at the fam­ily farm.

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