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Harshman Magnet Middle School club honored with P.E.T.S. Award

Indianapolis Veterinary Referral & Emergency Center (IVR/IVEC) has recognized Harshman Magnet Middle School's Animal C.A.R.E. (Care, Advocacy, Respect and Education) club as a recipient of its Professional Excellence Through Service, or P.E.T.S. Award.

IVR/IVEC created the P.E.T.S. Award over a decade ago to honor individuals or organizations that demonstrate qualities like outstanding community service, dedication and love to animals of all shapes and sizes.

Typically the recognition is awarded during IVR/IVEC's annual Pet Carnival, which always takes place mid-July, but had to be rescheduled with school out of session.

The C.A.R.E. club was formed in 2011 by Harshman's Assistant Principal Dana Altemeyer, in response to hearing her students report haunting stories of animal mistreatment. As a result, the club chose to partner with Rebecca Warren, community outreach coordinator with the Humane Society of Indianapolis, to educate students on responsible pet care and teach them how to take a stand against animal cruelty.

Warren coordinates visits from local rescue organizations and engages students with animal-related films and books on a monthly basis. Topics range from adoption and the importance of neutering or spaying pets, to illegal practices like dogfighting.

According to Warren, the school's location, just a few blocks east of Downtown, falls in one of Indianapolis' top ZIP codes for animal neglect. For the past five years, 46201 and 46203 have been the top two ZIP codes with the most dogs and cats taken to animal control, she said. "It's important to educate our future generation while they're young, and make them aware of what's right from wrong," said Tracey Gillespie, IVR/IVEC specialty referral veterinarian who presented the award. "And Harshman is doing just that."

The next P.E.T.S. Award will be presented during the 15th annual Pet Carnival on Saturday, July 13, 2013. To submit a nominee, please call 317.782.4484.
Harshman Middle School PETS Award Winners
(from left to right): Tracey Gillespie, specialty referral veterinarian for Indianapolis Veterinary Referral & Emergency Center (IVR/IVEC), presented IVR/IVEC's P.E.T.S. (Professional Excellence Through Service) Award to Dana Altemeyer, Harshman Magnet Middle School's assistant principal, for founding an after-school educational program on responsible pet care. Rebecca Warren (pictured on far right), community outreach coordinator with the Humane Society of Indianapolis, teaches students how to take a stand against animal cruelty by use of films, books and special fur friend guests.


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