Dori Edwards, Global Animal
Similarly to how many grass roots organizations begin, Kids Against Animal Cruelty started with a small group of animal lovers carrying signs on street corners and a Facebook page with 47 friends.
“We are Animal Knights fighting for the rights of all animals,” describes KAAC on their Facebook page. An animal activism group that uses social networking to encourage adoption at high kill shelters, KAAC was founded two years ago by child actor/singer Lou Wegner when he was a mere 14 years old.
Wegner established KAAC after volunteering at a local animal shelter in Los Angeles during the filming of his short film Be Good To Eddie Lee.
“It was heartbreaking. All these dogs crying in their cages. Knowing they would be put down broke my heart,” Wegner recalled of the facilities.
Wegner relayed it was the first time he became aware of the disconcerting euthanasia rates throughout the country- believing before that shelters were safe places for homeless animals.
After two years, KAAC boasts 12,000 members, 50,000 supporters, and 20,000 animals it has saved from euthanasia.The organization has branched across the United States and has several chapters, all run by young animal lovers like Wegner.
In New York City, two sisters are head of a faction that helped find lost dogs and provide food for families with animals during Superstorm Sandy. Two of Wegner’s young relatives run chapters in Arizona and Minnesota.
Wegner hopes that KAAC will eventually have a chapter in every state, “because the bigger the group you work with, the bigger difference you can make. “
Robin Harmon, a transporter for Best Friends’ Animal Society, was “especially impressed that at a young age, he could control his feelings and the sadness that we all feel when we are helping at high-kill shelters.”
According to AP, Wegner agrees that the sadness is hard to deal with. “Saving one keeps you going,” he says.
Wegner’s volunteering does not end with KAAC. Clearly a dedicated animal lover, he began another group in South Carolina called For the Love of Dogs in order to save a black labrador retriever named Tommy Joe that he believed “was doomed.”
He is also co-host of the Global Voice Broadcasting radio show Love That Dog Hollywood! Kids & Animals. According to the general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services and a guest on the show Brenda Barnette, Wegner is “a well-spoken advocate for animals and for peer involvement.”
Wegner also believes in a need to educate children on cruelty to animals. After the recent cases of child-inflicted animal cruelty when a 12-year-old hung his family dog and two 11-year-olds threw rocks at a pregnant cat, Wegner stated that these children should be exposed to a euthanasia room.
Wearing his KAAC t-shirt everywhere he goes, Wegner and his compatriots for animal rights are far from finished with their work. “They euthanize just as many animals every day as we have saved. It’s like throwing a Band-Aid in a river,” he says.
We expect to see a lot more from Wagner and his team of dedicated friends. We are grateful that the young generation has taken on this cause and is reshaping the future for animals.