This was a community
based Action Project by the 2nd Year CSPE Class, St. Sheelan's College,
Templemore. The action arose while working on Rights and Responsibilities,
and there was also an environmental aspect to the topic. We chose
this topic because of an article in our local newspaper, "the Tipperary
Star", about a local voluntary animal organisation called "Tipperary
Friends of Animals" who were critical of the County Council's poor
record on re-homing impounded animals. Also, it was Animal Awareness
Week. The local group interested the class because of their aims,
to prevent cruelty to animals and promote animal welfare.
a brainstorming session in class it was decide first of all to do
research on the local group through newsletters, leaflets and local
papers. Next a letter was written to invite a speaker from he group
to give a talk to the class. Every student was involved, from the
welcoming committee, preparing the room, asking questions etc. The
speaker brought her rescued dog, Belvedere, with her, which had a
deep impact on the class. They saw photos taken of him when rescued,
showing scars, and could see changes evident in him through love and
A letter was sent to the Council, signed by all the class, asking
to have their re-homing policy improved. A petition was organised
in the school, signatures collected and forwarded to the Council.
A leaflet was designed by one group, giving helpful tips on animal
care. Posters were also designed on the issues of neutering, re-homing
and welfare, on which we focused in the project. A survey was carried
out with 25 people, in the school and in the local community. The
whole class was involved in the planning of the questionnaire and
the evaluation of the information. Students wanted to raise funds
for the local animal group as they were very impressed by their dedication.
They organised a draw in the school and sent the proceeds to the group.
Finally we held an animal awareness week in the school. Everything
done in the project - posters, survey sheets, letters etc., was placed
on a noticeboard in the school.
The response was very positive. As part of this week, two students
gave a talk to third years on animal welfare. Every student was involved
in the project in both class activities and smaller group or individual
activities. The students learned about the enormous problems posed
in the county by unwanted animals. They discovered that the only long
term solution to the problem of stray, neglected and unwanted animals
was neutering. It also has certain health benefits and clearly benefited
the environment. The students had no knowledge of this beforehand,
but feel that through the project they have become more aware, more
responsible and more actively involved in animal welfare - reporting
stray dogs and cruelty to animals.
The class learned a lot about the local dog pound, the improvements
necessary and played their part as active citizens through their petition
and letter to the Council. Many felt they would like to rescue an
animal in the future and that a "dog is for life, not just for Christmas".
Overall, the students felt that their attitude towards animals changed
for the better. They feel an obligation to report cruelty and have
great respect and admiration for the local voluntary group and the
value of joining local organisations.