LORDSTOWN - Two Mathews Junior High School seventh-graders said that hearing about and seeing recent reports of animal cruelty moved them to do something to help.
On Saturday, Brooke Jardine and Krystal Shepherd presented $150 to the Trumbull County Animal Welfare League. The girls, both 12, raised the money by selling keychains they made and sold for $2 each.
In return, the girls each received a Golden Hug Award certificate from AWL.
"You see the commercials on TV and hear about animals being hurt or neglected in the news," Brooke said. "It's really sad that people would treat animals that way. We wanted to do something to help."
The girls, who each have pets at home, initiated the effort as part of school project for science class. They decided about a month ago to dedicate their work toward promoting an awareness of animal abuse and neglect, and to do what they can to stop it.
"It just seems like you hear about so much of it and it just keeps happening over and over," Krystal said. "It's very sad."
Two 12-year-old Mathews Junior High School students, Brooke Jardine, left, and Krystal Shepherd spent time with Melina at the Animal Welfare League on Saturday. The girls donated $150 to the shelter that they raised selling keychains. By Virginia Shank
While visiting the AWL Shelter in Lordstown on Saturday, the girls had an opportunity to "buddy up" with several animals, including 2-year-old Melina. AWL staff have also been caring for a dog that was removed from a Warren home where police and animal welfare officials found five dead dogs inside the house and four dead cats outside the house last month. Not knowing the surviving dog's name, AWL staff renamed the canine Ivory.
"There's just no way this poor dog would have survived in this weather if it hadn't been rescued," Barbara Busko, AWL president, said.
Last week, Tiffany Charleton, 30, and Michael Kelley, 33, were each sentenced to 45 days in jail and placed on probation for five years with a special condition prohibiting them from having any animals during that time.
Their sentences were handed down after they pleaded no contest in Warren Municipal Court Thursday. In addition, they are each required to comply with the Trumbull County Animal Welfare League by reporting address changes to AWL and allowing league staff to conduct inspections of their residences to ensure there are no animals there.
In a separate case, Randall Charleton Sr., 60, 2530 Hamilton St. S.W., has a second pretrial scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Jan. 25.
All three pleaded not guilty at an arraignment earlier this month in municipal court.
The charges against Tiffany Charleton and Kelley stem from a Nov. 28 raid of their 2518 Hamilton St. S.W. home where the animals were discovered.
Warrants were issued for the couple, and they were arrested at the 2530 Hamilton St. S.W. home of Randall Charleton Sr., who was taken into custody on animal cruelty charges after four malnourished dogs were found at his home, according to investigators.
In September, Kelley and Tiffany Charleton were ordered to remove seven of 11 dogs found in their home by Warren Animal Control because of a city ordinance that bans anyone from owning more than four dogs.
Besides the animals, the home was full of needles and feces and garbage.
AWL staff said on Saturday that Ivory is expected to recover.
"To see these animals abandoned and abused, neglected and left without food or shelter, it's so very cruel," Busko said.
"There's no reason for animals to be treated like this. What these girls, Brooke and Krystal, have done means so much. They care and they did something about that. It's very appreciated. Anything we can do to get the word out helps. The cruelty has to stop. It's wonderful to see young people like this doing what they can to help."