Minutes before visiting the animals they worked hard to help, the children of West Haven asked a few questions.
"Do dogs have sharp teeth?" asked, 5-year-old Ben Strickland.
After being assured of their safety, Ben and his 17 classmates took a tour of Columbia County Animal Care and Control.
Two classes from the West Haven Preschool and Learning Center raised $600 by conducting a hop-a-thon. One by one, over a three-day span, a child stood up and hopped while the rest of the class counted.
"One kid brought in $90," said Judy Morgan, a pre-k teacher at West Haven. "For a 4-year-old hopping, I thought that was pretty good."
The decision to donate the proceeds to the department was left to the children. Cancer research and diabetes also were offered as suggestions to the pupils.
"They asked if they could give the money to the dogs," Morgan said. "They learned about compassion and caring and what it means to give to something or someone who is not as fortunate as you are."
To make sure the money raised goes directly to the animals, Morgan said the school used it to buy supplies needed to care for the animals.
Along with 30 cases of bleach, the school donated eight cases of laundry detergent, 60 pounds of dog biscuits, one case of dish liquid, 100 pounds of dog food, kitty litter and towels.
For the department, the donations came at an opportune time. Columbia County Animal Care and Control Manager Linda Fulmer said county department begin tightening their budgetary belts this time of year.
Fulmer said having the children take a tour of the facilities and meet the staff brings an added benefit.
"They can see that we aren't the bad dog catcher," Fulmer said. "And that we want to help the animals by trying to adopt them out."
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