A routine essay assignment turned into a real time effort, as kids want to make shelter animals the official state pet.

At Larson Middle School in Troy, Michigan, sixth graders in language arts teacher Cindy Christiansen’s class researched an assignment last year, and found disturbing information about animals in shelters.  They discovered that nationally, approximately 7 million animals enter shelters each year.  Approximately 2.7 million are euthanized.

With Christiansen’s guidance, the students turned that assignment to write an argumentative essay into a real world project.  They started a campaign to declare shelter animals the official state pet of Michigan.

The students met with Rep. Martin Howrylak, R-Troy, who has introduced a bill to make that designation a law.

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After the school year was over, students moved on to seventh grade, but the current class of sixth graders have kept up the effort.

Government progresses slowly, and that has been a lesson students have learned, along with the process of getting a bill passed..  Students want to draw attention to homeless animals, and motivate people to support animal shelters.

“We’re trying to bring more awareness to animals in shelters,” said sixth-grader Micah Pubursky.

In addition, they want to encourage people to adopt pets from shelters.  Shelter pets cost less than those in pet stores, and keeps animals from being euthanized. Currently five other states have declared shelter animals as the state pet.

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