By Carol Lisowski
“Heaven Can Wait Animal Society recently joined with an organization called PAL of Southern Nevada. It is run by the Metro Police Department and the mission is to provide area youth with positive alternatives through athletics, education and community service. We, at Heaven Can Wait have been working with 12 kids and two Metro Police Officers, teaching them about the pet overpopulation crisis, while providing them with volunteer opportunities related to animals. Thus far the kids and officers have volunteered at the Heaven Can Wait clinic twice and at Windy’s Pig Sanctuary once. We have also spayed and neutered some of their pets for free. In the upcoming weeks, we will travel to Roos n More Zoo and the Lied Animal Foundation.” –Kim Yates, HCWS Board Member
This past weekend, many of the boys and girls in PAL of Southern Nevada got hands-on experience in helping out at Windy’s Pig Ranch and Rescue. While at the ranch, they got to see both pot bellied and regular pigs, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, a desert tortoise, and one very inquisitive goat that are all being cared for until they can find their forever homes.
LVMPD has made three officers available to work with the PAL program, including Melissa Lardomita who was the officer in charge of this event. All PAL programs involve local law enforcement as coaches, instructors, mentors, and role models. Police employee involvement helps provide a positive view of law enforcement and leads to life changing attitudes and relationships. PAL programs are made available at no cost to the kids and are offered 6 days a week, year round. Some of the programs are camping, gymnastics, swimming, tennis, boxing and tutoring.
It was obvious that all of the kids really enjoyed their morning at the ranch; just look at their pictures. Tahisha said that she liked helping with animals. Francisco said that he enjoys his time with PALs because the activities are productive. Darrian said he likes the activities because they are interactive, and he loves to participate in all of them. Karen just loves everything she gets to do with PALs. Recently the kids got to do some work at the Detention Center and learned skills that will help them in the future.
Janice Ridondo, the founder and owner of the ranch, did a fabulous job of educating the kids on the needs of the pigs and shared stories of how each animal arrived at her doorstep. Each one of the animals had their own story. Janice’s love of potbellied pigs began a few years ago when, during a cold January spell, she met a small, neglected piglet and took her home. “She was quite sick looking and about to die, so she asked (the owner) if she could take her home. The pig she named Peppermint Patty survived. “I’m still not sure how we saved her,” she says, “but that started it all for me.” From there, “I began to learn the plight of the potbelly, how reckless breeders push the so-called ‘teacup’ and ‘micro-mini’ pigs. There is no such thing.”
Janice showed us the rabbits which started out as two that were rescued from Pahrump, and as you can imagine, have multiplied. A cattery is being improved to provide homes for the cats and kittens that find their way to the ranch. Two of the pot bellied pigs were rescued from Lied. One family got their pot bellied pig because they were talked into it. Having second thoughts, they went home and researched on the Internet and found out how big they can really get, and immediately took the baby piglet to Lied to find a new home. Disco was dropped off because he had gotten very destructive and was food aggressive. Beyonce, named for the singer because she sings, was left at Floyd Lamb State Park with four piglets. The piglets all found homes.
Janice is always looking for volunteers to come help out at the ranch, located off North Decatur, between Alexander and Craig. It is great exposure for “city” kids to see farm animals in person and learn about their care. Make it a family day to go help out! All the animals, except for the tortoise are up for adoption or fostering. Do your research though before you commit to adopting. Make sure that your home will be the right forever home for your new pet. Numbers of unwanted pets have skyrocketed with this struggling economy, because many folks are afraid that the local shelter will euthanize their dog or cat or pig or rabbit, some have taken to leaving them behind at an empty apartment or house, or worse, let them loose in our valley.
Windy’s Pig Ranch and Rescue is a 501(c)(3) Non-profit
For more information about the PALs visit their website: www.snpal.com Click Here to read about all the community programs sponsored by Heaven Can Wait Animal Society. Through community sponsored programs HCWS can teach children empathy toward animals and educate adult how to stop the problem of too many unwanted pets in Las Vegas through spay and neuter.
Filed under: Community, Event, Programs Tagged: | animal rescue, animal welfare, HCWS Youth Group, Heaven Can Wait, Heaven Can Wait Animal Society, humane education, PAL of Southern Nevada, pet overpopulation