Teen actor and musician Lou Wegner’s star might be rising on the silver screen, but the 16-year old is also a rising star in the world of animal rescue and advocacy.
Wegner founded the group Kids Against Animal Cruelty when he was 14, according to a story from CBS News. The animal advocacy group seeks to save animals in high-kill shelters, as well as educate kids against animal cruelty.
Wegner co-hosts a weekly radio show, Love That Dog Hollywood! Kids and Animals, and is also is a member of the pop band Blonde. He had a role in Clint Eastwood’s latest movie, Trouble with the Curve, and recently shot a pilot for the Nickelodeon network.
It was when Wegner left his home in Ohio to film Be Good to Eddie Lee that he became aware of kill shelters. A producer suggested that he volunteer at an animal shelter while there and when Wegner realized that shelters were not safe havens for every dog, that some of them are killed, he sprang into action.
With a few friends and a Facebook page that started with less than 50 “likes,” he and his friends began carrying signs on street corners to bring awareness to the plight of shelter animals. His Facebook page currently has over 14,000 members and there are chapters of his organization in several states. Wegner says he hopes to eventually spread those chapters to all 50 states.
Wegner’s mission includes advocating for no kill shelters and spreading the message of spay and neuter and pet responsibility. Wegner says his organization has helped save 20,000 pets in just two years by using social media.
One such example is that of an 11-month old Black Lab named Tommy Joe that was confined in a high kill shelter in South Carolina. When the dog’s photo was posted on Facebook, he didn’t get one “like” and his picture wasn’t being shared.
Wegner stepped in and posted messages to Tommy Joe on the photo, which got the attention of a local rescue that came to Tommy Joe’s aid and removed him from the shelter before his scheduled kill date.
For kids who have committed acts of animal cruelty, Wegner says he would sentence them to witness "Kill Day" at a shelter.
That sentiment echoes one that I personally heard from an overwrought shelter director at a high kill shelter. He said, “For every parent with a child who said they just wanted their children to see the miracle of birth, I would like to invite them back here on Kill Day so they can also witness the tragedy of death.”
Kill Day at the shelter is definitely something one never forgets.
Pet360 applauds Wegner’s actions and we hope kids from all over the country will join the online effort and establish or join chapters in each state.
Editor’s Note: Image by Flickr user Spotreporting.
What do you think of Lou Wegner’s animal initiative?