Humane Education is a free service from the Humane Society of Ventura County that teaches compassion, empathy, respect and kindness for all living things. Our programs use the irresistible draw of live animals to captivate and tap into the minds and hearts of our audience.
Our outreach encompasses all of Ventura County, visiting preschools, day cares, schools, adult and senior programs, service groups, community organizations and events, churches, and anyone who will have us! We address the needs of animals, as well as people and communities, with topics on health and safety, disaster preparedness, overpopulation, animal rights, neglect, abuse and cruelty, the function and services of shelters, and pet care and responsibility.
Please contact Dawn Reily at DawnR@hsvc.org for information and to schedule a program.
We have designed our school programs to fulfill our mission of caring for animals with reaching the academic goals of our schools. Separate presentations may include pet care and responsibility, the difference between domesticated and wild animals, kindness, safety, overpopulation, neglect, abuse and cruelty or the role of shelters in our society. In addition, middle and high school programs may include animal rights, evolution of the dog through natural and artificial selection, careers with animals, or forming a Humane Society Club.
All programs are free of charge and are tailored to varying ages, learning levels and class sizes. They are about 45 minutes long and include follow-up lesson plans, visual aids and interaction with live animals. Here are some of the ways Humane Education themes tie into the California State Content Standards :
- shelter and adoption stories
- story sequencing
- creative and persuasive writing
- vocabulary words
- games and formulas demonstrating the multiplication/reproduction of non-sterilized cats and dogs
- telling time through scheduling the daily responsibilities of pet care
- graphs and statistics detailing the habits of pet owners
- economics and the cost of owning a pet
- needs of living things
- habitats and adaptation
- hereditary traits
- the development and relationship between the Humane Society (private, non-profit) and Ventura County Animal Regulation (government)
- legislation and enforcement of animal-related laws
- the character traits of our founders and those that continue to be advocates for animals
Tips offered for evaluating humane qualities of books
Reading about animals is a great way for children to learn about them. There are many children’s books about animals. Some of them foster humane values and some do not. Use the checklist below to distinguish between the two and help you choose the right book to incorporate into your Humane Education Program or family reading times.
- Is there cruelty towards animals in the text or visuals?
- Is the animal information correct?
- Does the book discuss the needs of animals?
- Is there respect for nature and its qualities?
- Does the book teach compassion towards animals and humans?
- Is the book about animals at all?
- Does the book show animals in an anthropomorphic way?
- Is there acceptance of cultural differences?
- Does the book speak about environmental conservation?
- Do the visuals demonstrate appropriate behaviors around animals?
- Does the book mention issues concerning the treatment of animals in a way that discussion can occur?
Sources for information on good animal-related children’s stories
- ASPCA has a Bibliography of recommended children’s books, Kids, Animals and Literature. For ordering information write: ASPCA Humane Education, 424 East 92nd St., New York, NY 10128-6804, or call (212) 876-7700.
- Each November edition, the Smithsonian magazine prints a view of children’s books. Many of these books have animals as the subject.
- Check your local newspapers. Many now have weekly columns which review children’s books.
- Animal Sheltering Magazine, Animal People and Kind Teacher often contain reviews of children’s books.
- Visit your local bookstore and spend time browsing through the children’s book section.
- Visit your local library and talk to the children’s librarian ask for recommendations.
“Old Turtle” by Donovan Wood
“Alejandro’s Gift” by Richard E. Albert
Education is a major tool the Humane Society of Ventura County uses to work towards the goal of eliminating the pet overpopulation problem and preventing animal abuse.
Here are a few kid-friendly websites: