Castaic Middle School students decorate local shelter in the Halloween spirit

Kids Loving Animals Within Shelters (KLAWS) Founder Karen Gagnon, left, and a group of Castaic Middle School students play with two-year-old pitbull mix , Zara , who was dressed in a head-bow and pumpkin tutu during a visit by the group to the Castaic Animal Care Center in Castaic on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The Castaic Animal Shelter is now decked out in spooky Halloween décor, pumpkins, cob webs and ribbons, thanks to a group of Castaic Middle School students.

As part of the school’s Kids Loving Animals Within Shelters (KLAWS) Program, students brought decorations, staff treats and dog treats to the shelter Friday afternoon following the club’s first “Trick or Treat” Shelter Donation Drive.

“We’re here to throw some light on the shelter,” said Castaic Middle School Teacher Karen Gagnon who started the club a year ago with fellow Teacher Christine Racina.  “You’d be surprised by how much the adopters and dogs are affected by the decorations and the homey feel.”

KLAWS adopted the shelter as the club’s primary mission a year ago to educate students on the responsibilities of owning an animal and to support the needs of the shelter.

“Not only do we want to help them because we love animals, but we also want to educate them,” Gagnon said.

The Trick or Treat Donation Drive was the second event of the year, following KLAWS’ “Bark for Books” event held at the end of September.

“This is a passion so near and dear to my heart,” Gagnon told her students before they entered the shelter. “We want to do something special like this every month.”

Castaic Animal Shelter Manager Karen Stepp said the program has already made a difference in only a month’s time.

“We’re getting more adoptions and more of a positive opinion of the shelter,” she said. “We get a lot of love, but this is special love.”

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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