Adams County Sheriff’s Office and Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue agree to collaborate to reduce animal abuse in 2024

Published 7:14 pm Sunday, December 31, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten has entered into a collaboration agreement with Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue to jointly develop and implement educational programs aimed at reducing animal abuse in 2024.

The agreement takes effect Jan. 1, 2024.

“We’ve worked with HPR for several years responding to critical animal abuse and rescue incidents and are excited to move this to a higher level to include educational programming about prevention,” Sheriff Patten said.

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Two specific programs aimed at educating and inspiring younger Adams County residents will be implemented first.

“No More Bullying,” is an innovative elementary school bully and violence prevention curriculum that will use service animals from Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue to captivate students’ attention.

Jay and Kathy Fitch, founders of Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue, said the program combines the human and animal perspective to convey the importance of treating all living beings with care.

“People abused by other people often abuse animals. When children abuse animals, it is also a likely precursor to future violence, said Jay Fitch, Ph.D., who will coordinate the education programs. Fitch holds a doctoral degree in psychology and has worked in public safety for more than 40 years.

The program will be available to church groups as well as area schools.

Camp HPR will launch next summer, offering a multi-day mentoring program led by Hoofbeats and Pawprints volunteers and members of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

Camp HPR is designed to teach safety and animal welfare concepts for children ages 8 through 15. It will include tours of the Sheriff’s Office and HPR’s facility, offering insights about the mission of both organizations. Participants will have the opportunity to directly interact with dogs, cats and horses at Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue.

Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue coordinates placement and transport opportunities for homeless and unadopted animals. Its mission includes reducing animal suffering throughout the Miss-Lou area and inspiring future generations to be better pet owners and pet parents, said HPR President Kathy Fitch.

Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue will continue to respond as requested by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and will explore other ways to address pressing concerns of neglect, abuse and abandonment in the region.

“Animal abuse is a felony,” Sheriff Patten said. “Educating the next generation is critical to the long term success of any animal welfare program. Collaborating with Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue in this effort is fully aligned with our motto of Connecting our Communities.”