An Excerpt from a recent Salt Lake City Tribune Article,
by Arrin Newton Brunson:
An art show designed to save lives is turning heads in Brigham City, Utah, where more than a thousand flags are raising awareness about the plight of stray animals.
Red, yellow, and white flags offer the eerie perspective of a cemetery on the large lawn of the Box Elder Animal Shelter in Brigham City. Unfortunately, the "cemetery" perception is accurate, according to Brigham City resident Phylene Anderson, the volunteer who organized the display to emphasize the impacts of pet overpopulation.
Anderson is accomplishing her goal: to educate, during Utah's Week for the Animals, the hundreds of people who drive by the animal shelter each day.
To do the job, she is using artwork by students in Debbie Compton's third-grade class at Bunderson Elementary and Jill Vanderwood's eighth-grade class at Box Elder Middle School.
More than 1,000 8-by-11-inch flags are adorned with drawings, photos of former shelter animals, and students' thoughts.
"Some of the white flags have pictures and things that some people find very disturbing, but it's the truth," said the die-hard animal lover and volunteer who owns Ellie's Pet Hotel in Brigham City.
"It's what happens when people don't spay and neuter their pets. It's what happens when they're not responsible for life. If people would spay and neuter their pets, we wouldn't have to have as many flags."
Of the 1,012 animals that came to the Box Elder shelter in the past year, 638 mostly cats and dogs were destroyed by lethal injection. They are represented by white flags.
The lucky 235 animals represented by red flags were claimed by owners, and 132 represented by yellow flags were adopted. Another seven were dead on arrival at the shelter.
Brigham City resident Christine Wilkerson is another Box Elder shelter volunteer who has time and energy to devote for all animal-friendly causes. She uses words like "joyful," "kind," "forgiving" and "loving" to describe her four-legged friends.
"All those flags that look like a cemetery out there are the best picture I've ever seen to show what really happens," Wilkerson said. "I think there's a wonderful God-given spirit in every creature - and those creatures are in our care.
"We are responsible for making sure that those white flags don't happen. We are putting to death some of our best friends."
Utah's Week for the Animals is sponsored by No More Homeless Pets in Utah, a nonprofit coalition of animal-rescue groups, shelters, and veterinarians that is overseen by Kanab-based Best Friends Animal Society.
The public is invited to visit the display at 1220 W. Forest in Brigham City. The Box Elder Animal Shelter will have extended hours to facilitate more adoptions. Door prizes will be awarded, and a raffle will take place.
The organizer of this event, Phylene Anderson, took many photos at the Box Elder Shelter to illustrate the various flags, but she turned to contacts in the pet rescue community to help her make each flag meaningful.
Shelter workers and animal advocates in Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Illinois, and even Jerusalem sent her photos and stories of both happy endings and disappointments.
And this project also caught the attention of several animal-loving authors, including Jim Willis, who wrote "Pieces of My Heart"; Stacey Mantle, author of "Conquering the Food Chain: Living Among Animals Without Becoming One"; and Ed Kostro, who wrote "Through Katrina's Eyes: Poems From an Animal Rescuer's Soul."
They donated books to be given as door prizes, and granted permission for quotations from their work to be displayed.
Proceeds collected will be used for a spay/neuter fund, and shelter animals available for adoption can be viewed online at www.brighamshelter.petfinder.com.
We can make a difference – one animal at a time.
PLEASE ADOPT YOUR NEXT PET, DON'T BUY IT; AND PLEASE SPAY/NEUTER ALL OF YOUR PETS.
Their lives are truly in our hands.