Humane Education

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter wants to help you establish a humane ethic in your workplace, school, club or association. We can provide an Animal Control Officer or shelter staff member to speak to your group as well as give tours of our shelters.

For more information about Humane Education or to request a presentation/tour, please contact us at 831-454-7235 or



Critter Camp (week-long summer day camp)
Campers meet guest speakers, get to know many pets, enjoy a shelter tour, and do animal themed art projects. Through engaging activities, children learn to become responsible stewards; lessons foster understanding, respect, and empathy toward all living beings.

Pet Start
Pet Start serves the youngest students in our community, pre-kindergarten through Second Grade. It is an introduction to responsible behavior and safety around pets.

Youth Service Clubs, Animal Advocates
The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter hosts an after-school club, encouraging and supporting the young animal lovers in our community to learn and grow as compassionate stewards.

Meet a Dog can be presented to any age group interested in learning more about dogs and being safe around them.

Kids Speak for Pets
Kids Speak for Pets teaches basic reporting skills, empathy for others, and the importance of community involvement. Middle School students take part in this program. Participants are introduced to an ambassador animal and learn their story, learn about other shelter pets, then the students write mini-biographies of individual pets for publication to assist in pet adoptions.

Boy Scouts merit badge counseling
Boy Scouts of America offers merit badges in dozens of subjects, and scouts must earn badges to advance in scouting. Growing Kinder is capable of providing counseling regarding the following badges: Pet Care, Dogs, and Veterinary Medicine.

Safe & Sound
A single-session workshop derived largely from materials created by the Humane Society of the United States and American Red Cross and aimed at training pet owners in disaster preparedness and basic pet first aid.

There are other stand-alone Preschool to 1st Grader presentations*: “How people and dogs are the same and different” and “Farm Friends: Cows, horses, pigs and chickens

Offerings for elementary school classrooms are*:
2nd grade:  “What pets need” & “How people and dogs feel
3rd grade:   “Opt to adopt” & “Cat needs
4th grade:  “Safety tips” & “Wild vs tame
5th /6th grade:  “Pet overpopulation” & “Careers in Animal Welfare

Ms. Hitchock's South County outreach and Jen Walker's work with Growing Kinder!


Jen Walker, Education Coordinator, CHES, CTC

Jen has previously run many of the programs offered while employed at animal shelters in Washington and Oregon. She has also taught summer-camp and after-school programs in general science, environmental studies and animal welfare, has been an environmental docent, and interned at a wildlife rehabilitation center. The thread that weaves through all of these is compassionate stewardship for all, for animals (domestic and wild), people too, and for the world around us.


K-6th Grade Teachers:
Do you love pets?
Do you want to teach your students about them?

We offer fun Humane Education for tomorrow’s pet owners.

The Shelter has created 10 free lessons, ready to use in your classroom! All lessons are aligned with the Common Core Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.

 “Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.”
 —Arthur Schopenhauer

California Education Code Section related to humane education reads:

Education Code Section 233-233.5

233.5. (a) Each teacher shall endeavor to impress upon the minds of the pupils the principles of morality, truth, justice, patriotism, and a true comprehension of the rights, duties, and dignity of American citizenship, and the meaning of equality and human dignity, including the promotion of harmonious relations, kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of living creatures, to teach them to avoid idleness, profanity, and falsehood, and to instruct them in manners and morals and the principles of a free government.