Hampstead girl honored for her vested interest in police dogs' well-being


May 16, 2001|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TWELVE-YEAR-OLD Shannon Watt of Hampstead has received national attention and a $10,000 scholarship for her efforts to provide bulletproof vests for Maryland police dogs.

The Shiloh Middle School sixth-grader sells homemade dog biscuits and bandanas, runs carwashes and volleyball tournaments, and writes to businesses soliciting donations for events such as the raffle she's planning for Hampstead Day on May 26.

"A lot of dogs in Maryland didn't have bulletproof protection," Shannon said. "Most of the dogs in New Jersey do. I had read about a girl in California who did this and decided to do it myself. Every dog should have protection."

Her mother, Cheryl Watt, recalls her daughter was inspired but had a rough start, with rained-out collection drives and limited response from area businesses.

Shannon persisted. Since June, she has worked more than 60 hours raising funds and public awareness, and has acquired and spent almost $4,000 - enough to protect seven police dogs working in Carroll, Harford and Baltimore counties. Each Kevlar-lined vest costs $484.75.

This month, the American Humane Association named Shannon its national Be Kind to Animals Kid Contest winner. She received prizes in addition to the scholarship. The contest is open to children ages 6 to 13 who demonstrate their commitment to helping animals.

Shannon was nominated for the prize by Baltimore-based William Snyder Foundation for Animals, which donated one of the made-to-order vests after Shannon's project was featured in The Sun in the fall.

On Thursday, Shannon received the foundation's Award of Excellence for humane acts toward animals. She is the youngest person to receive the award. She also received a check for the seventh dog vest.

A trained police dog is valued at $20,000 to $30,000. Most police departments do not include protective gear for dogs in their budgets. Shannon contacts local police departments to find working dogs that need vests.

The next recipient might be a police dog in her neighborhood. A new patrol dog, a black Labrador named Bear, will begin working this month for Hampstead Police Department. A vest would be appropriate for the drug duties the dog will perform.

Shannon has an e-mail address, vestak9@dog.com, and she plans to post a Web site.

Community yard sale

From 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, residents of Robert's Fields in Hampstead will hold a community yard sale.

A group sale will be set up at the Boxwood Drive pavilion, and individual sales will be held on residential yards and driveways throughout the 600-home development.

Robert's Field is accessible from Main Street (Route 30) by North Woods Trail, and from Lower Beckleysville Road (Route 88) by Boxwood Drive.

Manchester festival

A celebration of historic Manchester will take place the first weekend of next month.

Artisans will demonstrate their skills at Cygnus Wine Cellars, 3130 Long Lane. A blacksmith, weaver, potter, winemaker and woodcarver will show and sell their wares June 2 and 3.

Walking tours of Manchester and the cemetery on Church Street where many prominent Manchester residents are buried will be offered. Revolutionary- and Civil War-era life will be re-enacted.

Manchester Volunteer Fire Department will sponsor activities at the carnival grounds off York Street all day June 2.

A walk-in antiques appraisal by Charles Bevard will be offered in the Manchester Town Council chambers from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 3. Appraisal of antiques is limited to two per person and registration is required. Photographs of items are requested to aid research into the nature and value of items. Registration forms are available at Manchester Town Office on York Street.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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