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    Teen of the Year
If you already volunteer to help animals, or plan to in the future, you're in good company! Check out these celebs who are passionate about giving our furry friends an extra "leg up":

  • American Idol Carrie Underwood rescues animals and is a devoted vegetarian. This year she won PETA's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) online poll for the World's Sexiest Vegetarian, beating out other famous veg-heads Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Avril Lavigne.

  • While visiting Argentina, Brad Pitt rescued 14 starving stray dogs and found them all good homes.

  • Hilary Duff works with the Best Friends Animal Society to speak out about the importance of spaying and neutering pets.

  • Drew Barrymore and Charlize Theron are active volunteers for the Much Love Animal Rescue in Los Angeles.

  • Actress Penelope Cruz has adopted a scruffy dog she found wandering the streets of Mexico while shooting a movie. She named the pooch Vino.

  • Actor David Duchovny is part of Give Voice to Animals, an organization that helps educate the public about the prevention of cruelty to animals.

Now it's your turn!
Besides reporting abuse, here's how you can get involved in preventing animal cruelty:

Set a good example. If you have pets, always show them the love and care they deserve. Make sure they get plenty of food and water, take them to the vet when they're sick, and be sure to have them spayed or neutered. And talk to your family and friends -- especially younger sibs -- about how to treat animals!

Write to your local police department. Let them know how important it is to investigate animal cruelty. Remind them that animal cruelty is a CRIME.

Join the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in your city, state or country. These groups fight for anti-cruelty laws.

Support your local shelter or animal rescue organization. Donate money, food, or supplies to make sure the animals in their care get plenty of help.

Volunteer. There are many opportunities for you to help animals who are homeless or have been victims of abuse. Your local shelter, SPCA, or humane society are always looking for volunteers to help care for the animals in their care. If volunteering at the shelter isn't an option, maybe you could help by fostering a homeless animal until it finds a good "forever" home. You can also get involved with community groups that have other missions, such as helping feral cats (those are untamed stray kitties), caring for the pets of elderly or sick people, or even teach younger kids about kindness to animals. You may have to get Mom or Dad to volunteer with you.

Next: How to deal When A Pet Dies

For more information, you can also check out IML's page on Volunteering: Helping Animals


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