Atwell PS student named RSPCA junior ambassador

Katie Birss (8) with her horse Miss Molly and dog Prince at the family farm in Haynes. Picture: Marie Nirme
Katie Birss (8) with her horse Miss Molly and dog Prince at the family farm in Haynes. Picture: Marie Nirme

THE country’s peak animal welfare group has rewarded a local student advocating for creatures large and small.

Atwell Primary School fourth grader Katie Birss was recently announced as an RSPCA junior ambassador for her efforts educating, fundraising and caring for animals.

The eight-year-old plans to use the role to educate people about keeping animals safe during hot days, ensuring people treat dogs respectfully and help to rehabilitate native wildlife.

“I was really excited because I love animals,” she said.

Katie’s devotion to animals is hardly surprising when you consider her upbringing.

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She lived in the Pilbara town of Newman and the Armadale suburb of Brookdale, before moving five kilometres west with her parents and four siblings to 2.5 acres of land in Haynes three years ago.

The wide-open spaces have allowed Katie and her family to have a sheep, alpaca, dogs and cats, as well as care for injured or homeless animals.

“Katie has always been an animal lover,” proud mum Jay Elliott said.

“I come from a farming background so I believe all children should be involved in compassionate caring of those less fortunate and in need, especially those who cannot speak for or defend themselves.

“Katie has inspired our family to do more so for the last five years we have opened our home to animals in need.”

While wanting to help as many animals as they can, Ms Elliott said the family ensured it did not take on more than it could handle.

“If we kept all the animals we fostered then this would be a full-time job and a zoo, so we always foster with the perception of finding amazing homes,” she said

“Many of our friends that meet our fosters will adopt these beautiful animals.

“This means we see them all of the time and we are always happy to babysit and take care of them when they are on holidays.”