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Sean Martin speaks with Nassau County Legislator, Mike Vendito

Sean Martin speaks with Nassau County Legislator, Mike Vendito

This year’s National Dog Week theme has centered on Kids and Canines. It is a wide and varied topic, and covers lots of ground. In keeping with this theme, I’ve asked young Sean Martin, a 13 year-old animal advocate and actor, to write about his work on behalf of homeless animals. With the help of his mom, Melanie, and other family members, Sean helped to create Kids Adopt a Shelter a few years ago, and has given a lot of thought to making some changes in the lives of our Companion Animals. Here he demonstrates how thoughts, when put into words can inspire one to act (and not only for the camera in this case)! To learn more about Seans’ work, please visit:

Sean has been working with John Vendito, mayor of Oyster Bay, New York, and John’s son, Mike Vendito, Nassau County Legislator, to put some of his ideas into action. Recently, I asked Sean to write about his current mission and here is what he told me:

The most important issues I feel facing the dog population of the nation are backyard breeding, puppy mills, kill shelters, lack of low cost spay and neuter, dog fighting, BSL (breed specific legislation), animal abuse, and the lack of enforcement of animal abuse laws.

I feel backyard breeding and puppy mills are an issue because there are tons of irresponsible people bringing dogs into this world and most wind up not finding homes, and the ones that are not adopted wind up in awful situations. I also feel that dogs should not be permitted to be sold in pet stores, most of the dogs found in pet stores have heath issues and their parents are mistreated and they are inbred which creates more health issues. My solution for these issues would be mandatory licenses for breeders, which would include spontaneous and frequent check-ups, and if they violated the conditions of their licenses, they would lose them, they would be heavily fined, and they would also lose their rights to their animals.

Kill shelters exist due to overpopulation of animals and it is the easiest and cheapest way to run a “shelter.” I think kill shelters should be brought down and animals should only be put down in certain conditions; if they are hurt very badly, reaching old age and have an illness for which there is no cure. The best way to end this and bring those kill shelters down, or turn them into adoption centers is to make laws against animal murder. I think it is murder to give a dog 2 to 7 days to be claimed before being put down in a shelter. We need to make it easier for these animals to be adopted, and help them by giving them all the things they need such as supplies and medicine. Shelters can use these resources to help homeless animals find good homes instead of killing them.

The high cost of spaying and neutering is another reason we have an animal overpopulation problem. It’s easy to make it inexpensive and I think that all shelters and adoption centers should have FREE spay and neuter programs and that every shelter, adpotion center, or breeder should spay and neuter the animals before they go to a new home. I also think that it should be a law to have animals spayed or neutered, if you have animals that are not spayed or neutered, and you can lose your animals if they are not. The only people who could adopt an animal that is not spayed, or neutered, would be a licensed breeder. It’s so much less expensive to Spay and Neuter then to provide 4-10 puppies everything they need, its even less expensive to Spay and Neuter a male and female then to Euthanize 4-10 unwanted dogs. Spay and Neuter should be mandatory.

I think a lot of these issues go hand in hand, I think it all goes to Spay and Neutering. We can save so many animals if we stop them from having unwanted babies. Everyone thinks their dog is the best and they want puppies, but those puppies have puppies, and then we wind up with a major crisis on our hands like we have now.

I am working with legislation for my “Laws for Paws Kids” project, and I plan to work with government to make real changes. I know a lot of people think it’s wrong to make spay and neutering mandatory, but it’s also wrong to KILL dogs. I want to end Puppy mills by creating harsher breeding laws, and end the sale of dogs in pet stores, which will put puppy mills out of business. I want to end Breed Specific Legislation and, “blame the deed not the breed.” I want to help shelters with my Kids Adopt a Shelter mission by off-setting costs so they can stop the killing of innocent dogs and become true NO KILL. I want to pass laws to mandate Spay and neutering and enforce licenses for breeders and end backyard breeding. I want the government to enforce animal abuse laws and make harsher penalties for animal abuse.

I know it seems like I want to do a lot but I am a kid and I have a long time to get these things done. Please support my missions! Thanks.

Happy National Dog Week everyone, and thank you, Sean, for all you do and to so many out there who care and work hard for change. National Dog Week is officially observed the last full week of September, but it’s spirit can be shared all year round.

Sean Martin meets Dr. Ron Paul

Sean Martin meets Dr. Ron Paul


Sean Martin, Founder-Kids Adopt a Shelter

“But the dog is also an excellent teacher for children in that he aids in their character building.”

Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week


For me, nothing is more inspiring than images and words that highlight the bond between children and their pets.

As many already know, this blog was started as a place where I could build interest in something I called the National Dog Week Project and the book I am writing about its Founder, Will Judy.  Although Judy was an accomplished lawyer and publisher, later in life he began to grapple with the more spiritual side of pet ownership (ownership was the word of the day in his time), focusing primarily on the canine-human bond.  Clearly, his early training in the ministry was influencing his writing and approach.

He spoke to the heart of all dog-lovers; men, women and children, firmly believing that through the act of caring for pets, children became more compassionate and responsible.  He viewed pet ownership as a young person’s training for parenthood in many ways.

I would also add volunteerism. Given the chance and encouragement, most kids are only too eager to donate their time and energy to a cause they care about.  Some are coached by caring parents and others just seem to come to it naturally.  Such was the case with a young man named Sean Martin who came to my attention through his Facebook Page and mission, Kids Adopt a Shelter.

I contacted Sean and his mom, Melanie, and told them about National Dog Week and how Sean’s work epitomizes its spirit.  Sean is an eleven- year old actor with his most recent role in the “dog-biz” centering  on his involvement with his Kids Adopt a Shelter Cause launched on Facebook.

Sean’s mission began when he and his friends gathered up a lot of “stuff” on the occasion of his parent’s Halloween Party.  Not happy with his results, Sean resolved to scare up “tons of stuff for Christmas,” that he would donate to the Little Shelter in Huntington, New York.

As Sean recalls, “I pleaded with family and friends and put signs up all over my neighborhood to raise awareness for my mission.”

His efforts were well rewarded. On December 23, 2011, Sean and his parents loaded their Jeep and delivered over $1,000 in donations.  But this ambitious kid with a big heart did not stop here. Sean decided he would get other kids just like him all over the nation to join him in his efforts…and Kids Adopt a Shelter was born! Sean set out to see that every state of the nation was represented, with the hopes that in the future he would have a rep in each town in each state.

With 2,584 Likes currently on their page, I think that he and fellow page administrators, Zac Posner are on the right track. Right now Sean and Zac are busy working on their Kids Adopt a Shelter SPRING 2012 DRIVE, an event scheduled for Tuesday, March 20 from 9:00am to 8:00pm. In some cases, they will even try to pick up your donations on your doorstep.

Similar to the folks at Covers for Critters, another group I have written about, Sean is encouraging all participants to gather up all kind of linens and bedding materials, and also any pet-related items, new or gently used to donate to shelters in need.  To find out more, please visit the Event page and contact Sean directly.

On his Facebook page for this cause there is a list of all the supplies that are needed with the names of all states represented to-date. A new feature also spotlights an adoptable cat and dog of the week.  I hope you and your kids of course, check out Sean’s blog site and help with donations and some time, too!

To learn more about Sean’s other roles in the acting community:

I like the fact that there is an emphasis on Spay and Neuter contained in the mission of Kids Adopt a Shelter.  On that note, I also encourage you to check out Project Pets – Spay, Neuter, Love’s  new website with its own focus on young people.

In a week or so, we will be announcing some exciting National Dog Week news that has a whole lot to do with kids.  Stay tuned and please LIKE our NDW Community Page!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974


"Is it dog week yet?"

"Is it dog week yet?"

Michelle Mongelli and Wheezey

Pike, at Geiger Key

Hooper in the Keys

Hooper in the Keys

“Two Culprits” by Steven Hall

Logan & Koda


DJ Goes to Westminster

Zac and Cooper

"Look daddy, I can fly!"

“Hooper” – Best in Snow

Pita in Matt’s Garden

Hooper with cousin Roxy, Summer 2009

Me and my “Hoop”