STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — When Lou Wegner was 14, he started work as an actor on his first film. The director of that film introduced him to volunteering at animal shelters — and in the two years since, his passion for protecting animals has grown right along with his stardom.
Wegner stopped by KCAL9 on Sunday to talk about his non-profit group Kids Against Animal Cruelty (KAAC). The educational organization works to rescue city shelter animals, raise awareness to adopt and find fosters for shelter animals, support animal rights and encourage responsible pet ownership.
KAAC is currently trying to ban puppy mill sales by pet stores in Los Angeles and is working to close all animal shelter gas chambers. Here is some more information about the organization and its 16-year-old founder:
Why was KAAC founded? — Every year millions of animals end up on the street and find their way into animal shelters. If they are not adopted, they are put to sleep. Today a growing number of people who can no longer afford to keep their pets are leaving them at shelters. KAAC is raising awareness for shelter adoption and many other animal advocacy issues.
How many KAAC members are there? — There are 50,000+ members, fans supporters and partner coalitions globally. There are nine U.S. state chapters including New York (Hudson Valley), New York (New York City and Long Island), North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Ohio, with additional chapters being added monthly. Today KAAC is one of the fastest growing animal rights groups in North America.
Where are KAAC members located? — KAAC members are located in cities and towns across America and in Great Britain, France, India and other cities and countries around the globe. The organization promotes kindness to animals, people and our planet worldwide.
What year was KAAC founded? — KAAC was founded in July 19, 2010 by teen actor Lou Wegner when he was 14, and the director of his first film introduced him to social media and volunteering at animal shelters. After learning that shelter animals not adopted are soon euthanized, Wegner decided start his own animal rescue and education group. Initially he started holding up street signs at major intersections in Los Angeles, getting his friends and fellow actors involved, teaming up with other animal welfare organizations and organizing KAAC grassroots activities and programs.
What are the goals of KAAC? — KAAC is active in animal rescue and the issues making headlines today. This includes shelter adoption, banning sale of puppy mill dogs at pet stores, eradicating city shelter gas chambers, saving America’s wild horses from being slaughtered or transported on U.S. soil and encouraging spay, neuter and pet ownership education. KAAC is involved in promoting passage of local, state and federal legislation to protect animals. It also engages coalitions of local animal control agencies, non-profit shelters, animal welfare organizations, fellow advocates, bloggers and communities concerned about supporting and saving lives of companion animals.
What celebrities are involved in KAAC? — Actors and celebrities who support KAAC include John Schneider, Malese Jow, Denise Richards, Joanna Krupa (Vampire Diaries), Emily Capehart (Doughboy, Random Acts of Christmas), Addie Daddio (24, Love That Dog Hollywood), Nicole Cummins, Robert Lorenz (Trouble With The Curve), Devin Fox, LuLu Cerone and many others.
Wegner lives in Burbank, CA. When he is not acting, he spends his days at KAAC, working with fellow teen actors to find homes for shelter animals, who he says are rising fast in numbers and need desperately to be saved. According to Wegner, too many people who are no longer financially able to keep their pets are leaving them at shelters, the majority of which are “high-kill.”
Millions of animals are being put down each year, so Wegner believes need to increase awareness of shelter pet adoption is greater than ever. He hopes to permanently close city shelter gas chambers one day, and believes the Los Angeles City Council should require pet stores to obtain their dogs and cats from shelters or animal protection agencies. Wegner says cities which have banned “companion animal” sales report higher pet adoptions and lower euthanasia at city shelters.
Visit KAAC’s website here.