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Taking a stand for Katrina's victims

By Justin Boron

Kaitlyn Manning almost has a full zoo at her house.

Living off Noah's Ark Road, the 7-year old Sudor Elementary School student said everyday she plays with a pet baby cow, five horses, 12 chickens, three dogs, three cats, and three rabbits.

But even that is not enough to satisfy her love of animals.

"If we see a dog, the first thing she yells is 'It doesn't have a collar. Let's go get it," said her father Brad Manning, 40.

Her compassion for animals is the big reason she set up a lemonade stand last weekend. She said she wanted to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims, specifically the four-legged type.

Watching the news coverage of Katrina's aftermath, Manning said she worried about evacuees' pets in New Orleans.

"I just saw a kid on TV, and she really wanted her pet back," she said.

With the help of her father and mother Diane, 45, Manning set up a stand at the Shell Food Mart near her home.

Harry Padmani, 30, the owner of the Shell, said he was so impressed by her caring spirit that he felt compelled to donate cups, ice, and powder mix for the drinks.

"She helped the people, so I helped her," he said.

Sherry Poore, one Manning's customers, also said she was astonished by her generosity and good heart.

"More children should be caring and unselfish," she said.

After two days, Manning had raised $290.

Now, she is trying to find an organization that would use the money for the animal victims of Katrina.

Manning said she wants the money to be able to pay for the shots and medicine that abandoned pets might need in New Orleans.

Animal rights organizations, like the Humane Society and the Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals, have been rescuing reportedly hundreds of animals a day in New Orleans.

The charity is only the tip of the iceberg of Manning's enthusiasm for animals. She says she wants to become a veterinarian so she can see "all different kind of animals and get to hold them."

Already, she helps give her horses shots. She even said she assisted the veterinarian to whom she took one of her dogs for a hurt leg.

Her advice to other children with pets is that they should each day be "feeding them, playing with them, watering them, and letting them go outside to have some fresh air."

Manning said her favorite pet, if she had to pick one, would be her amiable cow "Peanut."

"Sometimes he gets on the porch and eats our watermelon," she said.

Manning also said she would like to see other elementary school students in the area develop ways to get donations for hurricane victims.

To learn more about animal care and rescues in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, visit www.hsus.org.

If you know someone who would make an interesting profile for our Everyday People feature each Friday, send a note to bpaslay@news-daily.com .