Project Yellow gives ribbons to promote pet safety

Pet safety is important.

The Asheville Humane Society (AHS) and Buncombe County Animal Shelter (BCAS) have joined together to launch Project Yellow, a pet safety program to help the public recognize when dogs need extra space on walks.

The free ribbons are for the pet owner to tie to their dog’s leash to alert other people that they should use caution or ask permission before approaching the dog. Katy Mahaley, AHS Behavior Department Coordinator, said, “Project Yellow is a wonderful education campaign for our community. Many dogs are a little shy or just need extra space, and owners struggle with communicating that to people who love dogs and just want to interact.” The ribbon tied to the dog’s leash takes the pressure off the owner and signals the public to give the dog the space it needs to stay confident and feel safe.

The yellow ribbon DOES NOT necessarily signify that the dog is aggressive. It could simply indicate that the dog gets overly excited, anxious or fearful around other people or pets. The yellow ribbon could also signify that the dog has a medical condition and needs to be approached in a special way. It is a good reminder that we should never approach an unfamiliar pet without the owner’s consent.

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The ribbons help bring awareness to pet safety

Using the yellow ribbon will help the Asheville and Buncombe County community become more aware of pet safety. The ribbons are free for the asking at the front desks of both the AHS Adoption and Education Center  and the BCAS. The organizations are both located on Forever Friend Lane, just off Brevard Road south of the WNC Farmers’ Market.

In addition to being available at the AHS and BCAS, the yellow ribbons are explained through a Kid to Kid program in elementary schools. Pet safety activist Joelene “Joey” Beckham and her longtime pet sidekick, Beemer, visit schools with eleven year old twins Ruby and Christel Schober. The twins explain the proper way to interact with dogs, and they let their peers know that a yellow ribbon on the dog’s leash means that it should be approached carefully. It does not necessarily mean the dog is dangerous, but it does mean that the dog should be greeted slowly, carefully and gently, and only after its owner has given an OK.

The children in the visited classrooms get to pet Beemer, who is known far and wide in Buncombe pet circles. She and Beckham have helped raise over $10,000 for area pet rescue organizations. Probably their biggest contribution generator has been the Beemer Kissing Booth. There, after a small donation, donees get to have a wonderful wet kiss from Beemer – after getting Beckham’s permission, of course.

More information about Project Yellow is available at ashevillehumane.org. Those who would like to have Beckham, Beemer and the Schoder twins visit their elementary school to talk about pet safety should call Beckham at 828 681-9902.

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