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BARK Fest boasts big turnout

Sometimes it’s the youth who come up with the best ideas.

     That’s what happened recently in Brookhaven when students at the Mississippi School of the Arts decided they wanted to do something to help the Brookhaven Animal Rescue League. That idea became BARK Fest, which occurred Sunday afternoon on the MSA campus.

     Bark fest served as a fundraiser for BARL, and also included games for kids and dogs, pet adoptions and live entertainment throughout the day.

     Education Chairperson Samantha Sivils with BARL said the BARK Fest went well and they hope to make it even better in the future.

     “This is our first BARK Fest, but we hope to turn it into an annual event and expand in the future,” said Sivils.

     The Brookhaven Animal Rescue League has been around for 30 years as a limited intake, not for profit, volunteer-based animal welfare group that is financed entirely through donations.

     What sets it apart from many animal rescue groups is that it pledges a no-kill policy with the animals, and only euthanizes when it is absolutely necessary, such as in cases of disease or severe behavioral disorder.

     Students at MSA formed their own group, the Brookhaven Animal Rescue Klub, at school with the goal of helping BARL and the animals.

     Their first idea was to hold an event to raise money for the group to better take care of the 40 dogs and 20 cats it can accommodate at a time. That idea turned into BARK Fest.

     Mary Taylor, an MSA senior from Water Valley, said students came up with the idea for the club after being involved with BARL and noticing the group was short on volunteers.

     “We wanted to create a group that could help out BARL with volunteers for events, adoptions and at the shelter,” said Taylor.

     Taylor said she has always been interested in animals and plans to major in veterinary medicine when she begins college.

     The next event for BARL will be its annual golf tournament early this summer followed by the Dog Days of Summer Camp for kids in July.