Every year, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) honors animal heroes who have gone above and beyond their traditional roles to help humans, as well as people making significant strides to improve animal welfare.
At this year’s virtual Humane Awards on Oct. 13, Bronx resident Evan Bisnauth will be honored as the 2021 ASPCA Kid of the Year, which is given to a child who has made a unique and impactful commitment to animal welfare. The virtual ceremony will be hosted by NBC News Anchor Chuck Scarborough.
Evan, 11, of Clason Point, leads a busy life in the Bronx, but he doesn’t let that deter him from his primary passion: helping socialize adoptable dogs by reading to them regularly. At the start of the pandemic, when he couldn’t go into the shelters, Evan started creating amusing animations of local adoptable dogs to help them get attention and ultimately be placed in safe and loving homes.
Despite his young age, Evan is considered wise beyond his years and has a deeply empathy for these dogs. He would like to educate other kids about the benefits that reading to shelters pets can have – for both pets and people – and share his story to inspire them to get involved.
Since August 2019, Evan has been a junior volunteer at the NYC Animal Care Center’s Books with Boroughbreds program. The Manhattan Animal Care Center is located at 326 E. 110th St.
“Books with Boroughbreds” began in 2018 and has children, ages 5 and up, read to dogs at the facility. Some of the youngsters participate individually, while others are part of organizations such as school classes or a Girl Scout troop.
Evan, who reads to dogs at the center every weekend, explained his passion for man’s best friend began when he was a toddler. He grew up surrounded by three dogs and today, his pit bull Milo is his right-hand man.
“I always wanted to work with animals and dogs,” he said. “I think they need the most help.”
Since he joined the reading group he has become a better reader and the dogs are more relaxed. Evan noted that sometimes it takes 30 minutes of reading before a dog calms down. Having his own pit bull at home, he is comfortable with all types of dogs at the facility.
“It takes a lot of patience and time if you’re working with a really hard dog and they’re really scared,” Evan said.
Reach Jason Cohen at [email protected] or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter @bronxtimes and Facebook @bronxtimes.