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Hero Next Door: Sam Franzini working to help Ayla's Acres

7:28 PM, Mar 18, 2013   |    comments
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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Twelve-year old Sam Franzini and his dog Charlie are inseparable.

"I love him. He was my birthday present when i was six and he was the reason that i started helping dogs."
    
Sam decided to start helping animals at age 10. His mother, who works at no-kill animal rescue Ayla's Acres in Greenville, Fla., asked him to be an ambassador of an outreach program for kids.
    
The program educates children on adopting animals rather than buying them.

"He took this job as being an ambassador for the sanctuary and just ran with it," said Jessica Franzini.
    
Yes he did. Sam organized a seven-member committee and started an annual fundraiser called "Walk and Wag" to support an animal rescue that's financially strapped.   

"There are a lot of animals that are just abandoned on the streets and i really want to help them find a home," said Sam Franzini.
    
Homeless pets that Jessica sees everyday.

"It's heartbreaking. It's really difficult work because for every animal we find a forever home for there are 100 behind him that's still looking."
    
A stark reality Jessica has a hard time comprehending.    

"I think a lot of people do feel like their dog is their family member but for those who don't, they make decisions that don't include their dog and I just don't understand that."
    
However, Sam and his friends are determined to find the loving animals homes and support Ayla's Acres at the same time.
    
Sam Franzini is our "Hero Next Door."

"I really like that because I like to do what I do. Saving animals is what I like and to be called a hero, that's awesome," Sam said.

While Ayla Acres is located in Greenville, the Franzinis told me most of the animals are brought in from St. Johns county.
    
The animal rescue houses more than 250 animals and uses 800 pounds of dry food a week.

If you'd like to make a donation to Ayla's Acres, just click here.

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