Lizzie Penna was only 7 when she saw an Oprah episode three years ago about puppy mills, so she just wasn't old enough to volunteer with the dogs and cats at the Pennsylvania SPCA or Main Line Animal Rescue.
But she had to figure out another way to help abused animals.
The owner of a dog and cat herself, Lizzie, of Wynnewood, formed Peace for Puppies, and with the help of her mother, Ali Roberts, she began holding cake sales at her school, Penn Valley Elementary, and setting up lemonade stands, car washes, T-shirt sales and bowling events to raise money to help animals.
Yesterday, Lizzie turned over $2,000, raised in an annual bowling benefit, to George Bengal, director of Humane Law Enforcement for the Pennsylvania SPCA, to help in the battle against an all-too-common problem in Philadelphia.
"I want to bring awareness of cases of dogfighting," Lizzie said yesterday.
Previously, Lizzie gave money raised with the help of other kids and their families to Best Friends animal sanctuary in Utah to help rehabilitate the 22 dogs seized from football star Michael Vick in a dogfighting scandal.
Roberts said her daughter and friends also have collected thousands of towels, blankets and supplies to give to animal shelters.
Lizzie also works with Philly PAWS, the Animal Care and Control Team, and the Humane Society of the United States, and has donated to many rescue groups locally and elsewhere in the country, said her mother, who handles Peace for Puppies' finances.
Although she helps out, Roberts said that it's Lizzie who decides where the money should go.
"I speak at schools to educate kids about how they can help," Lizzie adds.
Her 8-year-old brother, Justin, volunteers "sometimes," she said.
Lizzie manages to help animals even though she is allergic to them.
Her dog, Lola, is a poodle mix who doesn't shed, but after playing with her cat, Lillie, Lizzie has to wash her hands, or else she'll break out in hives and suffer other allergic reactions, she said.
"I have to be cautious not to touch my face after I touch her," she said. "If I do that, it's fine."