11-year-old collected $17,000 to help abandoned animals

MISSOURI CITY, Texas (KTRK) -- Eleven-year-old Frannie Joseph is a hero to abandoned animals.

After Hurricane Harvey, she and her family were forced to evacuate their flooded neighborhood in Sienna Plantation for five days.

"I saw the Humane Society of the United States on the news, and how they were trying to help all the animals that had been abandoned in the flood," said Frannie. "I wanted to help them in a way."

That's when Frannie and her neighbors decided to create a lemonade stand to raise donations for the Humane Society, calling themselves "Harvey's Animal Helpers". Frannie's mom made a video for their cause and also created a GoFundMe page.

"I put it on Facebook and it just went wild," said Anita Joseph, Frannie's mom. "It was amazing, the response from the community."

Frannie and her neighbors raised a total of $3,500 for the Humane Society of the United States. As a thank you, the Humane Society provided Frannie with a trip to Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, an animal sanctuary in Murchison, Texas that's home to 800 animals.

"It was really adorable, she loved it," said Anita Joseph. "By the time she came back, she wanted to start all over again and start raising money for the ranch."

Frannie decided to hold a fundraiser supply drive at her school to benefit the ranch. Since Hurricane Harvey, she has now raised a total of $17,000 for both the Humane Society and Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch through fundraisers and donations.

"I never imagined my daughter would raise that kind of money, especially starting with a lemonade stand, you figure a few dollars," said Anita. "It was the right thing at the right time."

Frannie continues to advocate for animals in more ways than one. This year, she stood up for animal rights at the Texas Capitol.

"I was invited to Austin by the Humane Society to testify for a bill that would not let people keep wild animals as pets," said Frannie.

This came after an incident in southeast Houston in February, when a tiger was found crammed inside a cage in an abandoned home.

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Caregivers at the ranch say moments like this, show the animal is relaxed and comfortable.



"Whenever I saw the tiger in the cage in the garage, it looked so lonely and sad," said Frannie. "It was just squished there. I don't want wild animals to be kept as pets."

Frannie testified in front of the Texas Senate, where the bill SB 641 passed. It has now moved on to the House as HB 1268.

Frannie is still raising money and supplies for the Black Beauty Ranch through her GoFundMe page. To check it out, go here.
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