Student on crusade to help animals

- One boy's crusade to help animals is having a big impact.

Nothing makes 10-year-old Austin Testa smile like friends of the four-legged kind.

"They're just so peaceful and they're so small and cute," Austin said.

Three years ago, Austin's love of animals led him to start his grass-roots effort called Every Bark Counts.

Austin holds fundraisers to buy supplies for organizations that help animals.

"I've given almost five and a half thousand dollars in the past three and half years," he told FOX 13 News.

The Humane Society of Pinellas County saves more than 2,400 animals a year thanks to community support from people like Austin.

"We really couldn't do it without the support of our community and volunteers. They are the backbone of our organization," Humane Society of Pinellas County's Val Brinkley said.

Austin got the idea to help animals when he went shopping for one with his mom.

"It was a cold day," said Austin. "I saw that the blankets were a dollar, so I bought them for cats and dogs."

"Austin is really amazing," said Austin's mom, Michelle. "He has a big heart. He has a big heart for the animals. He's very kind to everybody."

Austin's mission brings him great joy.

"I get the satisfaction of just being happy for the animals," Austin said.

Austin says raising money to make a difference in the lives of animals will be a lifelong mission. 

To get in touch with Austin, email

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