NEWTOWN — Your dog or cat could help in cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Animal Center, a Newtown-based charity for animal welfare,

is requesting that pet owners

bring in clean fur to Your Healthy Pet pet store in Newtown from May 14 to 28.

The organization will mail all the donated fur to the nonprofit organization Matter of Trust, to use in its “Hair for Oil Spills” program. Matter of Trust will make “hair mats” and “hair booms” to soak up the oil.
People can also donate human hair and horse hair.

The Animal Center will also accept monetary donations as well, to cover the cost of shipping the hair to affected states. “Spring is the perfect time to groom your pet, because they need to get rid of their winter coats,” organizer Robin Olsonsaid.

The hair is stuffed into recycled nylon hosiery and covered in mesh to make elongated booms or woven into mats, which are distributed in the areas where they’re most needed by trained volunteers, according to a news release.

“We’re taking a natural product like hair, which would be discarded, and using it for a worthwhile cause,” Your Healthy Pet owner Tom Novak said. “We’re adding no chemicals to the water.”

The store will give pet treats to pet owners who make a donation. Donors can also enter a raffle to win prizes such as gift certificates to the store.

The Deepwater Horizon, a deepwater drilling rig, caught fire April 20 and later sank 5,000 feet to the ocean floor.

Since the disaster last month, an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil has been spilling into the water every day endangering wildlife and the livelihoods of fishermen throughout the gulf region, according to recent Associated Press reports. Officials in Gulf states are also reporting dead marine life washing up on shore, and Louisiana officials have reported huge tar balls — a mix of oil and sand — littering a beach

Olson encouraged other pet grooming salons and hair salons to send their hair to Matter of Trust as well.

Matter of Trust will continue the hair collection after the Gulf is cleaned up and store it for use in some of 2,600 smaller spills that happen every year around the world, according to its website.

Associated Press material was used in this report.

Contact Vinti Singh at or 203-731-3331.