The first annual Humane Society of Northeast Iowa (HSNEI) essay contest is being held in conjunction with the annual Pet Expo Saturday, May 11, at the Winneshiek County Fairgrounds.

Students from kindergarten through high school are invited to submit an essay on how a pet has benefited their life or, if they don't have a pet, how a pet would benefit their life.

Submission deadline for essays is April 30.

Essays should be no longer than 600 words or one page, single-spaced, typed -- and may include a photo. They should be submitted online via e-mail to HSNEIowa@gmail.com.

E-mail entries should have "HSNEI Writing Contest" in the subject header, and the email should include name, phone number, school grade and age, title of essay and the essay.

There are three age brackets (elementary, middle and high school) and three winners from each of these brackets. HSNEI will announce the winners at noon May 11, at the Pet Expo. All essays will be on display at the fairgrounds and winners in each category will receive cash prizes: 1st place receives $75 and their story in the HSNEI newsletter, 2nd place receives $50 and 3rd place receives $25.

Email questions to Hsneiowa@gmail.com. Additional information about HSNEI and future events can be found at hsnei.org.