PMB pupils vaccinate pets

2016-06-17 12:45
Siphokazi Shabinga (left, 17) with her puppy Tint, Sibongakonke Shabinga (9) with her dog Angela and Sbusisiwe Shabinga (14) with her puppy Brownie at Woodlands Primary School for free rabies vaccinations.

Siphokazi Shabinga (left, 17) with her puppy Tint, Sibongakonke Shabinga (9) with her dog Angela and Sbusisiwe Shabinga (14) with her puppy Brownie at Woodlands Primary School for free rabies vaccinations. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - It was all barks and excitement yesterday at a Youth Day outreach initiative at Woodlands Primary School.

The school’s pupils and Woodlands residents were invited to bring their pets for free rabies vaccinations. Talks and demonstrations were held to educate youth on pet care, and ­underprivileged pupils were treated to a hot meal.

The initiative was the brainchild of Derrick dos Santos, a Mr South ­Africa 2016 finalist and resident of Howick.

Mr South Africa finalists have ­embarked on outreach projects this month, and Dos Santos, being a ­passionate animal lover who strongly believes in “giving back to those in need — both people and animals alike”, took to social media to get the ball rolling.

“I put a post on Facebook a week ago asking for nominations for schools for the feeding day and pet care education drive, and the most nominations were for Woodlands Primary School,” said Dos Santos.

He arranged a team of professionals to assist with the drive, including Dr Derek Clover from Hayfields Veterinary Hospital and his wife, Jan, a nurse at Umgeni Veterinary Clinic.

Dog trainer Adrienne Olivier, co-founder of Funda Nenja, taught the children how to train and take care of their dogs. Olivier also ­provided dog demonstrations with her trainers and dogs.

Tina Clarke from Petwise helped with vaccinations and presented a pet education talk.

Volunteers and members of ­Pietermaritzburg Animal Rescue and Rehome (PARR), a newly formed non-registered organisation, and members of the SPCA were on site to help too.

Dos Santos said: “The area is also known for dog fighting and we want to educate the children on how and why not to get involved in this.”

“The drive was my idea but the input and help from people has been overwhelming,” said dos Santos, adding that he was very grateful and “it was nice to have SPCA working together with other rescue organisations”.

“Merrivale spar donated 600 juices, Save Hyper provided the bowls and spoons, St Joseph’s Catholic Church and Waterwoods wedding venue donated their pots, I bought the food, Petwise in Hayfields arranged the rabies vaccines, and PARR members have dedicated their time and effort to make this day a success,” said dos Santos.

Greendale Kwikspar’s kitchen staff helped dos Santos, and his friend Shaun Loggenberg, cook the meals for the school children. “Most students at the school rely on the school’s feeding scheme for a proper meal,” said dos Santos. Those interested in helping with the feeding scheme should contact Woodlands Primary School at 033 3871 005.

“The community can assist by having their own initiatives to feed the underprivileged - not only on Youth Day but any day they can. I will gladly assist and so will everyone involved,” said dos Santos.

He initially rejected the idea of ­applying for Mr South Africa 2016, but was convinced after he was told it is a platform to get his pet care ­education drives started.

“I would help organisations that rescue animals get more funding, get the community involved and educated in animal welfare, and try bring relief to families struggling to feed their pets,” said dos Santos about his contribution should he become Mr SA.

“The school thanks Derrick and the team for carrying out this initiative. Hopefully it will become an annual initiative as it provides a great service to Woodlands,” said the school’s principal, Neil TommyAlso at the pet care drive was ­Maureen Vida, who belongs to a feral cat sterilisation group that embarks on trap-neuter-release drives around the city.

They trap and neuter the cats, and release them back into the environment where they were found.The group, which is not linked with the SPCA, does not remove sterile cats. If you want to control the feral cat breeding situation in your area, contact Vida at 082 809 8601.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  vaccination  |  pets

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