Township dogs on show

2008-06-30 00:00

The mutts of Mafakathini recently had their chance to shine at the fifth SPCA/ Hill’s Township Dog Show, which was held at the Ngced’Omhlophe High School in Mafakathini.

Mafakathini is a scattered rural community about 30 km outside Howick. The locals braved horrendous weather, some walking several kilometres, to show off their prized pets. Johan Gallant, one of the judges and an authority on the Africanis, said he was most struck by the entrants’ enthusiasm, “Even with the wind and rain there were still 120 dogs on the day.”

Before judging, every dog had a thorough veterinary check and was de-wormed, vaccinated and de-fleaed. They were also given a new collar, lead, blanket, Hill’s dog food, a bowl and copy of Animal Talk magazine. The SPCA education team spent time answering pet care queries and promoting sterilisation.

According to the organisers, overall the dogs were in very good condition. “This is a very poor community with few resources and consequently we saw some thin dogs and a couple with mange. But the fact that people were prepared to make the effort to attend when the foul weather would keep most people indoors, speaks volumes about their commitment and concern for their dogs,” said Adrienne Olivier of uMngeni SPCA and founder of the show.

As there are no breed standards for typical “township dogs”, the judges assess the dogs’ condition, personality and rapport with their owners.

The best in show was awarded to Tiger, a brindle township special, owned by Goodluck Khumalo. “You could see that youngster loved his dog and was proud of it. They formed a good team,” said Gallant. Reserve best in show went to Siyabonga Sibya’s dog Cute, a well-named small tan dog. Both winners went home with a brand new wooden kennel from Howick Cabins and large packets of Hill’s dog food.

The uMngeni SPCA is active in various underprivileged areas around Howick. This was the organisation’s fifth Hill’s Township Dog Show. It has previously been held in Mpophomeni and Lidgetton. Olivier is delighted by the long-term impact of the show. “By encouraging a sense of pride, it helps reduce neglect, ignorance and cruelty, thus improving the lives of animals in disadvantaged communities. Thanks to the show and our outreach work, we’ve seen a real difference in the wellbeing of pets in Mpophomeni, Lidgetton and the other areas we’re active in.”

• To support the uMngeni SPCA or for more information, phone the uMngeni SPCA at 033 330 4557 or


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