SA dog lover and animal welfare worker scoops global award. Why he started is simply compelling

2019-11-24 08:04
Network for Animals (NFA) chief campaigner David Barritt with 2019 award recipient Shaygam Newman. (Supplied, David Barritt)

Network for Animals (NFA) chief campaigner David Barritt with 2019 award recipient Shaygam Newman. (Supplied, David Barritt)

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After fleeing home as a child, owing to an abusive alcoholic relative, Shaygam Newman found comfort among street dogs and vowed that he would one day repay them.

Years later, his love for dogs in his very own care operation has seen him scoop the Brian Davies Award, that recognises outstanding work for animals in difficult and dangerous situations.

The international award was given to Newman for his work feeding, monitoring and medically treating dogs in Hangberg, near Hout Bay, Cape Town.

The Brian Davies Award is an annual award hosted by international welfare organisation, Network for Animals (NFA), and the winner receives $10 000 in prize money.

Newman has a variety of animals in his care, he tells News24, including cats, pigs and ducks.

'My priority'

After finding a spot and setting up near Table Mountain after he left home, Newman was set for his caring operation.

His first rescue was a fighting dog and within weeks in Newman's care, the dog – whose owner was even afraid of it – became friendly again.

"Caring for animals is all I know. They are my priority," he emphasised as dogs could be heard barking in the background.

"The award makes my heart happy; with the money, there's a lot I will do for the animals to care for and maintain them," he said.

He added that he would use the money to build proper enclosures.

NFA's co-founder Gloria Davies said of Newman: "He works in a difficult and dangerous place with little money and minimal resources, yet he has been instrumental in caring for and changing the lives of street dogs.

Shaygam's Crew

"He succeeded in his devotion to street dogs and has become a role model to other children in his community."

Newman said he worked with about seven other people but will have a group of teenagers joining soon to assist.

"The people I work with don't ask anything of me," he said, emphasising that they do the work because of the love for animals.

Newman also has a group of young people who assist him, known as "Shaygam's Crew' - who he taught to love and care for dogs specifically – and now patrol the streets, checking on their well-being.

Read more on:    cape town  |  feel good
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