YOLANDE DU PREEZ
The hard work and determination of a Hangberg man to provide a safe haven for stray dogs, some that have been involved in dog fighting, paid off with the help of the community last month when the dogs received eight brand-new kennels to keep them warm this winter.
Shaygam Newman, 23, has cared for the animals of Hangberg since he was a teenager and says he will continue to do so as it is his passion. “I grew up with animals and love them,” he said.
Owner and quiz master of Laugh out Loud, Liz Bester, regularly organises quiz nights where the proceeds go to local charities and last month the proceeds of the quiz were donated to Shaygam’s Shelter.
Ms Bester said she had arranged for Mr Newman to address the people attending the quiz to tell them more about what he does.
“There was not a dry eye in the room,” she said.
The aim of the evening was to collect money to buy the dogs’ kennels from the Purple Kennel Project – a Table View non-profit organisation providing big purple kennels for distribution to animal shelters across the city.
Enough donations had been received to buy four kennels at R350 each and for every kennel bought, the Purple Kennel Project donated another one sponsored by donors.
“It was amazing and we were so excited,” Ms Bester said.
But the kennels had to be collected in Table View and transported to Mr Newman’s home high up on the slope of the Sentinel.
And thanks to the community of Hout Bay who freely offered their assistance after Ms Bester asked for help on community Facebook page, Hout Bay Organised, the kennels were transported to Hangberg and carried up the steep slope to Mr Newman’s home without any problems.
Ms Bester said she then contacted Hills Pet Nutrition based in Hout Bay to ask if they would be willing to donate dog cushions for the kennels.
They instead offered to donate dog beds, one for every kennel.
Mr Newman said he currently cares for 11 dogs and 10 cats.
“The dogs love their new kennels and beds, especially in the early morning when the sun shines into the kennels. Even the cats sleep in them,” he said.
He said the kennels – placed on bricks to level them and to keep the bottom from rotting – handled the cold and wet weather experienced this week very well.
“My dogs were all warm and dry and happy,” he said.
Mr Newman met Ms Bester three years ago when he was walking a group of his dogs on Hout Bay beach.
Ms Bester said she was immediately suspicious of this young man walking so many pitt bulls and some of them had scars on their faces. “My first though was that he used them for dog fighting and I confronted him,” she said.
Mr Newman then told her his story and they stayed in touch.
“After our initial meeting I would often see him walk his dogs and his dogs always look well cared for. He also goes out on the streets of Hangberg with a bag of dog food and feeds the stray animals in the streets. He has a good heart and does amazing work in his community,” she said.
Ms Bester said she would often see Mr Newman walk all the way from Hangberg to collect dog food from the Oakhurst Spar which alternates in collecting dog food for him and another local animal shelter.
“It is a hell of a way to walk especially while carrying two bags of dog food,” she said.
And now, when she can, she helps Mr Newman by collecting dog food and other accessories donated by the community.