The Miss South Africa finalists have visited the Soweto Animal Rescue and Advisory Centre (SARAC) in Westonaria to put the spotlight on animal welfare and to encourage the sharing of love through kindness and compassion towards those without a voice.
Says Jerry Selwane, a former SPCA inspector who now runs his own animal rehabilitation centre SARAC which he established in 2011: “Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and we are delighted that the Miss South Africa finalists have decided to give some of their affection to the 30 puppies and 60 adult dogs who have been rescued and are currently looking for new homes.”
Miss South Africa licence holder Sun International, in collaboration with Cell C, made the decision to support the shelter and the Miss South Africa finalists brought with them much needed supplies including food, collars and leashes.
Many of the 12 finalists are passionate about animals. Says Nicole van Niekerk who is the proud owner of a two-year-old Labrador called Kaylee: “My friends always tell me I am not allowed to go to the animal shelter because I want to bring home all of the animals.”
It is a sentiment echoed by both Shané Naidoo (who has four dogs in the family household) “Animals fill a place in my heart without even trying” and Yuta Raubenheimer (there are six dogs and four cats on the family plot) “I adore animals! I feel that animals teach us compassion and open up our hearts to love. They also teach us responsibility.”
Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters summed it up for the finalists: “I love my pets and I personally think whoever said ‘diamonds are a girl's best friend’, never owned a dog.”
Selwane says that while SARAC aims at changing people's attitudes towards the animals through advice and education, its primary purpose is to rehabilitate abused, neglected, orphaned and broken animals and find the best suitable homes for them.
Says Suzette Van Der Merwe, Cell C Foundation Managing Executive: “We are delighted to be able to help. Cruelty to animals is abhorrent to all right-thinking individuals. To help someone like Jerry Selwane – who has devoted his life to rescuing animals in need and who founded SARAC – is a privilege.”