Man’s an­i­mal wel­fare quest ar­rives in North

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - JENNY LING

An­i­mal wel­fare cru­sader Stephen Bras­sett is well on his way to com­plet­ing a mam­moth walk in aide of our four-legged friends.

Bras­sett is mak­ing The Long­est Walk to raise aware­ness of an­i­mal wel­fare agen­cies through­out New Zealand.

He has vis­ited more than 30 an­i­mal shel­ters so far, and re­cently passed through Whangarei on his way to the Far North.

He is ac­com­pa­nied by his two lit­tle dogs, a 12-year-old chi­huahua called Pic­colo and a six-year-old pug-cross called Jake.

‘‘My goal is to pro­mote what the SPCA and other res­cue or­gan­i­sa­tions are do­ing,’’ Bras­sett says.

‘‘I want to en­cour­age peo­ple who have an affin­ity for an­i­mal wel­fare to get ac­tively in­volved, to vol­un­teer or give their man­power or wom­an­power.’’

Bras­sett started his jour­ney on Jan­uary 7 at the South­land SPCA. He typ­i­cally walks around four hours a day, and has rest days when needed. He has a cart that has acted as his com­pact mo­bile home, which Pic­colo some­times takes to when he’s tired.

Bras­sett plans to visit the Kerik­eri SPCA and pos­si­bly the Kaitaia SPCA be­fore head­ing south again.

The 35-year-old from Welling­ton has worked in an­i­mal wel­fare shel­ters and as a dog han­dler and trainer for seven years. His last job was at the Lost Dog Home in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia.

His lat­est mis­sion in­volves giv­ing in­for­mal talks and stop­ping off at var­i­ous an­i­mal wel­fare agen­cies, such as SPCA, to give knowledge and sup­port, and to cel­e­brate the good work that goes on at these or­gan­i­sa­tions.

He also wants to ed­u­cate peo­ple about what an­i­mals need, in­clud­ing ba­sic food, shel­ter, ex­er­cise and train­ing.

‘‘I just de­cided I wanted to some­thing more proac­tive...and could con­trib­ute to more or­gan­i­sa­tions. My the­ory is I’m sup­port­ing peo­ple who choose to do some­thing, I’m just try­ing to help them.

‘‘It’s more about try­ing to get their mes­sages out and let peo­ple know in their com­mu­ni­ties that they ex­ist...I want to get peo­ple to get in­volved.’’

His mis­sion has been hard work, but Bras­sett has no com­plaints. ‘‘It’s the most free I have ever been and prob­a­bly ever will be, so it’s pretty awe­some.’’

Stephen Bras­sett walks around New Zealand to raise aware­ness of an­i­mal wel­fare.

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