Troy - Press Archive - Troy director's wife brings 'gifts' to SPCA


Source: Times of Malta
27 May 2003
Troy director's wife brings 'gifts' to SPCA
Fiona Galea Debono

While director Wolfgang Petersen is busy filming Troy, his wife Maria has
taken a keen interest in the SPCA and is lending her expertise and generosity
to the stray animals' home.
 
Ms Petersen, who appears to be a true animal lover, is being regarded as a
"little angel" by the staff at the dogs' home on which she has showered
gifts and for which she is bursting with ideas.
 
She contacted the home on her own initiative, after having stumbled across
an SPCA dog statue, set up in a hotel lobby for the collection of funds.
 
Throughout her life, Ms Petersen has accumulated a baggage of experience
on animal welfare. She has assisted several organisations overseas and was
more than willing to help the SPCA also through her worldwide contacts.
 
SPCA president Barbara Cassar Torreggiani said Ms Petersen has not only
offered ideas and suggestions for the SPCA, but has already donated
substantial amounts.
 
She delighted the staff when she walked into a pet shop and bought
anything from bones to toys to leads to food, half a dozen cat "kennels"
and practically "anything she set her eyes on" for the home.
 
Ms Petersen is also sending over cat and dog traps of which the SPCA is
desperately in need.
 
Among her ideas was a neutering programme whereby cats and dogs are
picked off the streets in an ambulance, neutered in it and let back out there
and then.
 
Aware of its importance, the SPCA is working on a national neutering campaign,
Ms Cassar Torreggiani said. "We do not necessarily need an ambulance, but
for the system to succeed and be efficient we would, at least, have to
replace our one battered van."
 
The idea for Malta would be to pick up the animals, drive them to the vet,
neuter them and drop them off again, thus decreasing the stray population.
 
"The SPCA does not simply pick up animals and put them down. It actually
looks after and cares for the dogs," Ms Cassar Torreggiani insisted.
 
Its main goal is to set up new premises and two areas have already been
earmarked, "but we are still a long way off", she said.
 
Other needs include an emergency service for stray animals - those nobody
cares about, or nobody is willing to pay for because they are not theirs.
 
Although always in dire need of funds and new premises, the SPCA does
sometimes attract generous hearts. The US ambassador's wife, Donna Gioia,
has also taken an active role in helping the SPCA, hosting a lavish coffee
morning at her residence and pledging to get involved in other initiatives to
raise the much needed funds for the home.
 
The SPCA recently raised about Lm3,000 from a dinner and an auction sale,
but that was not enough, Ms Cassar Torreggiani said, pointing out that the
staff had to be paid and did not work on a voluntary basis.
 
Unfortunately, the money raised was just about enough to keep them going,
she said, adding that it "goes out quicker than it comes in".
 
In order to raise funds, the SPCA will be holding a fair on Sunday at the
scouts headquarters in Floriana - a day out with the kids, complete with a
variety of activities, including sketches of pets by artist Debbie Caruana
Dingli and advice on animals and pet problems from vets.
 
A cast member of the movie Troy, which is currently filming in Malta, is
drawing the raffle, the prize being a visit to the set at Fort Ricasoli.

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