City and country donate to Gold Coast school after dogs attack beloved sheep flock


Posted

September 14, 2018 04:37:06

Two extraordinary acts of generosity, one from the city and one from the country, have helped the Livingstone Christian College’s agriculture department recover from a devastating dog attack.

In May, two Bull Arab dogs — a breed used for pig hunting — mauled a flock of sheep at the Gold Coast school after escaping their suburban yard.

Sixteen of the school’s show sheep were killed.

“It was a ghastly sight,” the school’s principal Dr Mark Laraghy said.

“We all felt it, and when we see kids hurting, we hurt.”

“Some of the students come from homes where they don’t have animals and they became very attached,” agriculture teacher Troy Reynolds said.

“You’ve got animals you’ve had for five years, you’ve trained, that come when they’re called by name just like a dog would… the impact was huge.”

“I lost one of my best animal friends,” student Emily Holman said.

“We all went through a massive grief stage.”

‘Amazed and floored’ by community support

The school was so overwhelmed with offers from the local community that it set up a GoFundMe page to help the ag-show team rebuild.

They set a modest goal of $2,500 — enough to buy four sheep — but were stunned when they received nearly $8,000.

“What’s been amazing has been the generosity of this community,” Dr Laraghy said.

“We’ve also had other schools which we compete against donate money and do little fundraisers for our kids.”

The second contribution came from the owners of the Bellevue Dorper sheep stud at Millmerran — 200 kilometres west of Brisbane.

The Curtis family donated many of the original flock five years ago, and were worried the tragedy would force the school to stop showing sheep.

Three weeks after the dog attack, David Curtis and his daughter Sophie Curtis delivered 14 registered stud sheep to the school, including nine pregnant ewes.

“I think these girls will be happy to be at school, and I’m hoping these darlings will breed them some beautiful sheep,” Ms Curtis said.

Mr Reynolds was “amazed and floored” by their generous gift.

“I can’t believe the support, just seeing us get back on our feet this quick, I never thought we’d be able to.”

The donation meant the students would not have to miss out on their most important competition of the year — the Royal Queensland Show, known as the “Ekka”.

After two months of intensive training, they achieved what few thought possible — an Ekka-ready show team.

It was their time to shine, to be back and feel good.

“Just to be out there is is their goal — none of them expect to place, just to be here is the main thing,” Mr Reynolds said.

“Losing our sheep has brought us together stronger as a team, and our bond has never been stronger, we’re all a very close family,” student Emily said.

Ms Curtis watched her “darlings” compete.

“These sheep were feral, fresh out of the paddock!” she said.

“The time and the effort that’s been put into training them and seeing them compete, I was overwhelmed and so proud of them.

“To see these kids come from the back of the Gold Coast who are interested in agriculture and sheep, it just blows my mind.”

Learn more on Sunday Landline at 12:30pm.

Topics:

rural,

livestock,

sheep-production,

women-in-agriculture,

schools,

primary-schools,

community-and-society,

charities,

charities-and-community-organisations,

public-schools,

secondary-schools,

agricultural-shows,

millmerran-4357,

upper-coomera-4209,

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qld,

australia



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