Age is no barrier for this Gold Coast schoolgirl who raised more than $1,000 for local stray and abandoned pets by locking herself in a dog cage for more than 24 hours.
At just 14 years old Sarah Braund has embarked on a personal crusade against puppy farming while raising money for the Animal Welfare League of Queensland, which is struggling to stay alive.
Determined for her voice to be heard, the Kings Christian College student spent a day locked inside a metal cage in her family home in November last year.
“I couldn’t lie down properly but when I did I could feel the wire underneath me sticking into my back. I was in there for one day but these dogs are in cages for months and sometimes their entire lives,” said Sarah.
“It was actually really lonely because I didn’t have my family around me but my dog Lily sat by the cage the whole time.”
A puppy farm is a large dog breeding facility which mass produces puppies for profit, which are destined for pet shops, the internet and overseas markets.
Sarah raised $1143.55 for pregnant mums and their puppies at the AWLQ after her mission sparked a ground swell of support from the local community.
“It wasn’t really about the money, it was more about showing the community that this is real and this does happen. Then I heard the shelter is in real trouble and could be forced to shut down,” she said.
Sarah learned of puppy farming two years ago from a magazine article but it was a fellow student who triggered her to take action.
“A boy at my school shaved his head for leukaemia so I decided I wanted to do something that I was passionate about. Not all dogs have loving and beautiful homes like my dog has, so I decided to do something for those not as fortunate,” she said.
“If I, as a young person, can do something then why can’t adults step up and put a stop to this cruel practice.”
Despite the idea being ‘out of the blue’ Sarah said her mother Sharon quickly got onboard.
“I told mum there are hundreds of dogs spending their entire lives in horrible, cramped conditions and said I really needed to something about this injustice,” she said.
Ms Braund admitted she was taken aback at first but is now oozing with pride at her daughter’s achievements.
“Sarah is so inspirational. She is living proof that young people can create change,” she said.
“As an adult you automatically think of the negatives, like who will provide the cage and who will support her. But Sarah was so excited and she didn’t see any barriers, so I thought why should I when I don’t know until I investigate.”
For her efforts Sarah was granted the privilege of naming a stray mother and her puppies at the AWLQ and much to her delight one pup has already been rehomed.
Sarah, who hopes to one day become a vet, urged young people to step up and let their voices be heard as well.
“If you are passionate about something just go for it because the sky is the limit on what you can do,” she said.