The SPCA is holding its second annual ‘calendar pet’ photo competition. The contest, which closes August 31, is open to anyone interested in submitting eye catching photos of their loveable pets or any animal such as a horse, pig, iguana or bird.

Entrants will be vying for the 12 spots of the monthly 2007 calendar and there is no limit to the number of photos each person may enter. However, a five dollar entry fee is required for each photo.

All fees collected will be spent towards the production of the calendar.

According to Rosalie Powell, special events co-ordinator for the SPCA, last year’s contest proved to be a big success with about 200 photos in total and an average of two photos per person. “There were so many that we liked, we created our own centrefold of about 20 extra pictures which we thought should have special mention even though they weren’t selected for the monthly prize.”

When asked if she had any favourites from last year’s batch ‘Roo’ – the cover model – was definitely one that topped her list: “On the cover there was a tiny little kitten peeking out from under a bed and all you saw were these big eyes peeping at you.”

The selection committee is made up of three individuals “who do the first ‘look through’ and then we open it up to the staff at the shelter to get their opinion as well.”

They are Rosalie Powell, photographer Christopher Wilcox – who produces his own Bermuda scenery calendar every year – and Heather Kromer – president of the SPCA.

Mrs Powell said they look for “something that just showcases the character of the animal in the picture and makes people smile.”

What’s important is whether or not “it’s an interesting picture.”

The committee tries to select a variety of animals. “Last year we had birds and horses – not just dogs and cats. Anything that’s unusual would catch someone’s eye.” As an example, she said the animal for January 2006 “was a little dog lying down with a butterfly sitting on its hind leg and it was sort of looking at it.”

Once the calendar is complete it is purchasable at most pet stores and a few locations in town such as All Wrapped Up, The Body Shop and The Bermuda Book Store.

Just under $1,000 was raised in last year’s competition and this time around Mrs. Powell said “we would like to at least max or receive what we did last year. It’s a huge help towards the cost of producing these calendars because they are quite expensive to produce.

“We try to keep the fees at a reasonable price but it depends upon the production cost.”

She stressed the fact that the desired photographs are solely of the animals – not humans, and added that it is even preferred that hands are not visible.

The photographs must be digital, of horizontal layout and on a CD.

Registration forms can either be downloaded from the SPCA website or both obtained and returned in the specially marked drop-off boxes located at Noah’s Ark, Animal & Garden House, Ettrick Animal Hospital, Endsmeet Animal Hospital and the SPCA Shelter on Valley Road.

It is not necessary for the photographed animals to have been adopted from the SPCA but they must be a “local resident”. All submissions are welcome.

Ms. Powell said the idea of the calendar is to “celebrate Bermuda’s animals.”

By Stacee Smith The Royal Gazette