Animal shelter dogs evacuated after Masiphumelele protests

2015-10-27 16:14
Masiphumelele (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Masiphumelele (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - More than 150 dogs have been placed with foster families after The Emma Animal Rescue Society (Tears) was forced to evacuate following unrest in the neighbouring Masiphumelele.

And as protests continued to flare up in the township, it remained unclear when the organisation would be able to operate.

Spokesperson Tracy Gilpin said a "dramatic" operation saw staff move the animals from the Lekkerwater Road premises to safety following riots on Friday night.

In the 13 years that Tears has operated, there has never been a need to evacuate, she said.

"But amid the tear gas canisters flying, stone throwing and [rubber] bullets being fired, our dogs were distressed and we took the decision to vacate them.

"An appeal was published on WhatsApp and Facebook, calling for temporary homes for our 153 dogs."

Dogs were driven to safety by car.

A group of onlookers gathered near Capri Village to watch the scene unfold in Masiphumelele.

"When we asked the crowd if any of them were capable of fostering our dogs, nearly all of them raised their hands. It was wonderful," Gilpin said.

After they took the particulars of the volunteers, all of the dogs were housed within two hours.

"The dogs seem to have settled in quite well. More than 20 foster parents are so in love, they can’t give them back and have opted to adopt them," she said, laughing.

On Tuesday morning, authorities lined Kommetjie Road after a group of residents burnt a container and tyres on Monday night.

The arrest of community leader Lubabalo Willem in connection with a recent spate of mob justice incidents is understood to be the reason for the unrest.

Willem appeared in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday. His next appearance is on Friday. He remains in custody.

According to the City of Cape Town, the area is still volatile and authorities remain in the area.

The society’s management was worried about how long its doors would be closed.

Emergency staff are on site but all other operations have ceased.

"The worst thing is we don’t know how long this will carry on. While the protests continue, we are in limbo," Gilpin said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  animals

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