Struggling animal clinic endures another blow

2020-05-14 06:02
Pet owners wait patiently for assistance outside Mdzananda Animal Clinic. The facility was recently robbed, making it difficult to provide help to pet owners and pets that need assistance the most.PHOTO: mzwanele mkalipi

Pet owners wait patiently for assistance outside Mdzananda Animal Clinic. The facility was recently robbed, making it difficult to provide help to pet owners and pets that need assistance the most.PHOTO: mzwanele mkalipi

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The staff at Mdzananda Animal Clinic were left “shaken” after the facility was robbed.

This incident marks the second robbery of an animal clinic in Khayelitsha within two weeks.

Harare police spokesperson Capt Siyabulela Vukubi said the incident occurred on Wednesday 6 May at about 08:30.

“It was alleged that four suspects, of which two of them were armed with firearms, entered the premises and demanded cash. They managed to rob R200 in cash and four cell-phones and three laptops,” he said.

Vukubi said no shots were fired and no one was injured during this robbery.

According to reports, the thieves forced their way in when a staff member opened the pedestrian gate to hand a big dog back to his owner after receiving treatment.

The robbery follows hot on the heels of SA Mast Animal Clinic robbery, in G Section, about two weeks ago.

Suspects in that robbery were also brandishing firearms and took the safe and cellphones of the staff.

Marcelle du Plessis, fundraising and communications manager, said everyone was “quite shaken” and “nervous” about the ordeal.

Du Plessis said they were already working under so much pressure.

“To reduce the risk of infection, we have our staff split into two teams, working on a rotation system. This means a half team working with just as many animals as before lockdown,” said Du Plessis.

“We are already all enormously stressed. We also receive angry phone calls, emails and social media messages from people complaining that we are not getting back to their correspondence fast enough, but we are doing the best we can.

“And now this happens. It is truly just heartbreaking,” she said.

Du Plessis said the staff was nervous that it could happen again because of the current desperation and situation in the community due to lockdown.

She could not say if they were targeted as animal carers as they did not have “too much knowledge on other industries being robbed”.

“But Animal Welfare Society was also robbed four times in lockdown, so it is definitely a possibility,” she said.

Du Plessis said the facility was last robbed in November 2018, but said it was “unlikely that there will be arrests” as there was no evidence left behind.

She believes the area is safer than many areas in Khayelitsha, but at this time it is definitely less safe in general.

“We really encourage the people of Khayelitsha to start speaking up. Many people know of criminal activities happening but, out of fear they can’t speak up.

“We understand the fear and danger but if we never speak up, things will only get worse.

“Call out the criminals. If everyone does this, things can start getting better,” said Du Plessis.

Police are currently investigating a case of business robbery, Vukubi confirmed.

But it has been indicated that the organisation will undergo a process of upgrading the security at their facility.

“This will be a large expense,” says Susan Wishart, general manager at the clinic.

“We would like to reconfigure our cameras and get a security guard at our gate. We would also like to alter our gate to include a smaller ‘dog gate’. Pets can then be placed through this gate so that we do not need to open our pedestrian gate.

“However, the reality is that we will have to open our gates at some point during the day to let our staff vehicles and our ambulance in and out,” said Wishart.

If you are able to help the organisation with the added expenses of upgrading their security system and replacing goods, please make a donation to Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Standard Bank, Account number: 075595710, Branch: Rondebosch, Branch Code: 025009, Savings account, Reference: Robbery +Your Name.

You can also sign up as a monthly donor on www.mdzanandasecure.co.za or visit their website on www.mdzananda.co.za.

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