Volkwyn 'had a special bond with dogs'

2015-05-13 19:54


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Cape Town - A 61-year-old man who shot himself after a stand-off with police was known as “the dog whisperer”, neighbours say.

Now the dogs who apparently meant the world to Michael Volkwyn have been handed over to the SPCA.

The engineer committed suicide on Wednesday as police made their way into his Athlone home after over 12 hours of negotiating.

Crowds of bystanders lined the usually quiet street and as the drama played out, locals cashed in by selling crates to those struggling to see into the cordoned-off road.

At the scene, his sister Diane told reporters he had shot himself as well as one of his dogs.

This after a police officer was shot and injured during a raid to remove Volkwyn’s dogs from the premises on Tuesday evening. The officer is in a serious condition in hospital.

It is understood that the dogs had attacked a former tenant who had been trying to collect the last of her belongings from Volkwyn’s property. The woman laid charges with the police and law enforcement officers requested police assistance to remove the dogs.

Shots were fired from inside the house shortly after the convoy identified themselves.

The officer is in a serious condition in hospital.

The dogs are now at the SPCA’s Grassy Park premises.

Volkwyn had taken in numerous strays roaming the streets, a resident told News24.

“While his people skills were non-existent, Mr Volkwyn had a special bond with dogs. They flocked to him,” he said.

But his pets - which totalled 13 - were known to be aggressive towards those who came to close to the man’s Albermarle Street home, others say.

“Most people avoid even walking past his house because of his dogs,” another man said. “Those brakke [pavement specials] are ruthless. There have been numerous attacks ranging from minor to major. But nobody ever took him on about it.”

Volkwyn was not a very sociable person, residents agree, with some describing him as a recluse.

His interactions with neighbours were “never amicable”, a nearby homeowner said.

“Everyone knew him as the man who allegedly shot Herschelle Gibbs’ mother with a homemade crossbow. That was enough reason for most of us to steer clear of him.”

Volkwyn was reportedly arrested in 2000 on an attempted murder charge after he allegedly shot at Barbara Gibbs with a crossbow. Charges were later dropped due to a lack of evidence.

His home is separated from hers by two streets and a railway line.

“The scene [15 years ago] was similar to what played out here today - cops, guns, the works,” the homeowner said.

“But while Mr Volkwyn wasn’t the most pleasant or liked person, he was extremely intelligent and respected in this community. It is sad that this had to happen.”

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime  |  animals

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