Animal clinic staff beaten and robbed at gunpoint

Mdzananda staff were busy building a fence for Khayelitsha residents who wanted to adopt a dog

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Magcinandile Mzondi was one of the staff members beaten and robbed at gunpoint. He is recovering from the attack. Photo supplied

Staff members of the Mdzananda Animal Clinic were assaulted at gunpoint and robbed on Wednesday while in Mandela Park, Khayelitsha, building a fence at the home of people who wished to adopt a dog.

A statement by the clinic explained that their staff were installing the first fence in an initiative called “The Fencing Project”, for a dog named Speedy. Four staff members – Mthobeli Mgumane, Magcinandile Mzondi, Tabo Noko and Lynton Adams – were held at gunpoint and assaulted; two of them were left seriously injured.

The incident comes a few days after the clinic celebrated its 27th birthday with a dog show that was a hit with Khayelitsha residents.

Marcelle du Plessis, of Mdzananda, said “one staff member was hit on the head with a gun and a hammer; another one was hit repeatedly in the back with a hammer”. They were robbed of their tools, wallets, cellphones and car keys.

“We had to rush the staff off to the hospital … We also need to cover medical costs,” said Du Plessis.

The clinic will also need to buy new tools.

When asked if the Fencing Project will continue, Du Plessis said, “We are really scared to go out and do this again. It might mean that we need to hire an extra security company to go with us, but this is of course a very big expense.”

Du Plessis said that even though they are shaken at the moment, this will not stop them from continuing their work.

General Manager Heidi May, who is Lynton Adams’s partner, said working in Khayelitsha is hazardous. It was not an isolated incident. Staff have been hijacked and robbed three times this year.

May said, “The fencing project will have to resume but we will need to look at alternative security measures for this as well as our mobile clinics.”

Du Plessis said they had reported the incident to Harare SAPS, but that they hadn’t received a case number. “We’ve been trying to call them, but they are not answering.”

We emailed the SAPS spokesperson on Thursday and received no response. We called three numbers for the Harare police station; none were answered.

Speedy had been in the clinic’s care for two years. “We were so excited that Speedy would finally get a home,” said Du Plessis. “Sadly now, because there isn’t a fence, he has to stay with us even longer because his adoption process has been delayed.”

TOPICS:  Animals Crime

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