Yesterday VAWZ lost their fight to prevent the 15 puppies and the adult Boerboel bitch from a hellish journey to the Congo, final destination - a pet shop. This after 3 days of harrasment, intimidation, and threats of arrest by the driver and the owner's "connections", who managed to convince the Police, Zimra and "our attorney", that VAWZ had confiscated the puppies so that they "could sell them to their friends and make lots of money".
A charge of theft was made against Meryl at Borrowdale Police station, she was continually phoned by CID & eventually went voluntarily to the Police on Friday morning, where they finally admitted she did not have a case to answer.
The owner's "representative" went to the VAWZ office in a very threatening manner - when told that the owner could be charged under the Cruelty Act - stated "never - he is untouchable".
The puppies were then moved out to The Friend Foundation, where staff there were also subjected to threats of arrest & intimidation if they did not hand the puppies over - they were brilliant & stood their ground.
When VAWZ contacted the private vet in South Africa who had signed the health certificates - he said that he was not at all surprised to receive a phone call from Zimbabwe, & had been expecting it. The vet said that he had been reluctant to sign the papers knowing the puppies were going in a vehicle to the Congo (a distance of 2,776ks) - but said the owner's representatives had been harrassing his staff for the paper work.
A senior Govt vet who is responsible for issuing all Permits for the movement of dogs in and out of Zimbabwe, when shown the photos of the vehicle and the pup's travelling conditions - supported the action that VAWZ had taken in removing the puppies, and said that "the vehicle was totally unsuitable".
Unfortunately another Govt vet told the Police that VAWZ did not have the right to confiscate the puppies as "they were in transit"??
Finally, at midday on Saturday after VAWZ Inspectors had managed to get the accused to pay an Admission of Guilt fine (for Cruelty) at Mabelreign Police station, the Police informed Meryl that they were now in charge of "disposing" of the dogs & they were accompanying the driver out to the kennels so that they could be handed over to him. When Meryl protested, Police said they would then " take her back" to Borrowdale Police station.
VAWZ Inspectors watched with very heavy hearts as the pups were loaded back into the same truck, the Beorboel bitch literally being thrown in the back - at one stage the driver taunted them by waving the puppies in their faces.
VAWZ would like to thank all those wonderful folk who contacted them offering the pups a home in Zimbabwe - they received over 200 emails, phone calls & phone messages, also appreciation & thanks to those people who dropped of donations in cash & kind. - Just too many to reply to individually.
Our thanks too to Chisipite Vets for treating & looking after the pups for their first 2 nights in Zimbabwe, & also to Christine, Marylou & staff at The Friend Foundation who even under severe pressure, especially on Friday evening when we had a "stand off" situation at the kennels - refused to hand the pups over - even though the Police had been brought there by the driver.
Finally our Thanks to the Police at Beatrice who actually apprehended the driver at one of their road blocks, & facilitated the confiscation of the puppies at the Police station. They asked us to prepare our docket in order for the case to go to court.................but that was not to be due to interference from "interested parties".