|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
ZNSPCA July 2005 Update
We were elated to receive the lovely award from Humane Society International for Extraordinary Achievement and Commitment at the Animal Care Expo in April. This recognition has kept our Inspectors buoyed during the period since, which has been a very difficult time for us all. Most of you will have read or heard about recent developments which have left over a million Zimbabweans homeless in the middle of winter with night time temperatures plummeting to nearly freezing point.
Obviously animals are once again caught up in the mayhem following government’s ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ (Shona for “clean out the filth”) and Operation Restore Order and SPCA centres are ‘baby-sitting’ a variety of different animals as their owners try to relocate and rebuild their lives but many are now living on the streets or in the ruins that remain. Another sad but inevitable result, exacerbated by the dire state of the economy, is the surrendering of many animals to SPCA centres and Inspectors.
The situation on farms has settled down somewhat and the focus still remains on the location and recovery of the hundreds of horses which were left behind. However, as political tensions mount, there have been a few further incidents on farms. Belinda, the Chinhoyi Inspector carried out a rescue in the Lions Den area on 21 June after the owners of Friedavill Farm had been forced to flee and left nine dogs behind, mostly Healers, including two of Kanya’s puppies which were originally rescued in 2001 when Two Trees was attacked and Nhandi (Kanya’s mother) was found in ruins.
One of the farm employees is to be commended for his bravery as he found some of the dogs which fled at the time and took them to the owners who had sought refuge on a neighbouring farm. When Belinda arrived at the farm she found three Healers who had remained during the attack and tried to defend the property – ‘Casper’, ‘Heidi’ and ‘Maisie’. Although all were alive they had paid a price for their bravery. Belinda reports that they could not follow her as all were limping so badly. Another employee at the farmhouse reported that the dogs had been locked in the house and beaten. Belinda carried the injured dogs out to her vehicle but she said they were obviously in pain as they all winced and tried to snap at her.
Belinda reports that there was furniture and belongings scattered everywhere and despite there being a lot of people present, she was not prevented from removing the dogs, however the brave employee who recovered the dogs which had fled was chased and threatened whilst he recovered the remaining dogs.
Our small band of Inspectors are still stretched to the limit and we do desperately need to increase the number of Inspectors we have in the field in order to get to all animals in need as well as coping with the increasing demands for assistance being placed on our Regional Inspectors from the urban areas.
An abattoir near Harare was found to be slaughtering animals using a knife and several security companies are being monitored following either impounds or warnings being issued regarding the underweight condition of their working dogs.
Following negotiations, crocodiles on an occupied ranch were released by the war vets and relocated to Kariba.
Ostriches were found to be dying of starvation on a farm in Marondera which had also been taken over. Simon consulted with the previous owner and permission has been obtained for him to feed the birds.
The Inspectors are also spending a great deal of time attending to donkeys and draught oxen in the rural areas who are being heavily relied upon by rural communities who are struggling to make a living or grow crops.
Most of you will have learned that former MP, Roy Bennet whose farm featured regularly in our previous reports, has been released. Unfortunately, another farmer, Phillip Mennie, was attacked in Chipinge on Sunday and received serious head injuries. He was dragged from his vehicle by six men when he stopped at the farm gate and was head-butted, punched, beaten and kicked. The farmer who suffers from glaucoma was unable to see after a sever blow to the back of the head. Two other farmers who tried to rescue him were also head-butted and beaten with sticks. He has been hospitalized in Harare and his condition is reported as being stable.
A current major challenge is a crippling fuel shortage which has grounded many SPCA vehicles and is bringing remaining industry to a halt and will no doubt worsen the current food shortage. Many shelves are bare and mealie-meal (national staple), bread, sugar, oil and of course pet food are all in short supply. Our usual suppliers of vet meds and drugs report that they are unable to import even essential drugs such as euthanaise, vaccines, anesthetics and dewormer as they cannot secure forex from the government.
With ongoing kind support from those who continue to stand by us at this very challenging time, we will keep going and do everything in our power to continue to safeguard the extremely vulnerable animals of Zimbabwe.
I will end off with an extract from a report by the ZNSPCA Regional Inspector for Matabeleland, Glynis, on the situation following Operation Murambatsvina:
“We heard from the public that Killarney and Ngozi squatter camps had been destroyed and we proceeded to load our truck with the necessary equipment - cages, meat and ropes, etc. On arrival in the area we were saddened by the sight of the people sitting amongst the ruins of their homes, holding their pets. Initially, on approaching the people, there was resistance because they did not trust us and didn't want to give us the only belongings they had left that had any worth. After much persuasion and discussion they realised that we were there to help and we documented all the animals and their respective owners.
In two days our team of four collected 155 chickens, 7 cats, 18 dogs, 2 rabbits, 26 guinea pigs and 3 ducks. By the afternoon of the fist day the word had spread and people were running to meet us and set up designated points for pick ups. The squatters became so trusting, handing us there pets not knowing if they will ever see them again. We were all deeply affected by the sight of the owners hugging their dogs and cats and begging us to look after them. One old man brought me his black hen "madam - take care of Peggy for me, please" he said. I assured him that Peggy would be well looked after. The Bulawayo SPCA kennels are now full and we are struggling to feed all the animals. We do not know when the people will reclaim their pets. We can only carry on taking care of them and carry on rescues in other areas”.
By CATHERINE McALOON, Associated Press WriterFri Jul 8, 5:15 PM ET
Jamie Gordon's co-workers have found his cell phone but not him. George Psaradakis survived to tell of his horrific last journey driving the No. 30 bus before a bomb tore the roof off — but others weren't as lucky.
The last time Gordon was heard from was when he called his asset management firm in central London on Thursday to say he was on his way to work aboard a bus.
He's not been heard from since, although his cell phone was found in the debris of the No. 30 double-decker bus that was ripped apart by a bomb in Tavistock.
Police said the bodies of 49 people had been recovered but warned the death toll would rise from Thursday's explosions at three subway stations and the bus.
On Friday, his co-workers posted color photos of the 30-year-old Zimbabwean on trees and walls on the streets around the blast area.
"Please help us find our friend who is missing following yesterday's bombings," the posters read in a scene reminiscent of the desperate search for victims in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States.
"The worst case scenario is that he is dead," said Gordon's partner Yvonne Nash, who used her position with a cell phone network to trace the last call made on Gordon's phone back to the scene of the blast.
"We just have to find him. If he is hurt and on his own in hospital, we need to be with him," she said.
Others set out Friday bearing photographs of loved ones to scour London hospitals treating scores of injured.
A mound of floral tributes, many bearing cards with touching sentiments, grew outside the entrance to King's Cross station, near the site of the worst of the subway bombings. Other bouquets were clipped to metal fencing around the Tube station.
David Webb, 38, was searching for his sister Laura, 29, who hadn't been seen since she left home Thursday.
"We are very upset about her disappearance, and all the options go through your mind ... she may be being cared for somewhere, or maybe she is still underground," Webb said.
Friends of Monika Suchocka were looking for the 23-year-old Polish woman who has been out of contact since calling her accounting office to say her train had been delayed and that she planned to take a bus.
"We just don't know what happened after that," said Magdalena Dondelewska, 24, who was looking at University College Hospital.
Nazmul Hasan was desperate for news of his 20-year-old niece, Shahera Akther Islam, who was on one of the targeted subway lines on her way to her job at a bank and never showed up or returned home.
Calls to her cell phone were answered only by voice mail," Hasan said.
"I am trying to stay as calm as I possibly can, but you only have to see her mother and father to see the pain this has caused."
Others were more fortunate.
Psaradakis, the driver of the bus that was blown up, killing 13, said he was grateful to be alive and with his family.
"I am just relieved to be here," the 49-year-old said. "Many other people have not been so fortunate. I feel for the people who have perished and for their families."
Eaman Spelman counted his blessings, too.
"We were two minutes out of King's Cross (station) and there was a huge explosion with big red flashing lights and the train seemed to sort of dip and come to a halt," he said of his commute to work at the upscale Harrods department store.
Emergency workers who helped 350 injured to hospitals on Thursday, reported that many spoke with accents or in languages other than English and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said people injured in the attacks were not only Londoners, included some from Sierra Leone, Australia, Portugal, Poland, China, the United States and Denmark.
Central London swarms with international tourists during summer months and the cosmopolitan capital is home to many who have moved from abroad.