Khayelitsha animal clinic robbed at gunpoint
The Mdzananda Animal Clinic based in Khayelitsha was robbed at gunpoint earlier today. This has resulted in even more emotional and financial stress over and above their lockdown difficulties.
“We keep our gates closed during lockdown to reduce people coming on site and spreading the Coronavirus. We take pets at the gate - most small pets can fit through our gate's bars. The only times we open the gate is to allow a big dog in or out, for goods deliveries and our vehicles,” says Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Manager.
The robbery occurred when a staff member opened the pedestrian gate to hand a big dog back to his owner after receiving treatment. This is when a group of armed men pushed through the gate.
Three of the most essential laptops were stolen along with three staff cellphones. The takings box, containing all funds collected in the day from food sales and consultation fees, was also taken. Luckily, the robbery took place in the morning and only a small amount of sales had taken place so far. Flatscreens were also stolen. The organisation was starting a process of taking their paper admin system onto a computer system for easier and more accurate record keeping.
“We are all shaken,” says du Plessis. “We are already working under so much pressure. To reduse 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. We are already all enormously stressed. We also receive angry phone calls, emails or 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,” says du Plessis
The organisation will undergo a process of upgrading the security at their facility.
“This will be a large expense,” says Susan Wishart, General Manager. “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.”
The organisation closed their doors for the day. Staff members said that the worst of all was that they had to turn pets away. “There was a queue of people who wanted help for their pets today. Puppies coming for essential vaccinations, life threatening emergencies and more,” says du Plessis. “We are very grateful to SA Mast, another animal clinic in Khayelitsha, for offering to help. We directed all our clients to their organisation for the day.”
The clinic will reopen on Thursday the 7th of May, just one day after the robbery.
If you are able to help the organisation with the added expenses of upgrading their security system and replacing goods, please made a donation to Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Standard Bank, Account number: 075595710, Branch: Rondebosch, Branch Code: 025009, Savings account, Reference: Robbery +Your Name.
SnapScan and other donation portals can be seen here.
“We would like to thank all our loyal supporters for always being there for us,” says du Plessis.
Photo: Nick Bothma / EPA