Following the devastating violence and looting which took place on farms in Chinoyi / Doma / Mhangura areas (in Mashonaland West Province of Zimbabwe), our National Co-ordinator and Chief Inspector, Meryl Harrison, met with relevant authorities and despite being warned that we would not have much succes, received authority for SPCA Inspectors to rescue any animals left behind when farmers fled their homes.

Accompanied by two armed policemen, the Rescue Team moved onto the farms on Tuesday  14th August 2001. On the first two days, 15 dogs were rescued. Several showed signs of having been beaten, the worst being "Nandi", an elderly and very gentle and affectionate Blue Heeler whose jaw was broken. Her home had been completely ransacked and burnt. The rescue team found her in the remains of the shower, Meryl was moved to tears when she first saw Nandi - she was completely traumatised, her eyes frozen in terror. She was succesfully operated on by a wonderful vet from Chinoyi, Rob Gordon, who reported that there was scarcely a place on her body that was not bruised. Sadly, another dog from the same farm was confirmed as being shot dead during the looting. Very worrying was the absence od Nandi's daughter, "Khanya" and her eight six-week old puppies, which were reported to have been distributed to the looters.

On the second day, the team found "Tuff" (anything but) the Ridgeback. The team had spent ages searching the homestead and surrounding area, calling and whistling to Tuff. At one point, Meryl said she stopped and asked herself if she were a dog where would she hide, and she decided on a clump of banana trees at the bottom of the garden. She walked around the trees, again calling and whistling to no avail. The team had just decided to move on to the next farm, when who should creep out of the banana trees?  Tuff - bewildered, but unharmed. I suggested that they rename him "Smart".

The rescues continued but the team were only given permission to go to the "resettlement" areas to look for  Khanya  and her puppies and other missing dogs on 21st August. Everyone was ecstatic when the team returned with Khanya and 6 of the puppies. They also found "Zulu" that day, a stocky Ridgeback X who the "settlers" had tried to use for hunting game and he had been badly gored by a warthog. He had been left untreated for several days and there was considerable tissue damage and infection but Dr Gordon managed to remove the dead tissue and patch him up nicely.

By the end of August, 43 dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, ducks, 2 Egyptian Geese and 3 Laughing Doves had been rescued, including another 6 male Ridgebacks: "Barney & Ben", "Scamp", "Sergeant", "Tux" and "Hughgenic" - and a female Ridgeback, "Cider", as well as a Ridgeback x Rotty "Jimbo".

"Sergeant" had a broken front leg after being caught in the "crossfire" of rocks and bricks being hurled. A strapping young Staffy was also rescued with an axe imbedded in his back - it is a miracle that his spine was not severed!

When Meryl left Chinoyi to return to Matabeleland, there were still 5 dogs missing, including 2 of the Blue Heeler puppies. One of the dogs, a black Labrador was presumed dead as he was reported to have been very severly beaten.
Today Meryl is on her way back to Mash West to the Beatrice area, where a farmer has been arrested for setting "gun-traps" and injuring a settler. There are reported to be about 10 dogs at the homestead and neigbouring farmers are not being permitted to feed them.

We are most fortunate indeed that we are able to go into areas that nobody else can, and for the most part, the police have provided armed escorts.

The Zimbabwe National SPCA would be very appreciative of any contribution towards their efforts. The major expenses are fuel, drugs and food for the animals.

Nandi was found in the shower
Nandi had a broken jaw
Nandi's home was ransacked
Blue Heeler pups
Rescue team at work
These dogs had been attacked with an axe
Your donations can be sent to:

USA                                        Marilyn Murphy
                                     15830 Softwood Road,
                                                   Elbert, CO 80106, USA

Germany                     Badische Beamtenbank Karlsruhe
                                     PLZ 660 908 00  Kt-nr: 13107396

Netherlands                Zim Rescue, ABN AMRO, Herkingen

Australia                      Westpac Banking Corporation
                                      Buderim, Qld, Australia
                                      account name: Animal Rescue
                                      branch: (BSB)  034 243
                                      account nr: 149 163      

This page was last updated on: February 27, 2004

Meryl Harrison                                       and her team of the SPCA
Recently  (Febr. 2002) Fox became the latest victim of the political violence sweeping the country. Only 3 months old, this small brindle bitch was brutally stoned by a mob of political youths. Her owner rushed his puppy to the SPCA Mobile Clinic that was in the area at the time.
The staff of the Mobile Clinic realizing how serious Fox's injuries were, contacted the staff of Seke Road Kennels and a vehilcle was sent to collect the pup and bring it straight to the SPCA. But little Fox was already dying, her spine had been badly smashed by the rocks and stones thrown at her. Shorty after admission Fox died.
As it was dark before the trucks arrived, the rescue team returned at 6.30 am this morning to start rescuing the pigs. Meryl has been witness to what has been done to the worst cases she has ever had to deal with. Meryl gave a graphic description of an absolute animal welfare nightmare. Dozens od pigs had died and the starving surviving animals were feeding on the rotting carcasses. Some bodies were so decomposed that they disintegrated when the team tried to pick them up. In the middle of the mayhem, a sow was trying to give birth next to dead animals. A large sow which Meryl thought was sleeping in a feeding trough had died where she lay. Many piglets were so weak that they just fell over when they tried to walk.

To compound matters, workers refused to help with the loading and released pigs to make life more difficult for the team. Meryl called for assistance from Harare SPCA who sent 6 kennel hands. The ZRP did their best to keep the settlers/farm workers at bay whilst assisting with capturing and loading. It was a painstaking process as the truck could not get near the piggery. The pigs were loaded into the back of Meryl's van, then transported to the waiting truck.

The farm workers became disgruntled and pulled down the loading ramps. After intense and unfruitful negotiations, Meryl finally offered the workers Zim $ 5.000 to help load the pigs. This was agreed to and loading recommenced, but Meryl reported that the workers manhandled the ailing animals terribly, picking them up by their tails or a leg and flinging them into the truck. She bit her tongue as she knew that is she challenged anyone, they would not be able to rescue any more pigs. As is was, the workers then stopped and said that they would decide which animals would go and they were going to keep the healthy animals for themselves. Meryl had to agree in order to get all the sick and injured animals out. Then the workers said the rescue team could only take 100 animals. They announced that they had loaded 100 animals and demanded their money. Meryl paid it over but was informed by the truck driver that only 84 animals had been loaded- her objections were fruitless and they had to leave with the animals that they had.

She is making arrangements to return with about 15 armed policemen and more helpers and trucks to collect the remaining animals.

One of the neglected farm horses.
9th april 2002
In the Featherstone area, a farmer was chased off his farm and had to leave 5 horses behind. Shortly after he fled, a foal was born and the farmer was unable to monitor the condition of the mare and the newborn. Last weekend, under the cover of darkness, the farmer returned to the farm and was able to remove 4 of the horses, including the mare and the foal. To his horror he found that the young animal had a snare deeply embedded around its neck and due to lack of food and water, the mother had no milk. He called in the ZNSPCA who were able to remove the snare. Antibiotics are being administered and he is now being bottle-fed. His life hangs in the balance but everything possible is being done to ensure his recovery. The farmer wanted to name the foal Meryl but as it was a colt, he has been called Merlin and the mother has been re-dubbed "Meryl"