Vandalism turns ‘disturbing’ as Playcentre pets savaged
The kids at Titahi Bay Playcentre have been left wondering about the fate of their pet guinea pigs – but the likely truth is too much for even their parents to fathom.
Going by the remains of the animals – which were swiftly removed from the sight of children last Monday morning – the ripped-open roof of their cage, and the gnaw marks on its exterior, it appears someone has entered the backyard of the Playcentre and fed the pets to their dog.
There is no way a dog could have tornoff the roof of the guinea pig enclosure by itself, says Playcentre mum Sharon Hilling.
‘‘It’s disturbing, you can see they’ve come through the gate and opened [the cage] up for dogs to get in at them. Someone had to let the dogs at them.’’
The cage door had been padlocked, necessitating the forced entry through its roof. Ms Hilling says neighbours of the Playcentre heard dog noises in the area late at night over the weekend.
The children have been told the guinea pigs died, but not how.
‘‘We had to tell them something. We told them someone let them out and they died. It was really lucky it was an adult who found the bits.’’
Ms Hilling says the children would cuddle the guinea pigs when they felt sad and for many it was their only opportunity to have a pet. The loss has hit them hard.
‘‘We’re reconsidering having pets here in the future, it’s really traumatic. The kids say, ‘Where are the guinea pigs?’. They’re really upset about it . . . If we get more we’d have to have someone take them home.’’
There is no vehicle access to the Playcentre at weekends, the gate to its shared driveway with Titahi Bay School being locked. The Playcentre itself is fenced, but the public can access the playground through a side gate.
Even if that was padlocked, the fence wouldn’t stop somebody who really wanted to get inside the grounds, says Ms Hilling.
Weekend vandalism at the Playcentre has become a regular frustration in recent months, she says. A double sink was stolen over Christmas, while a paint can left outside was opened and flung about the playground.
If anyone saw a person at Titahi Bay Playcentre over March 3 to 4, particularly if a dog was with them, contact Porirua police on 238 1400.
Cage rage: Titahi Bay Playcentre mum Sharon Hilling is struggling to believe someone could provide their dog access to the playground and guinea pig enclosure and let it tear apart the children’s pets.