Ther­apy for Volk­wyn’s trau­ma­tised dogs

Cape Argus - - NEWS - Gadeeja Ab­bas STAFF RE­PORTER gadeeja.ab­[email protected]

FROM be­hind his ken­nel at the So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals (SPCA), one of Michael Volk­wyn’s dogs was hes­i­tant to be coaxed out with his favourite treat.

He had wit­nessed his owner shoot him­self fol­low­ing a tense stand-off with po­lice at his Athlone home last month.

The re­tired me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer had locked him­self in his house with his 13 dogs po­lice were try­ing to re­move.

The stand-off was sparked by one of Volk­wyn’s ten­ants lay­ing a com­plaint against him af­ter be­ing at­tacked by one of the dogs. Ten of the 13 ca­nines were re­moved. “The dog that is sus­pected of at­tack­ing the backyard ten­ant was put down be­cause he dis­played se­vere ag­gres­sion,” the SPCA’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Al­lan Per­rins said yes­ter­day.

Per­rins, who was present dur­ing the in­ci­dent, said his main con­cern was the safety of the an­i­mals who had watched on as Volk­wyn put the gun to his head.

“There were Spe­cial Weapons and Tac­tics teams, po­lice he­li­copters, loud speak­ers and flashes go­ing off ev­ery­where. He (Volk-

WHEN THE DOGS WERE BROUGHT TO THE SPCA CEN­TRE, SOME HAD WET THEM­SELVES AND WERE SHIV­ER­ING

wyn) bar­ri­caded him­self in his house with high walls. There was no es­cape for those dogs.”

De­spite this, Per­rins said in­spec­tors had no trou­ble col­lect­ing them but, when they were brought to the SPCA cen­tre in Grassy Park, he found that some had wet them­selves and were shiv­er­ing.

“I do think that th­ese dogs were pin­ing for their owner; they were griev­ing in their own way.”

The dogs are be­ing kept in sep­a­rate ken­nels and are un­der­go­ing be­havioural as­sess­ments. They are also re­ceiv­ing spe­cial at­ten­tion from ded­i­cated an­i­mal care as­sis­tants.

Per­rins re­vealed that a care as­sis­tant was at­tacked by two of the dogs whose fate will be determined by the SPCA’s an­i­mal ethics com­mit­tee to­day.

“I think those dogs suf­fer from post trau­matic stress but here are dogs that I be­lieve do not have a mean bone in their body.”

PIC­TURE: TRACEY ADAMS

NO MEAN­NESS: An­i­mal care as­sis­tant Emile Rezandt with two of the late Michael Volk­wyn’s dogs, which were given the green light to be adopted.

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