Therapy for Volkwyn’s traumatised dogs
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.”