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Absolutely NO REGRETS about returning to Zimbabwe

Published: August 1, 2011

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Dear Family and Friends,
This week I asked a friend who had returned to the country after living in the diaspora for a couple of years if she was still glad to be home. She replied: I have had absolutely no regrets about returning to Zimbabwe, its the best thing I have done for a long time (though I am sure that not everyone thinks that!)

I first met Meryl Harrison six years ago, just when she was preparing to leave Zimbabwe. Meryl had risked her life time and time again rescuing the thousands of animals stranded on invaded farms and stuck in the middle of Zimbabwes mayhem. Meryls courage and bravery then put most of us to shame and we watched in awe at what one totally determined and dedicated woman could achieve.

Leaving Zimbabwe wasnt what Meryl wanted to do but was something that a quarter of our population had to do, for all sorts of reasons, as the country collapsed into economic and political mayhem. Coming back to Zimbabwe is a huge decision but for Meryl it was right as it gave her back the ability to really make a difference.

Meryl told me this week about a dog called Miss Muffet, the reason her return to Zimbabwe might not be such a popular move.

Miss Muffet was a three month old Labrador puppy, axed to death one night in late February. She was one of three dogs sleeping in the garage of a house in Penhalonga during an invasion of the farm by a mob of 21. Sleeping alongside Miss Muffet at the time were a female Rottweiler which was stabbed in the spine, and a male Labrador which
was axed three times in the head by the invaders.

Meryl got involved in her capacity with a private animal welfare organization (VAWZ) and she was determined to see justice. Thanks to swift action and skilled expertise of a vet in Mutare, the Rottweiler and adult Labrador were saved. Tragically for Miss Muffet, it was too late for intervention.

From that point on everything about this familiar and tragic story was different.

Meryl described how the Police in Penhalonga acted very swiftly and arrested the invaders. They said the accused were to be charged with Public Violence but Meryl and her colleagues werent satisfied. A long meeting followed and it was eventually agreed that the accused would also be charged under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Then followed eight court appearances, four subpoenas and hundreds of kilometres of travelling between Harare and Mutare. In the VAWZ docket for the court, Meryl included a photograph of a 3 month old Labrador puppy. She told me she did this: so that the Magistrate could see that the puppy would have been absolutely no threat to anyone – at that age, they think the whole world is their friend!

The case finally went to trial a couple of weeks ago and nine of the twenty accused, who were the main perpetrators of the attack on the dogs, pleaded guilty. In mitigation the accused apologized for killing the puppy and offered to replace it. They were sentenced to 18 months in prison, 1 year of which was suspended and the remaining 6 months made up of each being given 140 hours of community service.

For Meryl, seeing justice being done for Miss Muffet, a Rottweiler and a Labrador makes all the effort, frustration and grit worthwhile. There are many people, like Meryl, and many organisations, like VAWZ, working tirelessly out of the spotlight, to bring Zimbabwe back from darkness. In them is our hope. Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy 30 July 2011. Copyright ? Cathy Buckle. www.cathybuckle.com;  AA Papers

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WPSN comments

7 Comments on "Absolutely NO REGRETS about returning to Zimbabwe"

  1. CHANDO KUPISA on Tue, 2nd Aug 2011 7:15 am 

    There are more pressing issues in Zimbabwe,to talk about than these dogs.Nxa.

  2. mandisa on Tue, 2nd Aug 2011 7:39 am 

    surely guys really – m lost for words!

  3. Bla Miki on Tue, 2nd Aug 2011 8:45 am 

    Am just wondering, could these dogs be some of Makwembere’s relatives? Sounds familiar.

  4. somhlaba mthunzi on Tue, 2nd Aug 2011 10:55 am 

    There is nothing to return to ones country but ZANU is the wrong thing.They have this ability to turn things for ther worst anytime. Imagine a group of thugs who have the potential to have the highest inflation in th history of mankind?Soon they will be history and normal people will heard home.But those who thought the situation will always be bad Lo be hold!

  5. JUNGOLAH on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 3:11 pm 

    4show tyme wll come and tell.

  6. Anonymous on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 5:46 pm 

    I still say that Zanu pf Jingle Jangle has that great rhythm and beat and just the best tune to play as the Jongwe and his cronies finally fall into the graves.

    You know who will be waiting, don’t you!

  7. nxa on Thu, 4th Aug 2011 10:45 pm 

    white life is very different from black life.
    We darkies have no relationship with dogs, we care and write about suffering fellow humans than dogs.

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