Animal Welfare Worker Wounded In Hijacking

Angelique Stanbridge is scheduled for surgery after being shot by hijackers. 

Those who look after man’s four-legged friends are under attack from two-legged thugs.An Animal Welfare Society (AWS) worker will have to undergo expensive surgery after being injured in a hijacking and robbery.

On Monday, two female AWS employees were hijacked and robbed at gunpoint only 800m from their offices in Philippi.

Inspector Angelique Stanbridge, who was driving, was shot and wounded in the arm.

Senior veterinarian and AWS chief executive John McMullen said three staff members were traumatised and given the day off.

“Inspector Angelique Stanbridge and a secretary were heading to the bank with R48 000, the takings since last Friday when they were attacked. The way it all happened, it’s as if the hijackers knew the staff were heading to the bank. The whole incident happened just down the road from our offices. The secretary ran back and asked for help and community members saw how Angelique had lost a lot of blood and assisted,” said McMullen.

Luckily, he said, the bullet went right through and Angelique will have an operation tomorrow.

“Police recovered the work vehicle in Sweet Valley but the money was gone.This was the first shooting incident but our workers are more fearful now,” said McMullen.

Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk said circumstances surrounding the shooting incident were under investigation and an attempted murder case was opened for investigation.

SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abraham said the incident brought back incidents of victimisation that they have endured.

“Everyone of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA’s mobile clinic operators, field officers, collection officers and inspectors have had an experience during this year that left them feeling threatened or uncomfortable.

“We have had incidents of vehicles being stoned, mobile clinics being robbed, smash-and-grabs taking place and staff held at knife and gunpoint.

“The SPCA’s premises have been broken into more times than we can count, goods have been stolen, the buildings damaged and our mobile units have been vandalised on site,” said Abraham.

She said that in another incident, a mobile clinic was hijacked in Nyanga and a female and male member of staff was taken with the vehicle. The vehicle was later recovered and our staff found locked in the cold storage room at a butchery.

Abraham said some staff have been unable to deal with feeling consistently unsafe and had chosen to leave the SPCA.

Tanya Banponder, the coordinator for Stray Animal Care, also speaking for Four Paws Animal Welfare, agreed that animal welfare workers were not safe.

“Anything can happen there is always an element of danger. There is a genuine concern and it’s getting worse, especially in gang-infested areas,” said Banponder.

Police said anyone with any information about the shooting incident could contact Crime Stop on 0860010111.

By:  OKUHLE HLATI/Cape Argus

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