With the help of the police, VAWZ intercepted Alvaro Machado’s van in Beatrice two weeks ago as he made his way to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“We got calls from people who heard the puppies barking incessantly in the panel van,” VAWZ chief inspector Meryl Harrison said.
She said this was cruelty to animals at its worst as Machado wanted to cross three borders from South Africa to the DRC with the puppies in a vehicle that was unsuitable with no ventilation .
Harrison said her organisation was disappointed that the police, who were usually very cooperative, joined for-ces with Machado in fighting against them such that they even questioned her in relation to a trumped-up theft charge Machado pressed against her.
“We had a lot of interference in this case,” Harrison said. “I had police arresting me in connection with a theft case he opened against me at Borrowdale Police Station. I got calls from people from Zimra and had one man called Steve, who only identified himself as an interested party coming to our office to make all sorts of threats.”
Machado told The Standard crew that he had dual South African and Zimbabwean citizenship but had not been in the country for many years. Dual citizenship is illegal in Zimbabwe.
He accused Harrison of wanting to steal his dogs. “I have inside information that she had already found buyers for my dogs,” claimed Machado. “Someone from her organisation told me how this nasty woman abuses her position to sell other people’s animals and chickens.”
He said he had all documents from the South African side and from DRC and had been allowed through Beitbridge and past many police roadblocks.
Machado said the puppies, including a German Shepherd pure pedigree and a Great Dane, cost around US$3 000 each. But Harrison disputed this saying the puppies were poorly bred and would cost between US$100 and US$400 each.
The police later allowed Machado to proceed with the dogs in the same vehicle, much to the disappointment of Harrison and her team.
Efforts to get a comment from police spo-kesperson Superinte-ndent Andrew Phiri were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.