Durban - A Durban animal sanctuary is being targeted by criminals – and in the latest incident, an arsonist set fire to a storeroom containing thousands of rands worth of animal feed, blankets and equipment.
Mazarat Farm, in Brackenhill Road, Waterfall, has suffered major losses in the past three months, with water pipes stolen and property damaged.
The farm is more than 35 years old and is home to 60 rescued dogs, 20 cats, rabbits, ponies, pigs and chickens.
Owner Anne Carkeek said that shortly before Friday’s fire, farm manager Roy Fox was checking on the dogs when he spotted a prowler on the property.
Carkeek said Fox alerted security, but the man disappeared.
A few hours later, Fox was woken by the sound of shattering glass.
An iron pipe had been smashed through his bedroom window.
Fox then noticed that the storeroom was on fire and alerted the fire department.
He attempted to put out the flames with buckets of water, but the fire was burning out of control.
None of the animals was injured. Carkeek said that the kennels were situated some distance from the storeroom.
This was not the first time the farm had come under attack.
There had been multiple thefts and incidents involving vandalism in recent months, Carkeek said.
“For some reason it has really intensified over the past three months. Water pipes from the cottage have been stolen. We are not sure what else they have taken.”
Carkeek said she had no idea why the farm was being targeted or who the culprits were.
The response from the community since the fire had been overwhelming. More than R20 000 has been given to the farm.
Residents had also contributed food, blankets and equipment.
“We are so grateful to the community and everyone else who has helped us in this time of desperate need,” Carkeek said.
“People have donated a lot. The generous donations have also helped us install a new alarm, which we hope will be a deterrent to thieves and vandals.”
Police were investigating charges of malicious damage to property and housebreaking, said spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker.