Berea community outraged after beloved dog walker is attacked
Durban - Residents living in and around Durban's Berea area have expressed outrage after a well-known and loved dog walker was attacked last week and accused of stealing dogs.
Since Wesley Chingwe's attack, residents have called for tolerance in the community.
Chairperson of the Umbilo Executive Community Policing Forum, Heather Rorick Roos, said last week Chingwe, a Zimbabwean national, was attacked while walking two dogs in the Musgrave area.
She said, according to Chingwe, this was not the first time that he was accused of stealing dogs.
"A man, driving a bakkie, stopped at the side of the road and manhandled Wesley. He accused him of stealing dogs. He did not even allow Wesley to speak or explain. He continued to rough-handle him," she said.
She said one of the dogs that Wesley had been walking, ran home and the owner became suspicious.
"The owner called Wesley and he told her what was happening to him. The man then let Wesley go, got into his vehicle and drove off," she said.
Rorick Roos said Wesley told her that this happened to him a few times before.
She said many people were familiar with Chingwe and he was a friendly face in the community.
"He has earned the name of 'The Dog Walker' and regularly walks more than one dog at a time. His affection for dogs shines through when you interact with him. He knows each one by name and takes his time grooming and caring for them," she said.
She urged people not to assume matters as it could get an innocent person seriously hurt or even killed.
"Please, if you see Wesley and the dogs, say hello. Have a chat and get to know him. You may even consider hiring him to walk your dog," she said.
Residents also took to social media to share messages of well wishes to Chingwe:
Denise Carrick: “Hello Wesley. We love having you in the area. It always makes me happy when I see you around wearing colorful clothes and a beautiful smile. You are an asset to our community.”
Lisa Shannon: “That made my heart very sore his love for those dogs is evident in his face for someone with good intentions to be victimized like that is heartbreaking.”
Muriel Kirkwood Deysel: “That’s sad seen him in area. He wonderful with the dogs. Far away see dogs are comfortable with him not scared at all. Terrible.”