Animal rescue needs help after robbery

The Animal Rescue Organisation was robbed on Friday January 22.

The Animal Rescue Organisation (ARO) in Ottery has launched a public appeal for help after a robbery.

According to ARO spokeswoman Teagan Schwerin, six armed men entered the administration office posing as customers on Friday January 22.

“The criminals armed with a 9mm pistol and shotgun rounded up all the staff while they cleared out and damaged property before getting away with office and clinic computers, cellphones, and personal belongings of the staff,” she said.

“They ripped out all the cabling to the switchboard and security cameras. The costs to recoup what has been taken and damaged is excessive for an animal welfare to replace.”

The organisation is appealing to the public for help to replace the stolen equipment and upgrade security.

“We have had an outpouring of sympathy from our donors and the clients that make use of our services.”

Staff had been left feeling vulnerable and scared for their safety, but were being helped by a trauma counsellor, she said.

“It is unthinkable that an organisation that dedicates all its efforts into helping sick and suffering animals in the poorest communities could be a target.”

Philippi police spokesman Captain Lance Goliath said the robbers were still at large and anyone with information was asked to come forward.

Anyone with information about the robbery can contact investigating officer Sergeant Ayanda Tolbard at 021 690 1517 or 073 532 3865.

For more information, or if you want to assist call 021 396 5511, email or visit