Victor Maphosa Mash East Correspondent
Police at Juru Growth Point on Saturday arrested the owner of Bally Vaughan Sanctuary Mr Gordon Putterill, accusing him of intentionally hitting and severely injuring a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) employee with his vehicle.
Putterill is said to have hit Lorna Grant with his vehicle over a misunderstanding involving the transfer of his elephant to a rehabilitation centre.
Acting Zimbabwe Republic Police spokesperson for Mashonaland East Province Assistant Inspector Tendai Mwanza confirmed the arrest, which occurred on March 10.
“Members of the police in Juru arrested Putterill for hitting an SPCA employee Mr Lorna Grant who was in the company of Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife officials and had come to transfer a female elephant to another rehabilitation sanctuary,” he said.
“Circumstances that led to the incident are that in October last year, one male elephant at Bally Vaughan Sanctuary got upset and killed Simon Kwirapo who was employed as an elephant handler and this prompted Putterill to kill the male elephant, leaving its female companion in the sanctuary.”
Asst Insp Mwanza said officials from SPCA and Zimparks were advised of the incident and visited the sanctuary.
They agreed on transferring the female elephant to another sanctuary.
“Officials from Zimparks and SPCA on March 10 this year drove to the sanctuary intending to sedate the elephant and transfer it to another centre,” said Asst Insp Mwanza.
“Putterill learnt about the development and drove to the sanctuary with his wife. On arrival he allegedly hit Grant on the knees with his car and he fell down. He sustained severe injuries on his right knee as a result of the fall.
“Putterill was subsequently arrested and would be appearing in court soon for attempted murder.”