04 February 2006

USPCA van out of action after rock attack

Belfast Telegraph

By Fiona McIlwaine Biggins
04 February 2006

A USPCA vehicle was out of service for 24 hours this week after a boulder was thrown through the windscreen during a call in Belfast.

Around £300 worth of damage was caused to the van on Thursday afternoon while the animal welfare officer was away from it, helping the PSNI during a call to a house at Unity Flats in the city.

During a previous visit to the property a police officer had been bitten by the family's dog.

The USPCA had been called in to look after the pet during the follow-up call.

After completing the visit, they returned to find that a crowd had gathered around the vehicle and that the windscreen had been smashed with large rock.

However, when the police requested witnesses to the incident no one came forward.

A spokesperson for the USPCA said they believe that they were targeted because they were assisting the PSNI at the time.

"This has happened two or three times and as a charity focused on the welfare of animals we must now use some of our resources to foot the bill of around £300 to repair the damage to the vehicle.

"At one time we were seen as an impartial organisation, like the Ambulance or Fire Services.

"But social attitudes are changing to us all now."

The animal charity said it would like to see the culprits identified and made to pay for the damage they have caused.

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