Dear Family and Friends,
I am delighted to be able to tell you that my new book: “Innocent Victims,” has just been published by Merlin Unwin Books in the UK.
Innocent Victims is the story of how Meryl Harrison rescued thousands of animals stranded on farms during Zimbabwe’s land invasions. In her sixties and with a heart condition, Meryl travelled with one or two young SPCA Inspectors and together they faced mobs of men who were often drugged or drunk and almost always armed with weapons ranging from sticks and stones to guns, knives and whips. Meryl drove thousands of kilometres to remote and abandoned farms; she and her colleagues went into “no-go areas” and faced war veterans, secret police, army and youth militia; they dismantled road barricades and went to places which even the Police said were dangerous and unsafe. There wasn’t an animal too big, small, slippery or furry for Meryl and she rescued cats, dogs and goldfish. She and her team caught pigs, sheep, cows, goats and chickens. They saved horses and ponies, duikers and sable antelope and intervened on behalf of lions, hippos and ostriches.
For some the heart of Innocent Victims will be in Marmalade, the cat rescued from under the bath; for others it may be in Bokkie, the dog on Roy and Heather Bennett’s farm who won an award for “his exceptional bravery and loyalty to his owner and his family and his courageous action that saved their lives.” Or maybe it will be the little un-named piglet which Meryl popped onto the floor of her truck while mobs of men raged, shouted and threatened all around her.
All of the stories in Innocent Victims are the original first hand accounts taken from Meryl’s personal diaries. Some of the rescues are gruesome and heartbreaking but others tell of great courage, ingenuity and joyous reunions. All tell of the extraordinary dedication and deep passion shown by one woman for the lives of many thousands of animals. Innocent Victims is the story of an unsung and reluctant hero in Zimbabweâ€™s darkest of times.
Thank you for your support of my writing and for reading this letter, love cathy. 22nd February 2009.
The Alvarez-Galloso News Hour recommends “Innocent Victims” with Five Stars.