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Thieves target Cumberland County's animal shelter

L.A. animal shelter volunteer Tiffany Lowe holds Mama, one of the shelter’s cats, by the front door and office on Wednesday morning. The shelter was broken into overnight, with $2,000 worth of money and gift cards stolen.
L.A. animal shelter volunteer Tiffany Lowe holds Mama, one of the shelter’s cats, by the front door and office on Wednesday morning. The shelter was broken into overnight, with $2,000 worth of money and gift cards stolen. - Andrew Wagstaff

$2,000 in cash, cheques, gift cards stolen in overnight break-in

NAPPAN, N.S. – Homeless animals were victims of a break, enter and theft here last night, leaving volunteers with the L.A. Animal Shelter amazed at how low people can sink.

Shelter manager Tara Gould and kennel keeper Tanya Teed arrived around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday to find the door to the building wide open. The glass in the door had been smashed, and someone had also broken into the office, taking thousands of dollars worth of cash and gift cards that had come in over the holidays.

“We’re just wondering what kind of person would do something like this,” said Terri McCormick, president of the shelter.

Staff and volunteers were on hand Wednesday morning, cleaning up the mess and assessing the damage. None of the animals at the shelter were missing. An RCMP officer had already been on the scene to investigate.

McCormick estimated about $2,000 taken in the theft, along with some antibiotic medicine for animals that had also been in the office.

She said it was a huge blow to the shelter, both financially and emotionally. They went from a high of seeing so much generosity from the community in the form of donations at Christmas time, to the low of seeing it all stolen overnight.

“We’re always kind of on the edge… trying to keep the doors open, literally,” she said. “A huge part of our funding comes from charitable donations, more than what we get from the county and the town combined.

This would be cheques we get from people at Christmas, money, gift cards… it’s really heartbreaking,” she added.

The break-in happened at the Smith Road shelter sometime between 10 p.m. Tuesday and 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Because the door was left open on a night that saw temperatures drop as low as -20C. As a result, the building’s oil furnace had to work extra hard, and a quarantine room for sick cats that had been closed off to the rest of the building had become so hot it was like an oven, according to one worker.

“The kennels were hot to the touch,” he said. “Those cats could have died of heat exhaustion.”

McCormick is urging anyone with information about the crime to report it to the police.

“If anybody had a beef with the shelter and suddenly has money, or somebody tells somebody something, please come forward to the authorities so these people, whoever it was, can be caught,” she said.

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