NEA Humane Society broken into, 600 pounds of pet food stolen - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

NEA Humane Society broken into, 600 pounds of pet food stolen

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Thieves targeted an unlikely place when they broke into the Northeast Arkansas Humane Society in Jonesboro.

The thieves first tried to enter the building by tearing into the roof in the back of the facility, located at 6111 E. Highland. When they could not gain access that way, they kicked in an exhaust fan, climbed into a storage room and took no animals – just hundreds of supplies.

The suspects stole somewhere between 600 and 700 pounds of pet food as well as approximately 200 pounds of cat litter, cleaning supplies, paper towels and even a washer and dryer.

Based on the amount of supplies that were stolen, Margaret Shepherd, the humane society's executive director, said there's no way that only one person could have done all this.

"It's really terrible," Shepherd said. "This one little girl just did a big fundraiser, a donation drive for us for her birthday, and all those things were taken."

She said the shelter had stockpiled all the bags of food so that it could open a pet food pantry for pet owners in need. She planned to open the pet food pantry next week but will now have to delay that until they can replenish the supplies.

"it was kind of hard to look at," Shepherd said when asked what she thought when she saw the storage room for the first time. "That room had just been filled to the top back there [with supplies], and over half of the things back there were taken."

To replace everything that was stolen, she put out a call for help for supplies on the humane society's Facebook page.

"Within 20 minutes, we had hundreds of people who had seen and shared our post," Shepherd said. "People made promises of donations and volunteering, everything we need to replenish those supplies."

Just a day after the humane society reported the break-in, donations have poured in. People have brought everything from pet food to paper towels as well as monetary donations. Someone has even donated a new washer and dryer to the shelter.

"The phone's been ringing off the hook," she said. "My cell phone's been ringing. It's really heart-warming that the community has come out to back us up on this."

What the shelter needs more than anything right now is pet food, paper towels as well as some other specific pet items.

"We really like the Fresh Step scoop-able cat litter – they took all of our supply of that," she said. "We've had a donation to replace our washer and dryer this morning, so we're good on that. [We need]  any type of cleaning supplies from Lysol and Clorox wipes, anything we would use for cleaning."

Kelly Guertin, a longtime supporter of the humane society, showed up Wednesday with a carload of supplies after seeing the humane society's Facebook post about the break-in.

"I just couldn't believe that anything like that could happen to a shelter," she said, "so I just started getting ready, heading out and loading up."

Guertin hopes other people in the community will feel compelled to help out the shelter in this time of need.

"We have a great humane society," she said. "We are very fortunate to have this facility, and without people in Jonesboro's help, it can't keep going."

The humane society is unsure who broke into the building, but Shepherd suspects it may have been someone who's been to the shelter before because so few people know about the storage room in the back.

"We used to use that room for a completely different purpose," Shepherd said, "and then our vision at the shelter was to turn that into our supply room and the pet food pantry. Not very many people really knew we were going on with that because we have not announced our pet food pantry yet, so it had to be somebody who knew that room held those supplies."

She now plans to add new security features to the facility, including an alarm system and video surveillance, so that the supplies and pets are better protected.

"This could have been a lot worse situation than just losing supplies," Shepherd said. "Other shelters have had pets go missing that it was suspected they went to people who fought dogs, and these dogs from the shelter were used as bait dogs. So we're very fortunate none of our dogs were taken."

Shepherd encourages anyone with information about the break-in to contact Jonesboro police.

If someone would like to donate items to the shelter, they can drop them off at the NEA Humane Society or at the Vetcare clinic located at 619 W. Parker Road.

The owners of MySafe Place Tornado Safe Rooms are also planning a supply drive to benefit the humane society on February 1. People can drop off items at the business located at 4014 Southwest Drive starting at 10 a.m.

If someone would like to contact the NEA Humane Society, call 870-932-5185.

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