The Toronto Humane Society is asking for help from the community after an animal rescue van was stolen by thieves who broke into its facility Monday night.
Security video shows two men using a pry bar to open a back door leading to the garage of the River Street facility around 11 p.m. on Nov. 28. They spend hours inside the building, and are seen walking around the garage stealing items before driving off in a van used for rescuing animals.
“This van was more than just a van, it’s a mobile lifesaving vehicle that brings animals to safety for the opportunity of having a second chance,” said Hannah Sotropa, assistant manager of communications with the Toronto Humane Society.
“This van also brought supplies to communities, like food to provide their pets with, supplies for veterinary care, or bringing animals to the ICU or emergency room.”
The Humane Society adds it was recently deployed to Pearson International Airport to rescue a puppy with a broken leg, and a senior dog with medical complications.
No people or animals were injured during the theft, but the stolen vehicle is estimated to cost between $40,000 and $50,000. Other equipment stolen from the facility is valued at another $10,000, says the Toronto Humane Society. Stolen items included an industrial pressure washer, a shop vacuum, walkie talkies and wire cutters.
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Toronto police confirm they are conducting an investigation into the incident.
“It was absolutely infuriating to see, especially on the eve of Giving Tuesday – a day that is meant to give back to non-profit organizations,” said Sotropa.
Since the story was made public, the community has stepped in to help. More than $90,000 had been raised by Wednesday evening to help the Toronto Humane Society replace their stolen equipment and improve security measures at the facility. Sotropa says any additional funds raised will go towards daily operations and helping animals.
Donations to this cause can be made at www.torontohumanesociety.com/breakin.
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