Friday, July 1, 2011

Thieves steal AC unit from shelter, putting animals at risk

Posted By on 07.01.11 at 01:31 PM

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  • Image by spotreporting via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
This week thieves stole an industrial air conditioning unit off the roof of the Animal Welfare League's intake facility at 62nd and S. Wabash, endangering the lives of hundreds of animals just in time for a super-hot holiday weekend. The incredibly thoughtless . . . people also damaged a second unit, rendering it unusable. Now the League's hustling to find as many fans and extension cords as possible to cool the spacious facility and hopefully ensure that the dogs and cats inside spend the Fourth as comfortably as possible.

According to Bridgid Nolan, a volunteer with the Trio Animal Foundation, restoring the units will cost at least $20,000; the facility will also have to install fencing to prevent a repeat attack. "It will be difficult to take the money set aside for operations for the animals and put it toward the units," Nolan says. "We'll have to come up with something pretty quickly." Because there are no windows, the facility is "stagnant" and humid, she adds.

How did the thieves pull off their cruel caper? Nolan believes they found their way onto the roof of a taller, abandoned building next-door, then "hopped over" onto the League's roof—avoiding barbed wire placed along the perimeter, some of which remains bent over from an earlier break-in, Nolan says. "It's super-scary to think they could have come in and gotten to the animals."

This morning Nolan and Trio founder and president Sue Naiden are scoping out the scene of the crime to take photographs and assess the damage. Trio helps cover medical bills incurred by treating animals brought to the facility, including unwanted pets and strays; many of the animals brought to the shelter come from nearby towns where animal control units are nonexistent.

Update: The Trib has a photo of the roof.

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