Citizens of a small New Hampshire community rallied around their local shelter this week in the wake of a shocking crime. Security cameras at the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire caught fuzzy images of a burglar looting more than 500 pounds of dog and cat food from the shelter’s pantry.
He left only a single small bag of kitten food behind.
One stroke of luck is that the shelter stores their canned food supply inside during the winter months, so it was not stolen. However, the outdoor pantry serves more than just the shelter. The donations of food they collect are distributed back into the community to assist needy residents in caring for their pets.
In a touching display of support, the local community purchased and donated more than four times the amount of food that had been stolen by 4 P.M. the next day! That’s more than 2,000 pounds of kibble!
The rescue wrote on Facebook:
A day that began with sadness and shock, ended up filling our hearts over-the-top! We were confident we would replace the stolen food, but your support—the support from our community—far exceeded our wildest expectations! We are overwhelmed by the generosity of hundreds of people.
Maureen Prendergast, director of outreach and investigations for the Animal Rescue League, states that about 20 to 30 families receive food from the pantry at any given time. Some just need brief support through a difficult time, while others require long-term aid.
Prendergast says that the service also helps prevent animal cruelty, neglect, and abandonment in the community. Shelter President and CEO Monica Zulauf told the New Hampshire Union Leader:
These are animals that if this program wasn’t here, they would be being surrendered to shelters or eating food they shouldn’t be eating.
The thief has not been caught, and his motive is still unknown. The staff suspects that he may intend to sell the food and treats, according to Prendergast. The blurry video captured by security cameras does not allow for a facial identification of the suspect, but he was wearing jeans and a blue hoodie, and driving a dark blue sedan.
Zulauf and Prendergast are asking the public to keep an eye out and contact the Bedford police at 603-472-5113 with any information.