01/05/2014 07:06 EST | Updated 03/07/2014 05:59 EST

BC SPCA Robbed Of Holiday Donations, Cash


QUESNEL, B.C. - An SPCA animal shelter in northern British Columbia is starting the new year without its yearly round of holiday donations after a weekend robbery.

Someone broke into the shelter in Quesnel, located more than 400 kilometres north of Vancouver, between Saturday evening and Sunday morning, said manager Colby O'Flynn.

The cats and dogs at the shelter were unaffected, said O'Flynn.

O'Flynn said a staff member arrived for work on Sunday morning and noticed a chill in the air. The worker quickly saw that a window had been kicked in and the shelter's offices had been trashed.

"They were able to kick the bars off a window and ransacked the shelter, throwing everything everywhere, digging around trying to find the money," O'Flynn said in an interview.

The area of the shelter that houses the animals is behind an alarmed door, which wasn't opened, she said.

O'Flynn said she was waiting for permission from the RCMP to enter the building to assess what had been stolen, but she said the cash registers were emptied and the donation boxes were gone.

The shelter could be out more than $1,000 — money that would have paid for veterinary procedures, she said.

The shelter is asking for the public's help — both to find the perpetrator and to help replace some of the donations that were stolen.

"To lose $10 as a non-profit is devastating, so even if we lost $1,000, it's going to be very difficult for us," said O'Flynn.

"We're hoping for information (to solve the robbery), and also to try and recoup those funds that were taken to get us that extra money to start off the year."

Still, O'Flynn said the shelter is reluctant to ask people who have already donated to give even more money.

"The fact that the money that was already donated was stolen is heartbreaking, because a lot of people who donate don't have the extra funds to do it, but they do it out of the kindness of their heart," she said.

"So to ask them to donate again is not something we want to do."

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