Thousands of dollars in donations have come flooding in since news spread that someone broke into the La Plata County Humane Society earlier this week, causing an estimated $1,000 in damages and stealing donation money.
“I love this community,” Chris Nelson, director of animal services, said Thursday. “When things are tough, they sure do rally around us.”
Sometime Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, an unknown suspect used a rock to break the front glass door of the shelter, completely shattering it. The person then went inside and broke the cash register, which didn’t have any money in it.
Then, the person stole all of the cash out of the donation box and left the shelter.
Liz Shank, assistant director of the Humane Society, said she discovered the break-in when she arrived at work Wednesday morning.
“We’re all shaken up here,” she said at the time. “We all kind of feel a little violated.”
None of the animals were disturbed, Shank said. But, between the glass door and cash register, there were upward of $1,000 in damages. And, it’s likely about $50 in donations were taken.
The Humane Society’s video surveillance system was down, and no images of the suspect were caught on camera.
Brice Current, deputy chief of the Durango Police Department, said Wednesday investigators will check with neighboring businesses to see if they captured any helpful images to track down the suspect.
Calls to Durango police were not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.
Since the break-in, Nelson said the community has rallied around the Humane Society in a big way.
On top of a couple thousand dollars in donations, several businesses and individuals in Durango have brought in food for staff and volunteers.
“We have felt nothing but love since it happened,” he said.
Aside from replacing the door and cash register, Nelson said the money donated will be used to upgrade the shelter’s security system, which is about 20 years old.
Nelson said the Humane Society has seen an uptick in criminal activity recently. In December, for instance, someone broke into the adjoining thrift store and caused damages. And more recently, a person whose dog was seized threatened to kill the shelter’s staff and release all the animals.
Durango police have increased patrols in the area, and the Humane Society has put up bars on its windows to deter a break-in, but Nelson said the shelter can’t be patrolled 24/7 and needs a better security system, which is expected to cost several thousand dollars.
“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in activity at the shelter lately,” Nelson said. “So we’re upgrading the system no matter what. But the more donations we get, the easier it will be to offset the cost.”
The best way to help, Nelson said, would be donations for the Humane Society, which can be made at https://lpchumanesociety.org or by visiting the shelter.