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WACO

Burglars at animal shelter turn loose dozens of dogs and cats

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WACO -

Burglars who broke into a Waco animal shelter turned loose dozens of dogs and cats sometime late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

An employee at the Humane Society of Central Texas discovered the mess around 4:30 a.m.

"There [were] animals running loose everywhere and at that point he didn't even realize that they had vandalized our A building with all the cats," said Interim Executive Director Don Bland.

The crooks hopped a fence, cut a window screen and slipped inside the window of the cat kennel, Bland said. There they ransacked the building and let at least two dozen cats out of their cages.

"They just opened all the cabinets and cupboards and storage lockers and dumped everything on the floor, just trashed the place," Bland said.

The vandals entered an unlocked side door of the nearby dog kennel and let about 28 dogs of all sizes free, according to Bland, but an outer fence around the perimeter of the property kept the animals from escaping to the street.

"Upset that someone would come in and do that, you know, and have no regard for animals," Bland said, adding that some of the small dogs were "traumatized" being in the same area as the bigger dogs, but fortunately none of them was hurt.

The burglars packed a bag of inexpensive items and tried to make off with it, but Bland believes they might have spotted an Animal Control officer and taken off. The bag was found near the fence in the morning.

 Waco Police collected fingerprints from the window the burglars entered.

Bland said he suspects the burglars are teenagers and not people disgruntled by what he called false rumors about a new shelter policy to euthanize dogs after a 72-hour period.

"If their goal was to free them, they would've opened the gates and let them out," Bland said.

The Humane Society and the City of Waco are finishing negotiations for a deal to create a partnership to operate the shelter together.

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