Money stolen from animal shelter

Money stolen from Wareham animal shelter - See Video Below
Funds were to be used for veterinary care

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   Shelter manager Lauren Biagiotti holds a dog Sunday afternoon at A Helping Paw in Wareham, which was robbed of close to $1,000 in a break-in late Saturday or early Sunday. (Photo by David G. Curran) See Curran's video below.

EAST WAREHAM - Nearly $1,000 reportedly was stolen Saturday evening or early Sunday morning in a break-in at A Helping Paw, a private animal shelter in East Wareham.

Shelter president Chrissy Tomkiewicz said most of the money, about $800, was to have been used to pay for veterinary care to get eight animals ready for adoption.

"They took the raffle money, the adoption money, the sales money, the donation jar, they took it all," Tomkiewicz said Sunday afternoon. "This is a terrible blow."

"They took the raffle money, the adoption money, the sales money, thedonation jar, they took it all. This is a terrible blow."
                - Chrissy Tomkiewicz

She said the theft has been reported to the Wareham Police Department, which is investigating.

Tomkiewicz said the thief or thieves apparently got into the building at 3166 Cranberry Highway, just across the Buzzards Bay line in East Wareham, by opening a storm window outside the cat adoption room.

She said a couple of volunteers who were scheduled to come in to clean the shelter Sunday morning noticed the storm window was slightly askew, and then discovered that the money had been stolen.

A Helping Paw is a private animal shelter unaffiliated with the town. The organization, which was founded by Tomkiewicz, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Helping Paw officials already are concerned whether the shelter will be able to raise $30,000 by December to fund its operation for another year. With the slump in the economy, Tomkiewicz said, donations are down.

At present, A Helping Paw is sheltering a couple of dogs and 20 cats, as well as rats, hamsters and ferrets.

Tomkiewicz said the overnight theft is the worst but not the first theft to befall the shelter. Over the years, people have stolen donated Beanie Babies, the coin donation jar, and, a few weeks ago, checks left in the shelter's street mailbox. As a result of the last, the shelter now has obtained a post office box.

People who wish to help A Helping Paw may send donations to Box 387, Buzzards Bay MA, 02532.

Click below to watch the video.

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  The private animal shelter, which is on the Cranberry Highway in EastWareham, has been the target over the years of a series of thefts.

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