NewsHillsborough County


Suspects turn off power to animal rescue, leave 80 cats without air in Plant City

Posted at 12:20 PM, Jul 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-16 17:56:45-04

A Hillsborough County animal shelter and rescue was broken into over the weekend, losing out on thousands of dollars of equipment. 

The owner of Raining Cats and Dogs Shelter & Sanctuary Laura Santo tells ABC Action News the suspect or suspects tampered with the security motion lights on the outside of the property so they could not be seen. 

A Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputy responded to the sanctuary off State Route 60 in Plant City on Sunday where they found the thieves gained entry by prying open a garage door. 

Santo said they had tools, a riding lawn mower, a brand new dog crate and several other things stolen.

Along with a damaged garage door, Santo said that the suspects removed two portable A/C units from the back end of the home.

Santo said the temperature got above 80 degrees because of the two units that were taken.

The worst part for the non-profit was several of the cats got out through those open windows where the units were taken from; however, all have returned.

According to the deputy's report, a face plate for a TECO power box was also removed and the power meter was taken. 

In a Facebook post, Santo wrote saying they were vandalized and needed help immediately: 

We've been robbed and vandalized! It happened sometime after 9 p.m. last night. I just checked on the animals and everyone is okay, since they were not able to get inside. They took something from our electrical box so we have no power and no way to keep the air conditioning running today. They took our brand new dog kennel that was still in the box. there's a picture of it below if you see anyone trying to sell this please call the police immediately! They damaged our garage door so we can't even get it open. What kind of evil loser would damage an animal shelter? We need help today!

On Sunday, volunteers came to help Santo, and an anonymous donor gave the rescue two portable window units for air conditioning. 

Santo's estimates she lost out in $5,000 worth of equipment, tools and damages.

If you have any information, contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.