BROOKSVILLE, Fla. - Someone broke into the Humane Society of the Nature Coast in Brooksville and stole just about everything; dog and cat food, generators, cleaning supplies, lawn equipment, and even toilet paper. The shelter was left with barely a week's worth of food for 160 animals.
That is, until the community stepped up to make things right.
The sight outside the Humane Society Tuesday was overwhelming. A mountain of donations piled higher by the minute. Just 24 hours earlier, it was a much different story.
"Everything was taken, towels, generators, a grill, all of our lawn equipment, dog food, cat food, puppy food," said Susanna Arneson, Humane Society of the Nature Coast's director. "It was tears of desperation to tears of joy."
Monday morning, shelter staff realized that someone had broken into their storage barns overnight.
The list goes on: hand sanitizer, dish soap, toilet paper, gas cans, dog collars. 90% of their supplies were ransacked. The thief or thieves parked on Wiscon Road and cut through a chain-link fence. They even took the hose right off the spigot.
"Everything was gone. So, we had about a week left of food," Arneson said.
The Humane Society put out a plea for help. Tuesday morning, help began to arrive, bag by bag. Lowe's replaced all of their lawn equipment. And, by the end of the day, online donations topped $23,000.
"We feel truly blessed and we feel so lucky to be part of this community," Arneson said.
Joseph Reyes, a retired police officer, adopted two of his cats from the shelter. "Don't hurt a child, don't hurt an animal because those are two things that are purely innocent," Reyes said.
He stopped by twice on Tuesday with donations.
"I saw people at the worst and to see people at their best, especially during a national scare like this COVID-19, it restores your faith in humanity," Reyes said.
Thanks to a lot of humanity, the shelter's supplies are once again, full.
"In this time of uncertainty, they wanted a little bit of hope and they shared it with us and we are so thankful," Arneson said.
For anyone else who'd like to help, Arneson said the shelter could use more puppy pads and of course, food.
So far, there have been no arrests. If you recall seeing vehicles parked near the Humane Society, Sunday into Monday on Wiscon Road, call the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.
For information about adoptable pets at the Humane Society of the Nature Coast, or to make a donation, visit https://humanerescue.org/.