A container at Bay of Islands Animal Rescue, in Kerikeri, has been raided by thieves, who helped themselves to a month's supply of animal food.
Bay of Islands Animal Rescue has taken in more than 200 puppies, a couple of hundred cats and kittens, and other animals, in the last eight weeks alone, as well as looking after pets in the community pets, founder Summer Johnson saying the food would have filled a lot of mouths.
"A month's worth of cat and dog food was stolen while the rest of the stuff was trashed," she said, adding that precisely what had been taken had yet to be established. She couldn't bear to check the container herself.
"We have been really busy, and honestly, it is heartbreaking to go near it," she said.
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Johnson believed the thief or thieves had entered the property from a neighbour's driveway. A bigger chain and a padlock had now been acquired.
The theft had prompted "huge" community support she added, with donations of pet food, kennels and other essentials. Two people had installed CCTV cameras outside the building, at no charge, while New World Kerikeri had chipped in with a $500 gift voucher.
Johnson said she could not bear to check the container for what the robbers might have taken and what it meant for the animals.
This wasn't the first time the charity had been targeted by thieves. In January a sick 10-week-old Staffordshire-cross puppy by the name of Gus was stolen from the animal rescue van in Kawakawa, the fourth time the charity had been stolen from in the previous 12 months.
The van had been "cleaned out" twice, thieves taking food, flea treatment, "absolutely everything."
Gus' story had a happy ending, however, the puppy being returned none the worse for wear.