Annie Lancaster, founder of the Mojave Desert Animal Rescue, has worked diligently over the past two years to collect donations to help pets of the homeless, infirm, unemployed, and low-income seniors of California. She had acquired hundreds of pounds of food, as well as bedding, clothing, medication and tents. But all that was taken away when burglars broke in twice in a matter of hours.
“We had basically everything you need to own a pet and anything you need to survive as a human being,” Annie said
Thieves cut the chain link fence and pried open the MDAR warehouse door on Sunday morning. They came back to finish the job about three hours after the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department finished taking their report on the first burglary. They also stole from a house on the property, and made off with a backhoe, which was abandoned about a half mile away after a tire was flattened.
Annie was distraught when she discovered everything that was missing – dog food, bedding, clothing, toiletries, certain medications and tents – about $10,000 worth of donations. Cat supplies were discarded, however. A person in need contacted Annie about a sleeping bag on Monday, and she painfully had to turn them away – there were none left.
“How do you do that to people?” a tearful Annie asked. “Whoever did this was born without a soul.”
She has spent years building up the trust of homeless people in an effort to help them and their pets. Annie is worried that all her hard work and dedication with them and donation collections will be for naught.
“[What] people don’t seem to realize about homeless people, is they take incredible care of their animals,” she said. “They’ll go hungry to feed their own animals. That pet is their everything. It’s their heart, it’s their best friend, it’s their confidante.”
She knows that the person(s) responsible knew they were stealing from a non-profit rescue group, because the MDAR’s signs were thrown about, and raffle tickets scattered in the field. They ate non-perishable people food stored there, leaving behind empty containers. What wasn’t taken was vandalized.
“I’m hoping somebody saw something, because whoever did this, if they’ll steal from people who are homeless, and their pets, what else would they do?”
Now Annie and the pets of the Mojave Desert desperately need help. While day time temperatures can be pleasant, the nights are cold – sometimes even cold enough to snow. Money, (pet) food, new and gently used tents and sleeping bags would all be greatly appreciated. Warehouse space is also needed for storage.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Apple Valley Sheriff’s station at 760-240-7400. Those wishing to help Annie may visit the MDAR site at: http://animalresq.org/