Cameras and a burglar alarm were not functioning when the Columbus County Animal Shelter was hit by thieves Tuesday.
Three dogs — including two owned by Shelter Manager Loretta Shipman— were stolen, along with around $300 in cash and the catalytic converters from two trucks.
The shelter security system was installed after a previous break-in where cash, drugs, account books and a laptop computer were stolen.
“The cameras were never hooked up,” Commissioner Rickey Bullard said. “We put the money in the budget for the security last year, but the system was never completed.
“We want to find out why.”
Sheriff Jody Greene said the security system would have captured images of the suspect or suspects, had they been functioning.
“There was no power to the cameras,” Greene said.
Entry was gained after someone cut the fence, opened a back door and then kicked in two interior doors.
Greene and Bullard said two small dogs owned by Shipman were being boarded at the shelter while she is on medical leave. The shelter previously had a policy against boarding animals except in extreme weather events, and only then on a very limited basis. Bullard said he did not know why the exception was made for Shipman’s dogs. The puppy that was stolen was a hound mix that was available for adoption, according to a volunteer group that handles rescues for the county.
Greene said the shelter still uses paper receipts and records for adoption fees. The cash was in a bag in an office, Greene said.
The sheriff’s office is investigating the theft.