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Posted by W von Papinešu on January 10, 2003 at 20:17:26:
In Reply to: Press: Snakes alive - thanks to your funding posted by W von Papinešu on December 31, 2002 at 20:36:00:
EVENING CHRONICLE (Newcastle, UK) 02 January 03 Vandal blow for pet carers
An animal charity has been dealt another blow after struggling to get back on its feet.
Vandals smashed their way in and stole from a veterinary ambulance belonging to the Reptile Trust, the North East charity that re-homes unwanted and neglected exotic pets.
The ambulance, used to treat hundreds of animals each year, was parked outside the charity's re-homing centre, in Busty Bank, Burnopfield, Co Durham, on Monday.
Public donations have just saved the centre from a cash crisis which threatened to close it. Staff are now struggling to get the van back on the road for emergencies.
Peter Heathcote, the charity's chief executive, slammed the attack on the Renault van, clearly marked as an ambulance. He said: "It is a heartless act and very disturbing people are out there who would do something like this."
Police are investigating the theft which left the driver's window smashed and wiring wrecked. A radio was stolen.
The incident is the latest blow to hit the charity, facing its busiest time with floods of calls from people worrying how to cope with their exotic pets.
Over the past 12 months the charity has taken in a staggering 500 reptiles and has just weathered a financial storm caused by spiralling costs.
Staff have also been kept busy over the festive season with dumped pets and floods of calls from people worrying about how to care for exotic pets.
However, the centre's fortunes were turned around after generous Evening Chronicle readers were among those who helped raise £56,000.