Truck for animal shelter thrift store stolen this week in Port St. Lucie

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - A group that rescues dogs and cats needs your help.

"As you can see we have a lot of furniture here and it's gonna cripple us," says Bill Paterson, a member of the Board of Directors for Dogs & Cats Forever in Fort Pierce.

The shelter runs a thrift store in Port St. Lucie which includes furniture such as sofas and tables. All of it is donated. The furniture is brought to the store by a moving truck which also delivers the items after they're sold.

The truck was donated about two months ago by Tropical Self Storage in Stuart.

"Someone came and relieved us of the truck," says Paterson.

Paterson says the truck was stolen some time between Sunday and Tuesday. It was locked and parked outside the thrift store on SW Bayshore Boulevard.

Port St. Lucie police say it may be connected to a burglary at K&M Electric Supply about one mile away. 

Electrical wires worth $15,000 were stolen.

"Something that I think is shameful and disgusting," says Paterson.

Dogs & Cats Forever runs solely on donations and the profits from the thrift store.

"Each sale here at the thrift shop, every penny of it, goes to the animal shelter," says Paterson.

The no-kill shelter in Fort Pierce has about 250 dogs and cats.  The shelter is run entirely by volunteers. But caring for these homeless animals is expensive.

"Our vet bills are high," says Paterson, "The food is high."

They want to expand by building a new wing for cats. But the loss of this truck will set them back.

Paterson has one message for the culprits.

"Do the right thing," says Paterson, "Put the truck back."

Since the truck was stolen, the group will have to rent other trucks for pick-ups. That includes a large donation of dog food in Vero Beach on Friday.

For more information about the group or to help out you can click on their website:

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