by Ann Fowler
What type of animals would steal from an animal sanctuary? Certainly not the four-legged kind. The Austin Zoo is offering $5,000 to find out.
On the night of July 3, burglars stole cash, two laptops, an ATM, a safe, and equipment used to monitor and care for zoo animals, including a tranquilizer gun.
And then there’s the damage. Patti Clark, the Zoo’s director, told the Gazette, “The burglars pried open file cabinets in our offices and smashed one of our Admissions cash registers. They damaged gates and doors to gain access to the property and Gift Shop.”
Fortunately, all of the animals are fine as the burglary was confined to the Gift Shop/Admissions building, although a trio of rescued felines that live in the building were “clearly quite scared,” according to Clark.
Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary is a private, non-profit zoo, that is home to more than 350 animals representing a hundred different species. The Zoo’s mission is “to assist animals in need through rescue, rehabilitation and education.”
All told, the Zoo suffered more than $25,000 in losses. Insurance will cover the damaged gates and doors, but likely not the damaged and stolen equipment.
But for the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary, a silver lining has appeared in an outpouring of support as word of the burglary spread. Clark said, “The response from the community has been amazing! Currier Lock and Safe in Buda has donated several hours of labor every day since the burglary rekeying all buildings on the property and working on obtaining and replacing all locks. Dyezz Surveillance is donating a complete security system for the entire Zoo. Get an Edge Up is donating file cabinets. 3M is donating file cabinets. We have had individuals donate tablet computers and laptops, a file cabinet and a safe in addition to cash donations.”
And then there is this fundraiser:
Chili’s is holding a fundraising night and will be donating 10 percent of all sales—dining in, takeout and gift cards—on the evening of July 17 from all of its Central Texas stores when customers bring in the announcement flyer or tell their server they are there to support Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary.
• A Zoo volunteer set up a Go Fund Me page: http://www.gofundme.com/b28mq8.
Clark said, “I’d like to add a huge thank you to everyone who has donated, offered to help in any way, and come to visit us to show their support of our mission to assist animals in need through rescue, rehabilitation and education.”
The Austin Zoo is located at 10808 Rawhide Trail in Austin. Find out more about the Zoo at http://www.austinzoo.org/.