One dog still missing after break-in at Columbus County Animal Shelter

Two of the dogs that were stolen belonged to the animal shelter’s director, who is recovering from surgery

One dog still missing after animal shelter break-in

COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Two of the three dogs that were stolen from the Columbus County Animal Shelter during a recent break-in have been returned to their owner, according to officials.

The two dogs, Bella and Bentley, both white poodles, belong to Loretta Shipman, the shelter’s director. She dropped the dogs off at the shelter for a foster parent to pick them up to look after them while she recovered from surgery, according to a shelter spokesperson.

The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday received information that the dogs were at a home in the Clarkton community of Bladen County. Investigators picked up the animals from an individual who purchased them, not knowing they were stolen. The dogs were then returned to Shipman.

Staff at the Columbus County Animal Shelter say Marissa is still missing following the break-in.
Staff at the Columbus County Animal Shelter say Marissa is still missing following the break-in. (Source: Columbus County Animal Shelter)

Marissa, the third dog that was stolen, is still missing and is described as a brown lab/hound puppy that weighs between 20/30 lbs.

Staffers said they believe the break-in happened sometime in between 5 p.m. Tuesday and 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The fence around the building was cut and it appears the perpetrator broke in through the back door.

Once inside, the criminal let several dogs out of their cages and ransacked offices. The thieves stole items including a drill, an industrial fan, a water hose, several doses of dog vaccines and approximately $213 in cash.

The crooks also swiped the catalytic converters from three animal shelter trucks and the van of one of the shelter’s rescue coordinators. Now, none of the vehicles are working.

Due to the break in, the shelter is closed for intakes until Monday, except for emergencies.

The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

The shelter does not have security cameras but staff members say they plan to install them after this happened.

If you have information concerning this incident, please contact Columbus County Sheriff’s Office at (910) 640-6629.

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