Workers at an animal shelter in Schuylkill County said Tuesday they are being terrorized after someone vandalized the shelter and was ready to burn it down.
Folks at the Ruth Steinert Memorial S.P.C.A. near Pine Grove said there is an undercurrent of terror. Beth Hall volunteers her time to the S.P.C.A. "These are animals that deserve a second chance, deserve a second chance and, I mean you know, but I mean Lord forbid if anything should happen to our animals. What we would do?" Hall asked.
The problems began this weekend when someone broke into the shelter, smashed computer screens, a photo copier and ransacked an office. Then shelter employees found tires on several vehicles slashed. Jean Thomas, the shelter manager, said that is when the worry started. "I just wish I knew who it was. I am super stressed," Thomas said.
What really has shelter officials concerned were cans of gasoline which were left in a building used to house equipment. Gas was poured all over too. Thomas believes the would-be arsonists were scared off when the strong smell of gas caught the attention of some employees and they went to investigate.
"That could have been a disaster. Unfortunately the way our buildings are put together they are very close together. If one caught on fire, they all would have caught on fire and we would have lost all of our animals," Thomas added.
She said her family has been taking shifts, sleeping outside at night on the back deck of her home so they can look out on the large area which is the shelter. "It makes me sick to my stomach. I have not slept since this happened and I am so afraid. I am not going to be awake if something does take place. I am scared to death for the dogs and cats that are here," Thomas said.
State police are investigating the vandalism and attempted arson at the shelter.