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Police probe break-in at shelter

February 24, 2012
By AMANDA WHISTLE , The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - As the Regional Animal Shelter prepares to open its annex after a city partnership was formed last summer with the group, city police are investigating a break-in at the nearly completed shelter.

On Feb. 17, police took fingerprints from the site and are awaiting results from the state police lab.

Shelter representatives said about $500 worth of tools, which belonged to contractor Mike Darling - who has been donating his time working on the structure - were stolen.

Article Photos

Police are probing a break-in at the Regional Animal Shelter’s Gloversville annex, shown this morning south of the Gloversville Transit Building.
The Leader-Herald/Richard Nilsen

Capt. John Sira said the break-ins may be part of a string of burglaries within the past week to 10 days police are investigating. Sira said police are investigating six or seven break-ins, mostly at non-profits in the city, where small items were stolen.

He did not want to release more specific information as the investigation is ongoing.

"Based on some of the information we're receiving, and the investigations, we're pretty sure it's the same person or persons that are doing these acts," Sira said.

He said police couldn't say for sure the person who broke in at the shelter was the same person responsible for other break-ins, "but there could be a logical link," he said.

Shelter representatives said the burglar threw a brick at a plexiglass window. The brick did not break the window, which was donated, but instead knocked the entire window out of its frame.

On Sunday during the day, a white man with a medium build was seen on surveillance footage inside the fenced-in area. Someone had unsuccessfully tried to pry open the padlocked door of a shed on the property. Nothing was stolen from that attempted break-in.

In the meantime, Regional Animal Shelter President Robin Markert said though the process of getting the shelter open has taken much longer than anticipated, the only work left is painting and putting a protectant seal on the concrete so it can be washed effectively.

Eight dog kennels and 20 cat kennels have been installed in the shelter.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio said at the shelter group's monthly meeting Tuesday the drop doors also are installed for the kennels, and outdoor lighting is on an automatic setting.

The group is working on securing an American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals affiliation. After years of fundraising, it has begun logging its property on Maple Avenue in Johnstown in preparation of a main regional shelter.

An anonymous $20,000 donation in May 2007, along with about $10,000 worth of labor from Department of Public Works employees, paid for construction of the original 16-by-36-foot unfinished shell that sat vacant until June south of the Gloversville Transit Building.

The city now has an agreement with the Regional Animal Shelter to lease the group the property for $1 annually. In return, the group will provide sheltering service to the city for $1 annually.

Currently, the city contracts with Dr. Peter Bluvas. The city still would need to keep a contract open with a veterinarian in case sick or dangerous animals are picked up by the animal-control officer.

According to budget figures, the city paid $21,679 for sheltering and vet services in 2011.

"We just need to get that shelter done. It will save the city money no matter how you look at it," Anadio said.



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