The Toronto Humane Society says it is heartbroken following the Monday night robbery of a van carrying materials that it says are essential to saving animals' lives.
Security video shows two men breaking into the building's basement garage using a pry bar at around 11 p.m.. They are then seen driving away with the van, which costs between $40,000 and $50,000, according to the Humane Society.
A spokesperson for the organization says the van is an important part of its operation.
"The van is very much more than just a van," Hannah Sotropa said.
"It's a mobile machine, a lifeline."
The organization says the materials in the van are worth another $10,000. They include a plasma cutter, industrial pressure washers and several walkie talkies. In all, the Humane Society says, it amounts to a total of around $60,000 in stolen property. No one was injured, the society says, and police are investigating.
According to Sotropa, the organization relies on the van and its equipment for transporting injured animals in need and providing them with a second chance at life. The van also provides communities, partners and families with pet food.
She says the Humane Society is putting temporary measures in place to protect staff and animals until the organization can purchase a new van and equipment.
The robbery happened on the eve of Giving Tuesday, which Sotropa says makes the incident that much more "sad and heartbreaking."
"But there is a lot of hope," she said.
As a non-profit organization, the Humane Society relies entirely on donations. It has set up a fundraiser to help recover the costs of the robbery and replace the van.
"We know that our community has stuck with us before, and has carried us through every challenge," Sotropa said.
"So we want people to consider how they might be able to make a difference today so that we can continue saving many animals' lives tomorrow and beyond."