Animal shelter searching for stolen dog set to be adopted

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By Taylor Riley

The Henry-Trimble Animal Shelter and authorities are looking for a man who broke into the facility on Monday night and stole a dog waiting to be adopted.

Irene, a border collie, who was set to be adopted by an elderly couple from Florence on Tuesday, was taken around 10 to 10:30 p.m. Monday.

One suspect, a man wearing a hoodie and baseball cap, was captured on security video taken by the shelter. Daniel Flinkfelt, animal control officer for the county, said he and another employee came in on Tuesday morning to find Irene missing from her kennel. Walking outside, the two shelter workers noticed that the outside portion of the kennel was damaged with bolt cutters, and the dog was gone.

Flinkfelt called the Henry County’s Sheriff’s Office, which looked over a grainy surveillance video that showed a man with a mask attempting to cut the kennel wire and smashing the cage with his shoulder. The unknown male grabbed the dog and ran into the wooded area around a nearby farm.

Officer Chase DeWitt said the sheriff’s departmentidentified a pickup truck, pulling in and out of the parking lot of the shelter, in the video. The owner of the truck was later dismissed as a suspect due to having an alibi, said DeWitt.

Irene, a little over a year old and a stray that was found sprayed by a skunk, was picked up recently by the shelter wandering down Highway 421. The couple who signed on to adopt Irene located her on the shelter’s Facebook page. The seniors met the dog on Monday, fell in love and left her with the shelter to receive vaccinations and to get spayed.

“The most heartbreaking part has been when I had to tell them the dog was stolen,” Flinkfelt said. “They’re heartbroken, devastated.”

Flinkfelt and DeWitt do not believe the dog will be harmed, but Flinkfelt is worried if the man can’t afford the $100 adoption fee, he won’t be able to take care of basic needs.

“It’s just sad,” Flinkfelt said.

Flinkfelt addressed the Henry County Fiscal Court Tuesday, saying he had filed a report but that evidence was difficult to process due to the old video system. Flinkfelt asked the court to consider purchasing newer equipment in the future.

The shelter was approved to receive new equipment, and the court committee will meet to discuss finances and purchase options before finalization in front of fiscal court.

If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of Irene or the man who took her, please contact the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at (502) 845-2909.