Thieves target animal rescue group

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- The dogs at HALO Animal Rescue in Phoenix are spending more time in their cages this week after their play area was destroyed by thieves.

Staff arrived Saturday morning to find the rescue's truck, which was parked in the play area, had been stolen. The thief or thieves used the truck as a ram to break down the fence and get away.

"It looks like they hot-wired the truck, revved it up, and then smashed down the fence gate," said Guillermo Lopez, who was first to find the damage. "It's really hard, because not only did they steal our only truck, but they ruined the play yard for the dogs."

The no-kill, nonprofit shelter adopted out more than 3,500 cats and dogs in 2011. Most were about to be euthanized at other shelters.

CEO Heather Allen said the truck was the main means of gathering animals.

"The vehicle means everything to us," Allen said. "It literally means animals might die because we might not be able to get to them in time."

Days before the truck theft, the rescue's cash donation box was also stolen. Two men walked in, pretending to be interested in adoption. After filling out paperwork, one grabbed the box and took off.

HALO Rescue has been saving cash for a move. Grand Canyon University purchased the rescue's property, which will force it to relocate in about 15 months.

For more information, or to help HALO, you can check out the organization's website,

A benefit for HALO will be held Friday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. in Studio 3D, located at 1625 E. Jefferson St. in Phoenix. Tickets can be purchased at