When vandals broke into the Flora Shropshire Animal Shelter in January, Animal Control Officer Allen Fryman said the offense was a “slap in the face.”
Fifteen animals along with numerous bags of dog food, cat food, treats and cat litter were taken during what Fryman said was the worst break-in he had ever seen.
There’s not much that can sweeten that sting, but one could argue that an outpouring of community support comes pretty close.
“Harrison County is a great community,” Fryman said almost two weeks after the break-in.
He was standing next to a heaping mound of donated dog food.
Fryman said numerous groups and individuals stopped in to bring in donations, groups raised money and many people from out of town called to check on the shelter.
Fryman shuffled through pages and lists of those who donated. He’s kept a list of donors so each can receive a ‘thank you’ note.
One of those groups was the students at Harrison County Middle School, who collected over 500 pounds of food for the shelter.
A group from the high school donated as well.
An anonymous person put up a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the arrests of the individuals responsible for the break-in.
And all those people who had adopted animals from the shelter in the past, Fryman said, have returned to donate to the facility and the animals still in the shelter.
“It’s just been great,” Fryman said. “The county has been great and the community has been great.”
While Fryman said the shelter will always need food and supplies, the overwhelming amount of donations allowed the shelter to take care of the animals after supplies were stolen during the break-in.
“It made that transition period a lot easier,” Fryman said.
And for Fryman, knowing there is a community that supports the shelter and the job he does each day, is the greatest personal gift.
“When people come in with donations, it just makes you fight even harder for the shelter,” Fryman said.
There is strength in numbers, he said.
“As a team, we can do a whole lot of things.”