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NORTH MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Donors and Good Samaritans have stepped forward to help the Humane Society of Greater Miami after criminals vandalized eight of the organization’s nine vans.

The crime temporarily crippled some services for the Humane Society’s dogs and cats because the vans are used to pick up much-needed supplies and transport dogs and cats to medical services.

“It’s overwhelming how the community has come to our rescue,” said Laurie Hoffman, the Executive Director of the Humane Society of Greater Miami. “It is really overwhelming.”

“I think it wonderful,” said pet owner Hedy Gorelick. “This sort of thing should happen more often because of what they do.”

Her husband, James Gorelick, said “It’s a great thing that people step up and help because of all the things they do.”

Hoffman told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that the Humane Society has received more than $3,000 in donations and help from a number of individuals and companies that will enable the Humane Society to recover and get all of its vans back on the road.

“The Triple A auto shop donated all the service parts, the labor and everything to fix the vans,” said Hoffman. “Dolphin Towing donated their services to get the vans to the auto shop. Ryder Systems loaned us vans until we could get our vans back.”

The response from the public comes less than 24 hours after the plight of the Humane Society was broadcast on TV stations in South Florida and after North Miami Beach police released new surveillance tape that showed at least one of the criminals.

The surveillance tape showed a dark-colored vehicle driving up to one of the vans around 1 a.m. at the Humane Society at 161st St. and West Dixie Highway. At least one man is seen getting out of the car. He opens the hood of one van by prying it open.

Then the dark-colored vehicle is eventually seen driving away.

It’s not known why the criminals targeted the Humane Society and police are looking for leads in this case. They are also asking for help from the public.

Hedy Gorelick said, “I think it’s an awful thing what these criminals put the people here through.”

Her husband James said, “It’s terrible to think this could happen at a place like this that helps these pets.”

“It’s devastating that someone would vandalize any business,” said Hoffman. “But we are a non-profit organization that helps animals. There is no reason for it. We need these nine vehicles. Every day, we take the animals to hospital care. Every day we take animals to pet supply stores. We have a pet clinic and a warehouse all the way down south. Every day these vans are on the road.”

Hoffman said the vans have not been vandalized before.

“They took the batteries,” she said. “They took the cables and they cut them. They damaged locks and hoods. They made the vehicles inoperable.”

“Now from such a sad day yesterday to today,” she said. “What a difference a day makes.”

Hoffman hopes the criminals will be caught.

“The cops are looking at the tape and studying it and hope to find out who did this,” she said. “To me there is no reason to hurt anybody’s business, any charity and no animal should ever be hurt.”

Anyone who can help police should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).

Peter D'Oench

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