A local charity trying to raise money for animals with special needs was robbed Saturday after someone broke into their storage unit that housed donated items, according to a police report filed by Carol Ferebee, co-director of Paws and Claws.

Paws and Claws Outreach is a local non-profit animal rescue that survives on donations and support from the community.

Ferebee said Saturday one of her volunteers went to their storage building behind Riverside Convenience on U.S 70 West to retrieve novelty license plates for a yard sale the charity was having that day.

The volunteer couldn’t get the lock to open and noticed that a new lock was on the door. After having to break the lock with bolt cutters, she noticed that three boxes, each with 100 aluminum embossed license plates, were missing.

According to Ferebee, no one knows what happened to the 300 novelty license plates, and nothing else was taken.

“We were going to sell these for $2 at the yard sale, they retail for $10. This money was going to our “special needs fund,” for animals with disabilities,” said Ferebee.

Most of the money raised for Paws and Claws goes toward the spay/neuter program, and Ferebee was really disappointed that this extra money won’t be there for animals with special needs.

“We were going to buy a wheelchair for a dog,” said Ferebee. “The wheelchairs cost anywhere from $100 to $200.”

Ferebee believes it was someone that knew the plates were in there. She spoke with the owners of the storage property and they told her no one else reported a break-in.

“There is only a circle of five that have access to the unit,” Ferebee said, “and someone took the time to put a new lock on the door.”

Ferebee says on top of the loss for the special needs fund, Paws and Claws will now have to look for a new storage unit.

“It is totally disappointing that anyone would steal from a charity,” Ferebee said.

Folks with any information about the stolen novelty license plates are asked to contact The McDowell County Sheriff’s Office at 652-2235.

If you would like to make a donation to Paws and Claws Outreach, contact Carol Ferebee at 460-4897.