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It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year Until Thief Dashes In to Steal Donations and the Till

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Some folks strive to donate to charities during the holiday season: North Texas Food Bank, Salvation Army Angel Tree, Adopt-A-Child. Maybe they even help out a kitty or pup. Which brings us to Second Chance Treasures, the retail offshoot of the no-kill, non-profit East Lake Pet Orphanage (ELPO) housed inside East Lake Veterinary Hospital on Northwest Highway (all of which are run by Dr. Karen Fling).

Maybe you've seen Second Chance's doghouse-like donation drop-offs 'round town, accepting clothing, small appliances and household cast-offs for resale in their Garland Road shop, where proceeds provide medical care, food and shelter for homeless and adoptable animals. The shop even plays house to some of the animals themselves -- right now, three adorable cats.

Last night, my mom and I stopped by Second Chance for a quick run-through before it closed. I found a few things and went to check out, running to the car when I realized I'd forgotten my wallet. When I stepped back in, a store volunteer offered to show me some new stock in which I might find a particular item I was shopping for. The new stuff's in the back, and we couldn't see the front door -- no sweat, because the door dings when it's opened. And ding it did -- only when we came out, the door was closed, the bell was swinging, and no one was around.

At which point the volunteer said, "What happened to the jar that was here?" All that remained on the counter was its lid, which read: "Dimes for doggies, Coins for kitties." That wasn't all: Whoever had swiped the donations -- around $30, but still -- had also emptied the cash register.

Police were notified immediately, and as we waited for their arrival, the volunteer said, sure, getting ripped off was awful. But perhaps even worse, for the last few weeks Second Chance has been collecting donations for drawings in advance of a Christmas Open House and Customer Appreciation Party from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on December 19. Entries in the drawing remained in the jar because they were colorful and (in an ironic turn) made the donation jar more inviting for those considering dropping in their loose change.

The volunteer fretted that all of those generous customers couldn't possibly win a prize now that their entries -- festively colored cards glued to play money -- had just run out the door. Not only had the animals gotten robbed; so too their owners.

So, this heads up: If you entered the raffle at Second Chance Treasures, you may wanna stop by and do so again. Or if raffles aren't your thing and you'd just like to help the furbabies recoup their losses, donations are accepted online, as well.

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