Act of kindness quashed by thieves in St. John's

Andrew Robinson, The Telegram
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Goods collected for SPCA stolen from Topsail family’s truck

An act of kindness towards animals went sour Saturday after the windows of a truck were smashed Saturday night and several gift bags containing pet supplies were stolen.

Katie Ellis of Topsail is pictured with Santa Claus and her two dogs, Sarah and Maggie. Katie and her family collected a wealth of supplies over the weekend for the SPCA by renting Mile One Centre for a skating party. The goods were later stolen from the family’s truck. — Submitted photo

Cheryl Ellis of Topsail said her eight-year-old daughter, Katie, was particularly disheartened to find that all the goods her family had collected earlier that day were gone.

“Katie was scared. There were tears in her eyes. She didn’t know what happened.”

The Ellis family rented Mile One Centre in St. John’s Saturday afternoon for the skating party. Katie invited her friends, encouraging them to bring items that could be donated to the SPCA. Cheryl Ellis, who used to work for the SPCA, said approximately 25 people attended.

“We have a passion for animals here in our home,” said Ellis. “We’ve got several animals from the shelter and know the need is there to help animals as well. We wanted to show Katie that Christmas is more about giving than receiving.”

Along with some cash donations, people brought toys, treats and other items that could be used at the SPCA St. John’s animal shelter on RCAF Road.

“(Katie) had tons of fun. She was so delighted that everyone brought their gifts for the animals.”

The Ellis family had a busy day planned and could not immediately go home to drop off the donated goods. That night, Katie, Cheryl and her mother attended the show “Santa’s Place” at Holy Heart Theatre in St. John’s.

As the family prepared to leave the theatre at approximately 10 p.m., Katie noticed the window was open.

“I thought she opened it, and I said, ‘Katie, you know it’s too cold to have your window open tonight.’”

But when Cheryl went to look, she saw that two windows were smashed open. The donated goods, along with Katie’s tap shoes, were gone. Most of the goods were in Christmas gift bags. Ellis suspects those responsible for breaking into the truck thought they would be getting something other than pet supplies.

“My heart sunk. I felt like someone just kicked me in the stomach. It was just so disheartening.”

While Saturday took a disappointing turn for the family, there have been some positive developments. The Ellis’ story is getting a lot of attention on Facebook. Several donations have been made to the SPCA in Katie’s name.

“We’ve got great family and friends who are coming together,” said Cheryl Ellis. “I noticed on Facebook that there’s several people making donations on Katie’s behalf, so there’s no doubt that the animals will have the best Christmas ever, I’m sure. We’re going to go out again and collect some things and bring them down to the shelter. ... We’ll remind Katie of the fact there’s more good people in the world than bad.”

Ellis says her vehicle was among several targeted in the Holy Heart Theatre parking lot Saturday night. She contacted the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary about the incident and was told there is little that can be done.

“Several hundred (vehicle break-ins) they respond to in a month,” said Ellis. “It’s out of control. I just feel you should be able to go to an event with your family or the supermarket or whatever and be able to leave your vehicle, do what you have to do, and come back to it the way that it was when you left it.”

Ellis suggests facilities hosting events hire security or parking attendants who can keep an eye on vehicles, even if it means charging a few dollars extra on tickets to such events.

arobinson@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Holy Heart Theatre

Geographic location: St. John's, RCAF Road

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  • Jack
    December 16, 2013 - 19:40

    Is it just me or does it seem that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are being punished for no legitimate reason? When we were kids, our parents taught us that if you do something right, you'll be rewarded for it; however, over the last week, doing something right resulted in a punishment one way or another and here some examples. First, you have a Burin Peninsula area young man killed in an accident for checking his truck as a result of a problem. Second, you hear about a Baie Verte Peninsula area family having their house burned only because they attended a Christmas Concert, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of gifts lost and a family homeless. Now, the Ellis family, particularly their little girl, Katie, show an act of kindness towards animals and gets punished for it as her toys are stolen and Christmas is ruined. In light of good people being punished for no reason such as a young man killed for checking a problem with his truck, a family losing everything in a fire as a result of attending a Christmas Concert, and a little girl's Christmas is ruined for doing the right thing, it seems to me that some of us have no morals anymore, and this behaviour is not acceptable in a socially liberal province like Newfoundland and Labrador. Its time that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians start rewarding people for doing good things for a change instead of making them suffer like Cheryl and Katie Ellis. As for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, stop being negative with your "there's little I can do" attitude and stop these hooligans to send a message that stealing people's property and ruining Christmas will not go unpunished.

  • Marshall Art
    December 16, 2013 - 18:13

    Snakes crawl at night, for sure. Dirtbags who do something like this should get 20 lashes in the ar$e.

  • AJ
    December 16, 2013 - 17:24

    Who does that? It makes me sick. Please help these animals in any way you can. These days animals have more sense than some humans and they don't deserve to suffer any more than they have. Hope they choke on the drugs/beer they probably traded or sold for the stolen items.

  • Shawn
    December 16, 2013 - 15:50

    Just curious... Are there no security cameras near where the incident happened?! I'm so surprised when I hear that public venues in this city do not have cameras on parking areas.