Tractor Theft Endangers Exotic Animal Shelter

Settler's Pond Animal Shelter owner says replacing tractor will cost $17,000

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Thieves broke into the Settler's Pond Animal Shelter and stole the large tractor used to feed 350 animals. Christian Farr reports. (Published Friday, Apr 18, 2014)

    A theft at a large suburban shelter has put hundreds of animals in danger.

    Thieves broke into the Settler's Pond Animal Shelter and stole the large tractor used to feed 350 animals. It happened in Beecher, about 40 miles south of Chicago.

    The animal shelter houses a wide range of animals, such as alpacas, emus and rare tortoises.

    Feeding the animals on the 60-acre shelter is a 12-hour daily job, but that time has been doubled with the loss of the Kubota utility vehicle that was stolen from a barn on the property.

    Now, shelter owner Aircolina Jonota and her team of volunteers are forced to do the work by hand.

    "We would put a 100 gallon water in there ... now we're carrying buckets, running hoses. It'll be a long time before we get another Kubota," shelter owner Aircolina Jonota said. "They had bolt cutters that they cut the lock off and the chain, and opened the door, went in and stole the Kubota."

    Jonota says Settler's Pond is unique because it rescues exotic animals, but now their mission is in danger of veering off track.

    "It's going to be hard for a long while," Jonota said.

    Jonota says another tractor was also stolen five years ago. Replacing it will cost $17,000, money they say they don't have.

    The shelter has a donation page on its website at SettlersPondShelter.net.

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