Criminals are hitting animal hospitals and only taking pet medication, according to Cleveland police.
Thieves hit two veterinarian hospitals in Cleveland Wednesday night and Thursday morning taking dozens of products totaling more than $110,000. It’s costing veterinarians even more to fix the damage caused for the very specific crime.
“They seemed to know where they were doing because they could see that I had an alarm system,” said Dr. Rick Thompson, owner of Cleveland Animal Hospital.
Thompson told NewsChannel9 the criminal or criminals ripped out the vent, disabled the siren then busted through the door. That person even cut phone lines at the business off South Lee Highway.
“They took heartworm medications, flea medications, flea and tick products,” Thompson said.
Thompson said they cleaned him out of about $6,000 worth of products.
“It’s expensive for the clients to buy, but it’s really expensive for us to stock.”
His business is just one of two spots hit this week. Mountainstone Veterinary Hospital was also burglarized, and doctors there said they’re out of more than $100,000 in medication. No narcotics or electronics were stolen at either place.
“I was surprised. I thought if they broke in here, they were after narcotics or something like that,” said Thompson. “Nothing else was touched. Expensive computer equipment, lab equipment, not touched at all.”
It’s a pretty specific crime that has legs beyond Bradley County.
“Talking to the detective, I know that there’ve been 11 to 12 cases of burglaries at veterinarian’s offices from Chattanooga to Johnson City,” said Evie West, spokesperson of the Cleveland Police Department.
Thompson thinks the thieves are reselling it online. If you find it and want to buy, doctors say beware.
“I don’t know what they do with this medication, if they do anything to cut it or if it goes out of date and they sell it. You’re taking a chance,” said Thompson.
Veterinarians said those heartworm medications are often resold at flea markets or online. If your pet has not been test for heartworms and you give it heartworm medication, you could potentially kill your pet.
Investigators say they are looking into whether the criminals are local.
Even though the alarm system didn’t deter the crime, Thompson said he is considering getting a pet guard dog for the office.
By Briona Arradondo