Puppies stolen from Florence animal shelter

The Jayne H. Boswell Animal Shelter in Florence

Two puppies were stolen Sunday evening from the Jayne H. Boswell animal shelter in Florence, according to Major Carlos Raines with Florence police.

The shelter's surveillance cameras captured what appear to be four teenage boys climbing a fence to steal two 10-week-old puppies from the cages just after 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Raines said.

He added the boys came back two hours later with another teen and stole a third dog, but brought it back later on.

The teens also stole items to take care of the dogs and kennels.

Raines said shelter employees discovered the dogs missing on Tuesday and called police.

The stolen dogs are Vanna, a 2.5 month old hound that is white with brown spots, and Victoria, a 2.5 month old hound that is brown with white spots.

A Florence police crime scene investigator was back at the shelter Wednesday morning to talk with shelter employees and gather additional evidence.

The shelter's namesake and President of the Florence Area Humane Society said she's devastated by the thefts.

"Our hearts are breaking over this. I mean to get the news that two small puppies have been removed from the shelter. That's like our worst nightmare. You know we treasure each life that comes through our shelter. And we do our best to get them good homes. And we're really concerned," said Jayne Boswell.

This is the second time in recent years dogs have been stolen from the shelter.

A pit bull was stolen in March 2012. At the time, shelter employees feared the thieves wanted to use the dog in dog fights.

Florence Public Works Director Chuck Pope said they're glad the surveillance cameras were in place, but are looking to see what else can be done to deter burglaries and thefts at the shelter.

"We're to look into those and see if there maybe are other ways to rectify that problem, or prevent it from happening in the future," explained Pope.

If you have any information on the most recent incident of the dog theft at the shelter, you're asked to call Florence police at (843) 665-3191.