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JAMES QUIGG, DAILY PRESS
Annie Lancaster vaccinates Indica, Velvet Seider's five-month old puppy. Lancaster runs the Mojave Desert Animal Rescue, a non-profit aimed at keeping homeless's pets in good heath. The charity has struggled to provide its usual services since a burglary in January which emptied their warehouse.

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Despite difficulties, group continues to help homeless

APPLE VALLEY • Almost a month after thieves ransacked a warehouse full of emergency supplies for homeless people and their pets, the owner said her nonprofit group has managed to continue with services despite the lack of supplies.

Almost $20,000 in goods were taken from the Apple Valley warehouse or damaged on Jan. 8, according to Annie Lancaster, founder and director of the Mojave Desert Animal Rescue.

Lancaster said her warehouse was burglarized twice in one night, and that if the thieves didn’t take it — they vandalized it.

Lancaster said the rescue group, which distributes goods such as hygiene items and pet food twice a month on Fridays, had to tell people that the group couldn’t help them.

“They cleaned us out so bad, everything came to a screeching halt,” Lancaster said. “I had to tell people, ‘I’m sorry we have nothing for you.’ ”

Lancaster said the homeless did not ask for dog food, they were more concerned about Lancaster’s well-being.

“When it first happened I said, ‘I’m done, I’m finished.’ It was so overwhelming. But I did a lot of soul searching and decided to rebuild and move on,” Lancaster said.

Since then, Lancaster said her group has received contributions from several companies, and a temporary storage facility was donated for the group’s use on a limited basis.

Lancaster said her group is in the process of raising funds to build a private warehouse with a Fort Knox design, and that she doesn’t want to disclose its present or future location for fear of a repeat incident.

“What we’re in need of most is funds for our own building,” Lancaster said. “We have to have somewhere where it’s safe and secure at a time when our services are needed most.”

For more information or to donate, visit www.animalresq.org.

Lynnea Lombardo may be reached at (760) 951-6232 or at LLombardo@VVDailyPress.com.

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