SPCA officials in Saint John are asking people to be on the lookout for a big, white commercial-sized garage door that was stolen from the shelter last week.

The cash-strapped SPCA Animal Rescue decided to replace the drafty door in the cat intake area with a wall and a window to cut down on heating costs and make the space cozier, said president of the board Melody McElman.

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The door was removed from the cat intake area of the shelter to reduce heating costs and make it cozier. (CBC)

Officials had stored the door just outside the building on Bayside Drive and had planned to sell it, she said.

"It happened in the early morning hours of May the 7th, we didn't discover it until a few days later — the garage door had been stolen in the middle of the night," said McElman.

Every penny counts for the SPCA, which has already reduced its hours and cut staffing, she said.

"We're fundraising very hard and it's taken us a long time to save up the money to have this garage door taken out, and we did get a good break, of course, from the company that did it, but it costs a lot of money," said McElman.

"And I really really thought we could recoup some of our loss with the garage door and replace it with a new computer. But, I guess that wasn't to be."

Missing some pieces

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The SPCA was hoping to sell the garage door for $400 and use the money to buy a computer. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Shelter manager Kathy Illingworth said they already had a buyer lined up at $400. The theft will now require another fundraiser to purchase a computer, she said.

"It's disappointing on many levels," said Illingworth. "Number one, somebody took something that didn't belong to them. Number two, they took from a non-profit. Number three they took from an animal shelter that struggles each and every day."

It's possible whoever took the garage door mistook it for garbage, said Illingworth.

But whoever took it is missing some crucial pieces, she said. The tracks and the rest of the hardware were inside the building, where Illingworth now wishes she had left the door.

She's having a surveillance camera installed at the front of the building.

Meanwhile, she's hoping the thief may have to put the door up for sale online, and someone will see it and call police.

The Saint John Police Force is hoping for a tip, but officers are also monitoring online postings and scrap yards, said Sgt. Jay Henderson.

"We get a lot of thefts of copper and certain metals. We do check that," he said. "The door is described as being 10-by-12. It's a five-panel garage door. So it's very large and hopefully someone will have some information for us."