New Brunswick

Lethal euthanasia drugs, cash stolen from Dalhousie animal shelter

A dangerous drug used to euthanize animals was stolen from the SPCA in Dalhousie overnight Sunday, along with $1,000 in cash, but the public's safety is the shelter's biggest concern.

Restigouche SPCA says stolen drug would kill anyone who injected it

The break-in happened between Sunday night and Monday morning. (Serge Bouchard/Radio-Canada)

The Restigouche County SPCA is pleading for the return of stolen drugs that are lethal and used only to euthanize animals. 

Thieves got inside the Dalhousie shelter between 9 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. Monday by breaking the casing on a window, said Rachel Mutch, the manager.

They stole the shelter's two safes, "one which includes our cash, one which includes dangerous drugs," Mutch said.

The public's safety is the shelter's biggest concern, Mutch said. 

The drug, T-61, is a veterinary solution. It does not provide any sort of high and would be fatal to anyone who injected it, she said.

Campbellton police responded to the call from the SPCA on Monday morning and took away the window to examine it for evidence.

Manager Rachel Mutch holds part of the window that was pushed through. (Serge Bouchard/Radio-Canada)

Const. Kelcie Levesque said the RCMP are taking the investigation seriously because of the potential risks to the public.

"We're basically just advising them … not to consume any type of drugs that might've been stolen from the SPCA," Levesque said.

'Not to be taken lightly'

Dr. Mary-Ellen Themens, who works at the Dalhousie Veterinary Clinic, said T-61 is dangerous, and many safeguards were put in place to secure the solution to protect the staff and the public.

The drug is not for recreational use or even medical use on humans. It's only for the euthanasia of animals, she said.

"Throw the safe over the fence. There is no street value, no other uses besides [animal] euthanasia."

Only 10 people in New Brunswick are certified to administer the drug, she said.

T-61 is a veterinary solution used for euthanizing animals and is not for human consumption. (Serge Bouchard/Radio-Canada)

Mutch said she doesn't believe the thieves were after the drug. It just happened to be in the safe with the money.   

Now, the shelter is looking to raise money so it can continue to provide for its animals, none of which were hurt in the break-in.

"The cash is devastating as well," she said. "We're non-profit, we work hard for everything we get, the public is so generous. To steal all of that — it hurts." 

The shelter will need money to replace the safes and window.

No animals were harmed during the Restigouche SPCA break in. (Serge Bouchard/Radio-Canada)

But Mutch said her biggest concern is the drug and its threat to public safety. 

"The drugs need to be returned," she said. "No questions, we won't ask. They just need to be off the street."