LONG BEACH, Calif. - It’s hard to imagine that whoever broke into the Dream Catcher of Los Angeles therapeutic Riding Center did not know the harm they would cause.
The center’s saddles, specially adapted tack for children and adults with disabilities, supplies, even their tractor, were stolen overnight Tuesday.
It’s a kick in the gut, says center director Joan Blank, adding that the loss surmounts $40,000 of badly needed equipment it has taken years for the nonprofit to get.
"Who does this?" asks the father of an 8-year-old with a genetic disorder that has been coming to the center for years. He explained that his daughter went from barely being able to sit up on the horse, to running out of the car and jumping on them every time they get there.
The center sits on Edison property and is pretty secluded, which is why investigators believe that whoever is responsible didn’t just stumble on the location.
Dozens of saddles, donated over years to the nonprofit, and especially adapted to children and adults with needs, were stolen. Everything from bits, leather halters, reigns, even supplies and supplements, were taken. Topping it all, their tractor, which is the non-animal work horse of any ranch, is gone.
Get your top stories delivered daily! Sign up for FOX 11’s Fast 5 newsletter. And, get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.
"At least the horses are ok," says Blank, who has devoted her retirement to a center that is usually packed with anything from autistic children, to adults dealing with MS, even PTSD suffering veterans working with human volunteers and horses to deal with physical, emotional and mental disabilities.
Long Beach police have dusted the broken locks for fingerprints. The Long Beach Police Department encourages anyone with additional information to contact the Burglary Detail at (562)570-7351. Anonymous tips can be submitted through LA Crime Stoppers by calling 800-222-TIPS (8477), downloading the "P3 Tips" app to your smartphone or by visiting LACrimeStoppers.org.
As for the center, they are a nonprofit, depending largely on donations which are tax deductible. For more information on how to help the center visit dreamcatcherla.com or email@example.com.
Tune in to FOX 11 Los Angeles for the latest Southern California news.