Bad eggs steal joy from disabled
CRUEL thieves have stolen 18 chickens from the Tweed Valley Respite Service at Dungay.
The chickens, cared for by clients with disabilities, were stolen over a two-week period and the theft has angered the service's management.
"They broke in a fortnight back and took six of the 12 hens," said Lisa Pratt, the assistant manager, disability services.
"We went out and bought another six hens, put them in with the remaining half dozen and this time padlocked the enclosure.
The heavy-duty padlock did not deter the culprits, who made another clandestine overnight visit to the chook pen over the weekend and this time stole the lot.
"These hens mean much more to the service than just providing us with eggs," Ms Pratt said.
"We have a roster for clients to go into the pen and do a variety of chores such as cleaning, feeding and watering the chooks and collecting the eggs.
"Everyone gets enjoyment out of doing the chores - most report they find it very therapeutic."
Ms Pratt said that all the clients were "missing" the hens.
"I'd hate to be the thieves if any one of us could get our hands on them," she said.
"We can't fathom why anyone would do such a thing as this.
"It only costs a few dollars to go out into the country and purchase laying hens but obviously the thieves would rather make our lives a misery by stealing them from us."
Ms Pratt said the service was very keen to re-establish the chook pen program but is reluctant to do so until the thieves have been apprehended.
"We cannot keep buying hens just to have them stolen - it is heartbreaking for both staff and clients," Ms Pratt said.
"Perhaps one of your readers can provide us with any information which could lead to the unmasking of these thieves."
If any neighbour has suddenly stocked a pen with at least 18 brown chooks, contact Tweed Valley Respite Centre - on 0266720900, you could crack the case wide open.