The Grinch has struck Operation WildLife at its main office in Linwood. Someone walked into the facility recently and stole money from a donation box. Several hundred dollars was stolen.

“I’m disappointed to say the least,” said Operation WildLife Director Diane Johnson. “Ironically, if they needed to steal from a nonprofit that helps animals, they must have needed it more than us. I’m sad for the person that did this. They must have been pretty desperate.”

The organization is in the process of notifying people who may have left a check in the donation box. The organization is also sharing the information via Facebook and other social media.  

While the organization has been worried about security at the facility for some time, an appropriate and effective security system would cost approximately $6,000, which isn’t in the budget.

Operation WildLife, which covers nine counties in Kansas, concentrates on putting money into its educational programs and animal care. However, internal security policies and procedures have been changed due to the theft.

The largest publicly funded wildlife clinic in Kansas, Operation WildLife receives and cares for just about every form of wildlife each year. The group cares for injured, orphaned or displaced wildlife it receives through individuals or law enforcement agencies who find a wild animal in need of care. Its successful release rate back into nature is 69 percent, which is significantly better than the national average.  

The organization relies entirely on donations to fund its mission of helping wildlife that require veterinary care, food and rehabilitation.

“We’ve always had such wonderful people come to our door, but it’s a changing world. We won’t have the donation box sitting on our counter anymore,” Johnson said.

Anyone wanting to help replace the stolen funds can visit the organization’s website at www.owl-online.org and click on the donate button. Checks can be mailed to Operation WildLife, 23375 Guthrie Road, Linwood, KS, 66052.

Beth Kornegay is a freelance writer covering news and events in the city of Basehor. If you have a story idea, email her at gabi_kansas@yahoo.com