Thieves steal woman's dog's surgery money; friends raise nearly 20K

A week ago, Melissa Horstman's Worcester, Massachusetts, home was invaded by burglars who smashed the glass on her sliding door and took nearly $3,000 in valuables and cash.

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Shortly after 9 p.m. last Thursday night, the thieves broke into her home and not only stole the money Horstman was saving for her dog's operation but left her sick pup Prince in a heap of glass.

Foreboding as he may look, Prince has bone cancer on his back leg and can barely move. Not only is Prince on heavy painkillers, but his leg will need to be amputated, and Horstman believes his condition is worsening.

"I'm just lucky they didn't kill my dog," Horstman said.

Horstman says that after Boston 25 News interviewed her last Monday, one of her friends created an online fundraising page for Prince with the goal of raising $5,000 - the amount needed for his surgery.

However, to her surprise, the overwhelming generosity of those who contributed to the fundraiser help not only reach the goal but exceed far past just $5,000 .

"It is very close to $20,000 right now," Horstman said.

Initially, when Horstman posted about the burglary on Facebook, her mind was set on trying to catch those responsible for the theft.

She says she didn't ask for a dime, but is immensely thankful for those who helped. Prince will have surgery Tuesday and hopefully feel a lot better.

As for the rest of the money, Horstman plans on giving it to other pet owners who need it just as much as she did.

"I've decided to make some donations to Broken Tail Rescue that are here local in Worcester and possibly another rescue depending on how much is left over from Prince's surgery," Horstman said.

After our initial story on the burglary aired, Horstman said police told her this may be related to other recent burglaries. She is anxiously awaiting word of an arrest.

Horstman is urging people who want to help to give back to local animal shelters. She has since asked her friend to shut down the fundraising page.

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