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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
The ravaged remains of Patricia Irwin's pickup truck were discovered Friday morning discarded and chained to a utility pole in an alleyway.
The 2000 Chevrolet Silverado Z71 that Irwin, founder of Helping Animals Live Tomorrow, once used to haul animals to adoption events was missing its bed, two wheels, battery, transmission and front grill. Irwin last used the truck in early June when she brought a load of high-end donated dog food to Bakersfield from Los Angeles for her rescue group. The next morning Irwin awoke to find the truck, a U-Haul trailer full of dog grub and her Saab all gone.
"It was unbelievable. I never thought a truck could look like that," Irwin said of the sight of the pillaged pickup.
The truck was found in the 3000 block of Spruce Street, while the trailer and Saab were found at other locations in June, according to police. Four bags of dog food and a box of biscuits were discovered on June 12 but the rest of the food, worth nearly $10,000, has not been recovered, Irwin said. Three people have been arrested in connection with the case, police have said.
Though the truck was "unsalvageable," Irwin said many people have be gracious in the wake of the theft. The Canadian company Darford that donated the original load of dog food has agreed to give the group a smaller donation of food.
Money has come in from people as far away as Texas, Pennsylvania and Missouri. It's not enough to replace the truck but the gifts are "definitely enough to help us along the way," Irwin said.