About 20 dogs at the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center had the unexpected opportunity for freedom early Wednesday morning, but they failed to flee.

Cheryl Campbell, executive director for the center, said two suspects broke the front plate glass window of the center at approximately 1:44 a.m., entered the building and opened the cages and freed the 20 canines.

“As far as we can tell, nothing else was taken,” Campbell said. “It looks like, from the video, they were in, and out, in about 3 minutes.”

At 3 a.m. Wednesday, a Brownwood City Policeman on patrol stopped at the four-way stop near the center and saw the dogs that should have been inside the building outside.

All 20 dogs were recovered, Campbell said.

“Two or three were a little skittish, and harder to catch, but they didn’t run off. We had them all by about 5 I think. They weren’t free for long.”

While other break-ins have been more costly, Campbell said, “This is just so aggravating.

“We’re thankful, I guess, because we know it could have been worse, but if you think about it, it’s one more thing to deal with when everything’s already a struggle.”

The window is patched with plywood for now, and will be replaced Tuesday. The center is insured through the city of Brownwood, Campbell said. The estimated cost for the window replacement is about $300.