Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Did you happen to catch a call on VOCM’s Nightline last night from an animal care advocate from Stephenville.

Gwen Samms of the Society for the Care and Protection of Animals has been charged with theft under $5,000 related to a dog that the police originally brought to the shelter!

The owners were told by the RCMP that they could have the animal back in early February. However no one showed up to take the dog for six weeks. Samms said that after six weeks she considered the dog abandoned. When the owners did get around to collecting the dog, she refused to hand it over. The police were contacted and a warrant was issued to return the dog to it’s owner.

Samms is no stranger to controversy. In 2009, the province took the people who ran the “no Kill” Bay St. George Animal Shelter to court to force its closure stating that the animals are suffering severe neglect and that Samms was not fit to take care of them.

A compromise was reached ensuring that a new shelter would be opened.

I got to know Samms and the late Barbara O’Keefe when I worked as a journalist and political staffer in Stephenville. The shelters break with the SPCA over the no kill policy made it difficult for the organization to raise funds. They certainly meant well.

I wonder if the police are going to make the owners pay the cost of health, boarding and feeding the dog over that six week period that they had refused to pick him up.

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