Safe Haven to close down — emergency personnel helping
After four months of floundering, Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary will officially close on Dec. 1, 2013, due to lack of funds. The Board of Directors sent a press release indicating this on Tuesday, Oct. 29.
When Kent County Levy Court voted July 30 to terminate Safe Haven’s dog control contract for the county, the Georgetown no-kill shelter lost its primary source of funding.
After allegations of financial mismanagement, Safe Haven had previously announced that it would close in August and again in September. Whether by miscommunication or by new votes being taken after board members resigned, the closing announcements were quickly followed by contradictory messages, stating that the shelter would remain open.
But now, Safe Haven is being handled almost as an emergency zone. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has come to provide daily care for the remaining dogs and help find new homes before the organization closes.
In early October, board member Lynn Lofthouse said none of the four current active board members had been on the board more than two months. She declined to name the others, saying that some board members had resigned after Safe Haven detractors allegedly went so far as to send death threats.
The interim Safe Haven board president, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, has only been with the board for one month. She estimated that there were around 140 animals in Safe Haven care when she began, which has decreased to the mid-70s. Safe Haven hopes to find new permanent homes or quality shelter placements for those animals.
“There is no money for staff. … The hardest part was letting staff go,” she said.
Some volunteers are still helping, but ASPCA is handling day-to-day care. “This is what donations people make to ASPCA really go to, this kind of thing.”
Like an animal Red Cross, the ASPCA sent responders from distances like Vermont and Kansas City, paid for their hotels, sent food and cleaning supplies and will help with adoptions.
“And they’re amazing. We invited them in to help us out, and their priority is the dogs,” she said. “All the shelters in the state have been helping,” including Faithful Friends, Delaware Humane Society, Delaware and Georgetown SPCAs.
Safe Haven is still trying to ensure animals go to quality homes.
“We’re not gonna hand these animal to people who say they have homes, and they do not have homes” for the dogs, she said.
Safe Haven is also continuing its no-kill mission, she said.
What happens to Safe Haven on Dec. 2 is currently a question mark.
“We’re in contact with lawyers as to what to do,” she said. It’s in the works. I can’t say definitively because I don’t know definitely. … But everybody has pulled together.”
The SHAS Board wants the community to know they “appreciate all those who in anyway have contributed to Safe Haven.”
“We still have lovely, lovely dogs” for adoption, the board president said. “We appreciate this so much, all the donations and all the shelters that have helped us. It’s been a real outpouring. It outweighs the bad.”
Monetary donations are still appreciated because some animals are sick or still need to be spayed or neutered before leaving. Donations are tax-deductible.
The facility will be open and ASPCA staff will be on-site to assist with adoptions every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Donations can be made to, or animals can be adopted from: Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary; 19022 Shingle Point Rd.; Georgetown, DE 19947, or donate online at www.safehavende.org.