The Bay St. George RCMP executed a warrant on the shelter while providing assistance to a man in Cape Ray who had come looking to get his dog back. The dog has been in the care of the shelter for more than six weeks.
Samms believes the dog was legally the property of the shelter, and said its her understanding that if an owner doesn’t come and claim an animal within 72 hours after it goes into the shelter, it becomes the shelter’s property.
“What I believe is that this dog was actually stolen from us (Society for the Care and Protection of Animals) on Wednesday,” Samms said.
Janet Bennett of Scaredy Cat Rescue said she has the same understanding about a 72-hour rule.
Samms has a court appearance in relation to the alleged theft on June 17, and is looking into getting a lawyer by that date.
The incident that led up to the dog coming into the care of the shelter took place on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Two Husky dogs, two cats, and 23 baby chickens were seized from a property in Cape Ray that day. At the time, more than half of 60 birds on the property were found dead.
The owner was subsequently charged under the new Animal Health and Protection Act with leaving animals in distress. After an investigation, the RCMP later ordered all animals taken from the property to be returned to the owner.
After an investigation into the matter, police were satisfied the facilities were fit for the animals to be returned, said Sgt. Dale Foote of the RCMP in Port aux Basques.
Samms said she was asked by the Port aux Basques RCMP to take custody of two dogs that had been removed from the property and, upon receiving them, she had them examined by a veterinarian. She said blood work for the female showed signs of dehydration and starvation.
Ownership of the female dog was relinquished, and a new home was found.
The owner, who didn’t want to be identified, said he paid the $100 fine and would be looking to get his other Siberian Husky back.
Foote said police learned that a member of the family who owned the animals had a medical emergency, which took the owners out of the community for an extended period of time. The RCMP sergeant said the owners had a person in place to take care of the animals, but unfortunately that person thought the care was only needed for a short period of time.
“There was a miscommunication between the caretaker and the family, nothing intentional but they assumed their animals were being taken care of,” Foote said.
It was on Wednesday afternoon that the owner came looking for the dog and enlisted the help of police. Samms gave up the dog Wednesday evening after the warrant was executed.