BVSPCA refuses to provide locations of nine dogs

A Rehoboth Beach guitar maker is considering refunding the donations he raised for the neglected dogs seized from a Georgetown property in November 2016.

Nicholas Lee, of Nicholas Lee Guitars, said the Brandywine Valley SPCA won’t tell him where some of the dogs are, leaving him unable to properly allocate the funds.

“I am so depressed and sickened I haven’t even been able to walk in my workshop for weeks,” he said.

Between November 2016 and January 2017, he raffled off 14 custom-made guitars, one for each of the dogs seized by animal control from the Deep Branch Road property of Atwood Timmons, Jr. His efforts garnered over $16,000.

Donors entered the raffle through a GoFundMe page, which stated the fundraiser would benefit care and rehab efforts at BVSPCA, foster homes, rescue efforts and the Delaware Office of Animal Welfare. Lee named the winners in a live-streaming video on January 1, and on January 17, he sent a certified letter to BVSPCA CEO Adam Lamb asking for specific information including the names and addresses of any foster, rescue or alternate organization that signed out any of the dogs involved. He closed the letter by stating that the fundraiser’s donors deserved assurance that the funds were being used properly.

Lamb, along with BVSPCA Senior Director of Operations Micaela Malloy, responded to Lee’s letter on January 24, stating that because the dogs were involved with an active case with the Office of Animal Welfare, much of the requested information could not be disclosed, including the locations of any of the dogs not still in the custody of BVSPCA. They did state, however, that 18 dogs were seized from Timmons’ property, not 14 as the Department of Health and Social Services originally reported to the public.

“I just couldn’t see any reason why they would not give the location of the dogs. It would have no effect on the cruelty case. It really raised a red flag,” Lee said. “We are trying to allocate the funds to all of the proper organizations and fosters associated in this case, but that information is being denied. Why?”

Lee asked for the names of any rescue partners in custody of the Georgetown dogs for a second time, but received the same response

Lamb told Sussex Living that five of the dogs were transferred to rescue partners for rehabilitation and adoption, of which two have been adopted, and four other dogs were transferred to a different rescue for long-term care. He stated that the BVSPCA does not give out confidential information regarding their adopters and partners.

“I can assure you that none of the dogs from this case have been euthanized or are at risk of euthanasia,” he continued. “We've made a significant, long-term commitment to helping these dogs, and many people and organizations have been coming together on their behalf.”

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is an umbrella agency that houses the Office of Animal Welfare, which contracts the BVSPCA to care for stray, homeless or abused animals. A DHSS representative told Sussex Living that they cannot force the BVSPCA to provide the requested information.

The representative stated, “Given that we have no legal authority over these records, it is up to BVSPCA to determine whether they want to provide the addresses of private individual’s homes, or those of the rescues/shelters where the dogs have been placed,” a DHSS representative stated.

Lee said something just doesn’t feel right to him.

“My name is directly linked to this,” he said, “I think the only thing I can do safely is return the funds to the donors or allocate them to a foundation of their choice.”