60 Safe Haven dogs receive medical care

Volunteers say independent fund paid vet bills
While Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary has vowed to stay open, more than 60 of its animals received medical care through the efforts of a fund set up by former employee Karli Swope. BY RYAN MAVITY
October 3, 2013

The organizers of a fund to help treat dogs housed at Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary say all funds they collected have been used to treat homeless animals.

Since late July reports have circulated that the Georgetown-based Safe Haven would close. In response, Safe Haven employee Karli Swope and Tyler Mock independently established a fund to help pay vet costs for Safe Haven animals. The fund accepted donations through, a crowdfunding website that allowed small donations. More than 85 people contributed to the fund, Swope said.

Swope produced records and receipts of care for Safe Haven animals the YouCaring donations helped pay for. She said more than 60 animals were cared for within 30 days of setting up the fund. During that time, Swope worked at Safe Haven. After an Aug. 25 press release from Safe Haven spokeswoman Lynn Lofthouse accused her of improperly raising money, Swope resigned.

Swope said Safe Haven spokeswoman Lofthouse made no attempt to contact her nor did any other member of the Safe Haven board.

“My focus has always been about the animals, never about the administration,” she said.

Swope said the fund, which raised more than $7,200 paid for services such as spay and neuter, medicine, shots and heartworm treatments, among other things. Most of the treatments were performed at the Delaware SPCA in Georgetown, Swope’s records show.

Swope said the fund was closed at the beginning of September, with the remaining $1,100 in funds put into a credit account at Haven Lake Animal Hospital in Milford to be used for Safe Haven animals. She said she has also started a rescue group to find fosters for homeless cats and dogs, including Safe Haven animals. Because she no longer works at Safe Haven, Swope said she asked for permission of interim director Bob Burakiewicz to help foster Safe Haven animals.

“We have fosters for most of the dogs, and by publicizing the animals, we were able to reunite a few dogs that were lost. Those are the best stories and the reason we’re moving forward with a new group,” Swope said.

Meanwhile, Safe Haven remains open, even after the shelter’s board, for the second time, announced its closure and then retracted the announcement.

Lofthouse said of the shelter’s future, “We have no plans to close, at least until all dogs are safely placed in good homes or established shelters or sanctuaries.  We are open and pushing good adoptions, as well as contacting no-kill established shelters for transfers.  We are moving along well.”

An email asking Lofthouse how long the shelter expects to stay open was not answered.

Funds used to treat animals

Swope said of the $7,200 raised, $2,430, was used to pay for spaying and neutering dogs at Delaware SPCA in Georgetown.

Cats were treated at Four Paws Animal Hospital for wellness checkups totaling $292 and $304 was spent on heart worm treatment at Haven Lake Animal Hospital.

About $1,200 was spent to care for cats at Ocean View Animal Hospital. A total of $6,247 was spent at various facilities for the care of cats and dogs, according to records provided by Swope.

The remaining $1,100 was placed into a credit account at Haven Lake Animal Hospital for future care of Safe haven animals.

The fund is now closed, Swope said.