Safe Haven items to be sold at sheriff’s sale

Future of property remains uncertain
Greeting anyone coming to the gates of Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary is this: a two-page court document advertising a Jan. 29 sheriff's sale at the Georgetown shelter. While the building and land will not be up for sale, fencing, a truck and office equipment from the shelter will be sold. BY RYAN MAVITY
January 14, 2014

Those in need of office equipment or chain-link fencing could be in luck.

Property from Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary will be sold at a sheriff’s sale at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 19022 Shingle Point Road in Georgetown. The sale does not include the building or land.

Up for sale are a pickup truck, office equipment, pet cages, dog crates and chain-link fencing used for dog runs, among other items.

The future of  the building and surrounding property remains unclear. Safe Haven was built with a $2.7 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, guaranteed by County Bank. According to the USDA, the 40-year loan carried a 4 percent interest rate.

USDA Community Program Director Denise MacLeish said Safe Haven, which closed Nov. 14, has been notified of its delinquency and noted Safe Haven has 120 days to liquidate the building and property to repay the loan. Once the 120 days are up, USDA can foreclose on the property, MacLeish said. She said she has not heard from Safe Haven representatives as to what their course of action will be.

The Jan. 29 sheriff’s sale is part of a separate, $42,000 legal judgment against Safe Haven. In October 2012, Safe Haven contracted with All Aboard Kennel and Grooming to lease 20 kennels at All Aboard’s Dagsboro facility.

Jerry Green, co-owner of All Aboard, said filing suit was the only way his kennel could recoup the money owed by Safe Haven. He said before its new facility opened, Safe Haven contacted him to house dogs at his kennels. Shortly after Safe Haven opened, Green said, it ran out of space and leased first one of his kennels and then a second.

Diane Peterson, listed on court documents as the registered agent for Safe Haven, said she has not been involved with the shelter since 2009 and was working to have herself removed as the registered agent. Founder Hal Dukes said he did not know about the sale and has not been involved in Safe Haven for a year.

Court documents show first Safe Haven was to pay $7,400 per month from Nov. 1, 2012, to March 1, 2013, for one kennel building. Safe Haven continued to occupy the building and the lease became a month-to-month arrangement. Safe Haven surrendered possession of the building July 31, but did not pay rent for May, June and July, court documents say. A letter from Safe Haven to All Aboard on July 7 said Safe Haven intended to pay its bills.

Safe Haven leased a second building Nov. 27, 2012, from All Aboard to rent 16 dog kennels. The arrangement was similar to the one with the first building: the original term was Nov. 24, 2012, to April 1, 2013, for $6,000 per month. Safe Haven continued to occupy the building until July 31 when it surrendered possession back to All Aboard without paying rent for May, June and July, court documents say.

Finally, court documents say Safe Haven entered into a verbal agreement with All Aboard to rent a third building and pay All Aboard for transporting the dogs. However, records show $559 for the building and transportation were never paid for. All Aboard won a judgment from Safe Haven for $35,000 for the rent and transportation and $7,000 in legal fees for a total amount due of $42,000. Green said Safe Haven had a chance to appeal the ruling, but no one showed up.

Green said after Safe Haven lapsed on its payments, he was put off any time he asked for the money. He said the money lost hurt his own business to the extent he had to lay off two employees. Once Safe Haven lapsed on its payments, Green said he told officials to take their dogs out of his facility, which they eventually did. He said proceeds from the sheriff’s sale will go to help him recoup his money.


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