Theft charge dropped against head of animal shelter

Frank Gale
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Gwen Samms, president of Bay St. George Society for the Care and Protection of Animals, had a charge of theft under $5,000 relating to a dog dropped Wednesday.

Gwen Samms (foreground) and her sister Delores Samms are all smiles leaving the courthouse in Stephenville on Wednesday. — Photo by Frank Gale/The Western Star

ting in court on behalf of the Crown, put forward the recommendation. Judge Kymil Howe agreed.

Stephen Marshall of the firm Roebothan McKay Marshall, attended the court from St. John’s via teleconference. The evening before he had issued a news release advising news editors of a “new development” that would speed up the case against Samms.

On March 20, 2013  Samms was charged with theft under $5,000 after RCMP issued a warrant for a return of a husky dog entrusted into the society’s care.

The trial date was for March 28 but rescheduled to Wednesday.

Trina Simmons, senior Crown attorney for western region, said in an email that for the benefit of the public and to ensure transparency in the administration of justice, once Samms acknowledged she was wrong in not returning the dog, public prosecutions decided a lengthy trial consuming considerable resources and time was no longer in the public interest.

Charge withdrawn

In a statement of acknowledgement signed by Samms, she said she understood that through discussions with her lawyers, public prosecutions decided that given her subsequent realization and current acknowledgement she should have returned the dog, the charge would be withdrawn.

“I can honestly say that had I been aware of the legislation that had just come into affect early last year I would have returned the dog to the RCMP at their first request that day,” she said in the statement.

She said she respects the work the RCMP does in keeping the community safe, including the difficult job of seizing animals from their owners.

“I continue to help the RCMP to this day by accepting animals they bring to me for care and I will continue to do so to the best of my ability,” Samms said.

She said that she meant no disrespect to the authority of the RCMP that day, that her heart was with the dog that had been placed in her care and she thanked her lawyers, the Crown attorneys and the RCMP in bringing the matter to a successful conclusion.

Organizations: RCMP

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