Kristen Ford, who works at Faithful Friends, organized a vigil for the Safe Haven 19 in Wilmington on the same night as the Lewes vigil. That kind of solidarity among No Kill advocates is wonderful. And of course, Faithful Friends rescued a lot of Safe Haven dogs over the past 6 months!
I asked Kristen if she could tell me about the vigil. About 30 people came, including a number of Safe Haven volunteers and someone who knew Grayson. Here is a link to the vigil program, which has photos of all the dogs: wilmington vigil program .
Kristen wrote me that ”I began speaking from a personal experience, that I was there that night not because I work with a local shelter, not because I am a pit bull advocate, I was there that night because of my 5 year old pit bull Nessie - Nessie is the most loving dog I have ever met, she loves every person she meets more than the next, she is the reason I am in rescue, she gave me my passion, she is loyal and sweet, she is also very dog selective. Today if Nessie had to take the same temperament tests she would have failed, her fate would have been the same as some of the Safe Haven and I would not be the person I am today.”
Here is her prepared speech:
Thank you all for coming out tonight. I would like to preface what I am about to say, when I say Safe Haven, I am not speaking of the staff and volunteers that worked tirelessly to save these animals, they worked long hours, sent out desperate pleas, and many of the staff worked with no pay. Many of them who right at this moment are feeling a grief we can’t understand. When I say Safe Haven I am speaking of those in charge, the decision makers, who stood in the public and promised that the animals in their care would be protected they would be in a “Safe Haven”.
We are here tonight to remember the 19 safe haven dogs whose lives were taken by the hands of irresponsible humans and poor shelter standards. Standards our state has laws in place to protect them. These dogs lost their lives to people who were supposed to protect them. They did not do their job, and the dogs lost their lives because of it. They will tell us that the dogs were aggressive – they will justify their actions, but the sad part is that the dogs weren’t ever given a chance to begin with, the lack of resources provided by Safe Haven left many dogs crated for 23 hours a day with no socialization, some for more than a year. But I have seen dogs taken out of this environment and thrive. These dogs were not given that opportunity. So tonight we remember them.
I would also like to take this time to celebrate the 120 dogs and 86 cats lives that were saved since September thanks to local and regional shelters, rescues and Josie’s Place that stepped up when Safe Haven failed. Our small state has many well run rescues and shelters. There are many programs to help keep animals out of the shelter system. #1 prevention, spay and neuter. SPAY AND NEUTER. Spay and Neuter saves lives by keeping unwanted litters out of shelters or on the streets. Please continue support our local shelters/rescues they are doing amazing lifesaving things.
Tonight we will light 19 candles to remember the dogs whose lives were taken to soon without a chance to prove them wrong, and a 20th candle to remember all of the dogs and cats that are killed daily in the shelter system across the country. Thank you for coming, the strong community presence shows that we care and we want justice for the Safe Haven 19.
Please lets have a moment of silence while we light a candle and reflect. ”
Here is an excerpt from the program: