WGMD Host Doug Beatty, 2 Other Activists Receive Letters Barring Them From Kent County SPCA

Jun 20, 2013 -- 10:56am

On his first show on WGMD on June 8, weekend talk show host Doug Beatty and one of his fellow activists, Catherine Samardza, were discussing the Kent County SPCA. They were discussing an audit of the SPCA by the New Castle County government, which found that the shelter wasn't in compliance with state laws on medical treatment and euthanizing dogs due to a lack of proper record keeping. The audit also found that there were problems with the how the shelter monitored controlled substance that are used to treat sick animals, which also have street value as illegal drugs. On that same show, Beatty also discussed the status of the SPCA's dog control contract with Sussex County.

Beatty and Samardza believe that segment is what prompted Ken Usilton, the director of the Kent County SPCA, the send letters to them and another activist, Carol Furr, informing them that they'll be banned from the shelter's property starting on October 1. The letter accused them of engaging in "ongoing efforts to publicly defame the Kent County SPCA," its staff and Board of Trustees. The letter said that the SPCA is a privately held organization, and is within its rights to deny people entry onto its property. However, when the Board of Trustees tried to bar members of the public from attending its monthly meetings, Furr filed a complaint, and the Attorney General's Office ruled that the board is a public body under the law becasue the shelter receives state funding, and therefore is required to enforce certain state laws, including the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Beatty says he's contacted the Deputy Attorney General who handles FOIA cases, and will be giving a statement, and then will investigate to determine if the Board's action violates open meetings laws.

Beatty says he'll continue to talk about the SPCA on his show if it's worth talking about, and says the last thing he wants to do is cause a disruption at the Board's meetings. He praised the character of the people who work at the SPCA on behalf of the animals that are in the shelter. Beatty says this dispute between him and his fellow activists and the SPCA casts a shadow on those people. He says other people will attend the meetings and relay information to him on what's going on in those meetings.

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