Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Did Gail Benoit pose as a dog sitter to steal someone's dogs?

One of the most inventive (allegedly) dog flippers in all of Canada has her name in the news for the second time this month - Gail Benoit has been accused of using a false name and posing as a dog sitter to only sell the dogs she took in to look after - and now the victims have multiplied - not only the original dog owner was victimized, but so have the people the dogs were sold to.

If this story is true - I have said it before, I really wish this lady would use her very obvious unimaginable sales skills for good rather then evil. Can you imagine the things she could do if she worked for some non profit group instead of peddling the death and sadness that she's been doing for the last 20 years.

Read the below stories and video links for more info on the current story - there is hopefully going to be some more disclosure - and perhaps charges later today.

Woman thinks pets were dognapped

Police probe report of theft

A woman in Saint John, N.B., says she worries about her beloved boxers, Diamond and Bentley.

Cassie Craft believes the two were dognapped by Gail Benoit, a Nova Scotia woman who has a previous conviction for selling sick and dying puppies.

Meanwhile, Bridgewater police say they were contacted by someone who may have bought the dogs locally and is now wondering if they were stolen.

“We are actively working with some people that have approached the Bridgewater Police Service wanting to find out if the dogs in their possession were stolen and what’s going on here,” Const. William Creamer said Tuesday.

Craft said she needed a place to board her dogs temporarily while she studied accounting and worked full time. She found a place last November through an online site.

Craft said she was later convinced, based on photos she has seen, that the person to whom she entrusted her precious dogs — dogs she hasn’t seen since — was Gail Benoit.

“I guess it was Gail Benoit, but she told me her name was Ashley,” Craft said.

“She didn’t actually tell me her last name. She emailed me and I’m not really positive what her last name came up (as).

“I think she said Bent.”

The arrangement was that the dogs would be cared for over a period of a month or so.

Craft and her father drove the dogs from Saint John to a home in Waverley.

“That’s where she was supposed to babysit (the dogs), at her place,” Craft said.

“I kept checking on them and saying, ‘Oh, I miss them so much, how are they doing?’ and she said, ‘Oh, they’re doing great. My husband loves them.’”

At first, the dog sitter replied by email. Then the messages stopped.

“She disconnected her phone,” Craft said.

Her father went to the home a couple of times but was unable to find anyone there, she said.

Craft said someone then warned her the woman could have been Benoit and showed her a photo of Benoit online.

“I know that it was her,” Craft said.

Benoit rents a home on Beechcrest Drive in Waverley and has lived there almost a year, her landlord, Chang Lin, said Tuesday.

“They always have a couple of little dogs,” he said.

Lin said he was unaware of any allegations involving Benoit.

“As long as they pay rent there’s not much I can say about them,” the landlord said.

Although some phone numbers Benoit once used have been disconnected, a gravelly voiced woman is heard on one number saying “Ms. Benoit” when the caller is prompted to leave a message.

Benoit didn’t return calls on Tuesday.

“I know what happened to them,” Craft said of her beloved boxers. “She sold them.”

Craft has heard that her dogs are in Bridgewater and are OK. She wants them back.

Scott Saunders, an animal advocate in the Annapolis Valley, has worked with Kijiji website administrators for more than a year to filter out questionable dog-for-sale ads he believes are posted by Benoit.

He alleges she is now enlisting others to post ads on her behalf by pretending she needs help using a computer.

“We will continue to exhaust ourselves, battling this woman,” Saunders said. “We will not go away. We will not give up.

“But ultimately it is up to the authorities to realize that this is a chronic issue that needs to be addressed.”

Benoit, 42, and her partner Dana Bailey, 50, were convicted in 2009 of animal cruelty for selling sick puppies.

Benoit was also convicted of assaulting an SPCA officer, her third conviction since 1994 for assaulting a peace officer.

The trial was tied to the seizure of 10 pups from their Roxville, Digby County, home in October 2007.

They were fined $1,500 each and Benoit was jailed for 21 days for resisting arrest. She was handed a suspended sentence for the assault.

At sentencing, the Crown alleged the couple had sold up to 30,000 dogs in 13 years.

The CTV news clip from January 29th can be found here -

The CTV news piece from January 28th can be found here -

It says -

A New Brunswick woman claims she has been cheated out of her dogs, possibly by a woman convicted of animal cruelty.

Cassie Craft says she boarded her two Boxers, Diamond and Bentley, when she returned to school in November after realizing she couldn’t care for the dogs while working and attending school.

She began looking for help and after exhausting her search in the Saint John area, a Nova Scotia woman answered her online ad.

Cassie Craft believes her beloved pet Boxers have been stolen and sold and she wants them back.
Craft reluctantly moved the dogs to the Halifax area on a temporary basis and kept in regular contact with their keeper for awhile.

“She emailed me and she said they’re doing great. She talked to me on the phone and said they’re doing great, and then all of a sudden I stopped getting emails.”

Another ad appeared online around the same time the emails stopped, offering to sell two dogs similar to Craft’s.

Craft grew concerned when she saw the ad, and went online saying her dogs might have been stolen and sold by the same woman with whom she entrusted their care.

“Her name was Ashley, as I knew her, and then after I put that ad out, people started emailing me her name was Gail.”

What Craft learned next shocked her.

“I searched her on YouTube and Google and that’s where I seen everything and I recognized her.”

Craft says the woman is Gail Benoit, who has been convicted of animal cruelty in the past.

CTV News phoned the number included in the ad, but it has since been disconnected. Other attempts to contact Gail Benoit were unsuccessful.

Police in Bridgewater say they have only just begun looking into the case, conducting only a portion of the interviews they need.

They aren’t releasing any information just yet, but indicated they may release information about the case later this week.

Meanwhile, Craft says she has spoken to those who bought the dogs she claims are hers.

“They basically told me…that they don’t want to deal with people saying that their dogs are stolen and they bought them and they said they bought them from some girl in a black SUV.”

Craft says she is worried about her dogs and has learned a hard lesson. She hopes her dogs will be returned to her, and if they are, she says she won’t let them out of her sight again.

She says she will also have trouble trusting others in the future.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Stuff to do coming up

There's some fun stuff to do coming up - so I thought I'd list some of them here -

The first thing coming up is a cat event - but it's dog friendly, and I'm helping to organize it, so it qualifies to be listed here!

It's the next Meow Mover - a super adoption event and fund raiser for several different cat rescues that's being held at the Chocolate Lake Best Western Hotel on February 9th from 10am to 2pm on 20 Saint Margaret's Bay Road in Halifax - admission is $1.00 - and it's being held by Second Chance Charity for Animals.

The cutest kittens in the HRM will be there waiting to be adopted - and there will be free tea and coffee to warm you up - and lots of cat themed items to buy - and you'll be raising funds for much needed local cat rescues - you can't lose by attending this function.

And the funniest thing is - it's the same weekend as the Halifax Kennel Club's dog show being held the same weekend out at Exhibition Park - which you cannot take your dog to - but you can most certainly bring your dog to our cat event! Go figure!

And many thanks to the Chocolate Lake Hotel and Cocoa the dog for helping us put on this event!!

East Coast German Shepherd Rescue is putting on their 3rd Annual Dancing for Dogs Valentines Day Dance at the Cole Harbour Fire Hall, 1150 Cole Harbour Rd., Dartmouth, N.S. - also on Saturday February 9th - from 8pm to 1am - their ad says - "Join us for dancing, door prizes, 50/50 draw and more. Only $10 per person. We will also be selling tickets on a chance to win a romantic getaway to the Clockmakers Inn, Windsor, NS. All money raised at this event will help us pay down our vet bill" - sounds like fun to me!

You can find out more about the event on their facebook event page.

The premiere event of the winter is GPAC's Doggie Expo - being held this year on February 17th - it is an action packed day starting at 10am and ending at 3pm - held at the Halifax Forum - last year they had over 70 vendors - so hopefully this year will be just as busy - you can find out more at their facebook event page.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Local Journalism student does a story on my dogs

I was contacted last week by a University of King's college student who had found my blog who was doing a project on someone who was "obsessed" with something - and he figured I fit the bill - so he came over on Saturday and took a tour of my house and met the dogs and asked me a few questions - he was very nice, his name was Martin - and he sent me his story today and said I could put the article here - I thought it was very nice and well done - the dogs really liked him - even Bubby! So he must have been a really nice guy!

The first time I ever did a story with a King's student was way back in 2003, and since then I've done quite a few stories - I never turn them down because I graduated from there myself way back in 1987 - so I always say yes to whatever journalism type projects they want to do.

Here's the story he sent me.

Joan Sinden devotes her life to her five dogs, both online and off

Stepping into Joan Sinden’s quaint home in Spryfield was immediately a catalyst for
memories concerning my childhood wish list. A batch of yelping dogs and greeted me
that seemed all too eager to say hello, pushing against a small wooden gate that Sinden used whenever guests arrived. Suddenly, all my desires had been granted as I now had five dogs, four Bichon Frisé and one Jack Russel mix, jumping all over me. Euphoria is an understatement: I was a child.

Sinden’s affection for the four legged creatures far surpasses mine however. The family of dogs not only has a blog catering to their everyday actions but up to date social media reports such as Twitter, instagram, and Facebook to name a few. All of these have become very popular in the dog community gathering over a million hits. When asked about what differentiates dogs from all other domestic animals, Sinden replied that it was really a lifestyle choice.

“The quality of love is much greater. They’re good for cuddling. You can talk to them as well. Buttercup here pretty much speaks English at this point,” she said pointing over at the oldest bichon of the family, just gracing 18 years of age.

Sinden’s blog is littered with pretty much anything someone would want to know about
their dog and the Nova Scotia community. Outside of the general tips and tricks to keep your dog happy, a “Yelp”-esque service provides eager dog walkers with locations to visit.

“Point Pleasant Park is the number one location I would say for ‘off leash’. On leash
socialization is important too though. I like downtown or by the waterfront for this,” she said further explaining that different trails or streets catered to each of her dogs since some of them were very friendly, while others, who had endured unpleasant situations before being rescued, were not so much.

Sinden’s blog is also important for individuals thinking of purchasing their own canine companion. A central aspect of the blog is Sinden’s own battle against animal cruelty such as is present within Nova Scotia puppy mills and an infamous backyard puppy seller named Gale Benoit. Benoit is the subject of much controversy concerning the conditions in which she keeps her puppies before selling them.

“Before I built the Gale Benoit website, nothing would come up when you googled her. Now people know to stray away. She doesn’t scare me,” Sinden stated boldly.

As well, Sinden even performs Shikavati Budhist rituals for dogs that allow them to pass happily into the next life and undergo rebirth 49 days later.

“The regular ceremony that’s done for humans is read. We have pictures of the dogs that we burn up to allow safe passage,” she said.

Finally, I came upon the various urns containing her old pet’s ashes. Sinden made it clear to me that when she passed away, she would like to have her ashes mixed with those of her prior animals.

I entered Sinden’s home as a curious child and left it as one desperately wanting a canine companion after seeing the love present between owner and pet.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Gail Benoit gets caught conning woman out of litter of puppies

Gail Benoit has surfaced again - this time on local social media - Facebook.

And it is turning out that this is something she has done before. A lady was advertising her puppies on kijiji - and Gail contacted her that she wanted all the puppies - free to good home of course.

Gail wanted one for herself, one for family, and ones for a couple co-workers.

She even got the puppies delivered to her for free from Cape Breton because someone had posted that they were driving from Cape Breton and if anyone had anything they wanted delivered, they`d do it for free - so she emailed them that her puppies needed a drive up.

The guy who delivered the puppies to her said she looked familiar, so when he got home he did a google search on her name - and when he saw her picture, he immediately knew who she was - and that`s how we`ve come to know what she`s done this time.

And now that this has come to light - other people are coming forward with similar stories.

So once again - it`s another opportunity to get the word out there that - PLEASE - if you are looking for a canine companion - it doesn`t matter where you look for them - whether it`s from a rescue, from a breeder, from Kijiji - wherever - make sure you do not just pick them up at a neutral location - you MUST go see where they were living, you must make sure that there is some application process - you must also interview the person you are acquiring the animal from.

If you are giving the person money - you must get some value for the money. Do your research - at the very least - do a google search on the name of the person you are getting the animal from - if anything negative comes up - RUN FAST.

We now have a more than ten year history of news files about Gail Benoit and her partner Dana Bailey at

The reason I built that website was because when you did a google search on her name - nothing came up - nothing good, nothing bad - and that was wrong - if people wanted to find out anything about the puppy they had dying in front of them - they wouldn't be able to find out anything - and now they can.

There's also a lot of other people advocating to try to end dog brokers in Nova Scotia which is also fabulous - and they've got some great educational materials as well -

Here's a video with some voice mails from the lady herself -

Today the Facebook group "People for Dogs" issued a public warning about Gail Benoit that as of the evening of January 3rd had almost 3,600 shares, and 140 comments which is fabulous - the word is getting out there - they said "PUBLIC WARNING - Please be advised that convicted animal abusers and puppy traffickers Gail Benoit & Dana Bailey have recently conned a litter of puppies out of lady in Cape Breton. Not only did they use aliases to convince the lady to turn over the 5 pups, but also targeted and conned a good Samaritan into transporting them to the Fall River exit ramp for them. Although these actions by Gail Benoit & Dana Bailey are nothing new, it’s something that everybody should be aware of, and exercise extreme caution when being asked to hand over litters of puppies and/or provide transportation for puppies to Waverly / Fall River / HRM roadsides / parking lots."

Gail Benoit has said over and over that she will never stop selling puppies - and everytime she gives advocates in the dog community to provide educational opportunities about the way that she sells dogs - we will never stop trying to show people that there are safer and more humane ways to acquire puppies and dogs.

As a last note - you may ask why we think it's bad to get dogs from people like Gail Benoit - I had a comment left on one of my posts about Gail today that said "People don't want older dogs. Plain fact. This will continue forever"

The thing is - people like Gail Benoit don't care about the quality of product they are selling - they only care about getting the money out of your pocket.

And they've been very good at it - when they were on trial for animal abuse in 2008 they said under oath that they had sold more than 30,000 puppies in the past 16 years they'd been in business - that's a lot of puppies, and of course some of them would've had to be healthy.

But I continue on because I want to see Nova Scotia become a place where people know that you can get puppies at shelters, that if you want to get a puppy on kijiji - that you shouldn't meet the person in a parking lot - you should go to the person's home to meet the puppy's mom and dad - it's just common sense.

It's as simple as that - we do not need a middle man.

We have almost completely gotten rid of pet stores in Nova Scotia.

Now it's time to get rid of dog brokers. The time has come.

The law definitely is not going to do it. Public education and pressure is.