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Theft allegation behind Vernon dog rescue closure

One of many dogs posted for adoption through Saving Grace.
Image Credit: Saving Grace Dog Rescue
December 09, 2015 - 2:30 PM

VERNON - A controversial dog rescue in Vernon shut down its operations last week largely because of a specific allegation of theft involving the rescue's president caught on video, sources tell

According to a volunteer, who has not yet agreed to be quoted for this story, she found her wallet missing following a Nov. 29 fundraiser at the Barley Mill Pub in Penticton. She said surveillance video from the pub showed president Kimberly Gillis going through her purse and taking her wallet. It was later found in the van Gillis drove to the event, the volunteer says.

Penticton RCMP has confirmed it's investigating the allegation. No charges have been laid and the allegations have not been proven in court. Numerous attempts to reach Gillis for comment have been ignored.

Members of the board of the rescue society were shown the video, two independent sources have confirmed. A third source who was at the event confirms she saw the video and that it clearly shows Gillis taking the wallet. Most board members resigned after witnessing it.

A statement posted on the rescue's Facebook page last week stated: "Due to unforeseen circumstances, Saving Grace is unable to continue and remain in accordance with non-profit society regulations, therefore cannot be run at this time.’

One North Okanagan volunteer who asked not to be named says "for many it was the straw that broke the camel's back." The incident coincided with an investigation into numerous questionable practices by the rescue. Several former volunteers said the society took in more dogs than it could handle, complained about lack of care for the animals, being asked to steal dogs, animals re-homed without proper supports and all the while collecting thousands of dollars in adoption fees that remain unaccounted for. One volunteer accused Gillis of "flipping dogs for profit."

Read previous stories about the rescue here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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