Sammye Leflar-Bohnstehn and two of her “adoptables” a Chi-weeny (right) and a Chihuahua-terrier mix. (Jessica Palmer Photo)
Sammye Leflar-Bohnstehn has a name almost as long as she is tall. Standing at 5 feet 2 inches, she is a bundle of energy and enthusiasm about her chosen passion. She is one of Roswell’s newest volunteers in the area of animal rescue.
Not that Sammye is a newcomer to the field. She developed a Facebook page, Doggy Saviors, a nationwide endeavor that allows individuals, organizations and shelters to post dogs who are on what she calls “death row,” with the goal to find them new homes. In July 2005, she received The Animal Kingdom Kindred Spirit Award from the Doris Day Animal League for her humanitarian work. In the past she adopted dogs from as far west as California and as far east as Florida.
The love of animals is a family affair. Her husband Tim is helping her set up a 501(c)3 animal welfare charity. Her brother rescues animals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Her mother used to say that if she were a rich woman, she’d spend all her money on animal welfare.
Sammye grew up in Munday, Texas, a small town which she quips is halfway between Sunday and Tuesday. She married when she was 16 years old. One of her first jobs was with Skaggs Alpha Beta grocery stores, where she worked her way up the ladder into marketing. She moved to Lincoln in 1995, where she stayed until she got a job as sales representative for the state lottery.
She and her husband came to Roswell 12 years ago from Lincoln because the city marks the center of her territory with the lottery. Recently, Sammye has directed her humanitarian efforts closer to home. She concentrates on animal cruelty cases. “There’s too much abuse in this town. I’d like to see a kinder, gentler Roswell.”
To date, Sammye has taken a dozen into her care. Among the current population is one mother dog with nine pups, one Chi-weeny and one Chihuahua-terrier mix, but space is limited. Still she says, “I’m just getting warmed up.”
Sammye has purchased the domain name roswelldogs.com. Although she admitted the site has yet to be built, she hopes it will eventually act as an animal information network and exchange, with a directory for lost, found and adoptable pets.
Right now her organization is in its infancy. “I get information from Animal Control when there’s an abuse case to take to the vet,” she explained. Sammye says she has been blessed by finding a sympathetic veterinarian, Becky Washburn-Brown, of Capitan. Sammye gets daily reports on the dogs she has turned over to her vet’s care. “Becky helps place many dogs in new homes.”
Sammye is actively looking for foster homes. She would like to see more adoption events, such as last year’s Adopt-a-thon. Like many, Sammye advocates responsible neutering. She points to the Animal Services statistics. “The figures are staggering. In November, 562 animals were put down. Only 45 were adopted. Everyone in Roswell expects Animal Control to clean up their mess.”
She plans to take her campaign to City Hall, where she hopes to persuade city government to become one of the cities in the No Kill Nation. The organization No Kill Nation provides resources and support for local and state governments, and private and municipal shelters that work under a no-kill policy. She would like to see the city adopt licensing of dog breeders. Already there is a move afoot to license breeders in Roswell, which would also include a premises check. “A lot of dogs are inbred. These people don’t really want a pet; they just want to make money.”
She has two dogs ready to adopt. She has a contract and home checks for her adoptables and asks only for reimbursement of neutering fees. She would like other animal lovers and potential “foster humans” to contact her via her Facebook page, Doggy Saviors, which she says can be found by a simple Facebook search. Sammye monitors it every day.