Nick Lee of Nicholas Guitars discusses raffle to benefit Millsboro rescued dogs.
Produced by Gino Fanelli
After hearing of the 14 dogs rescued from a Millsboro home, Nick Lee stayed up all night, tossing and turning due to the grim nature of the incident.
He contemplated how he could give back.
“I just couldn’t sleep at night after I heard about it,” the guitar maker said, his own rescue dog Tucker held on his lap. “I knew I wanted to do something, anything I could to help.”
The owner of Nicholas Lee Guitars, which based out of Lewes, referred to the case of Atwood Timmons, who was arrested on Friday, Nov. 25 following a raid of his property by officers with Delaware Animal Welfare. During the raid, officers located a total of 18 dogs, four dead and the remaining 14 in varying states of extreme neglect, a case which Delaware Animal Welfare supervisor Chief Mark Tobin described as “one of the worst cases of neglect we have seen.”
“It was obvious that the dogs had not received any care in a long while, and the conditions in which they were kept was appalling,” Tobin said, in a release from the Division of Public Health.
Timmons was charged with over 100 various violations, including 18 counts of animal cruelty. He was arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court Three and is being held on $60,000 bond. His pretrial hearing is scheduled for Dec. 15.
All 14 dogs are being held at the Brandywine Valley SPCA, some in need of 24 hour monitoring, including intensive heart worm treatment and psychological rehabilitation.
To help the dogs, Lee will be raffling off 14 custom shop guitars, one for each dog, honored with a laser-etching on the body of the guitar. At $10 an entry, the drive has garnered $6,723 in donations over three days.
Proceeds from the raffle will go toward the SPCA’s efforts to rehabilitate the dogs, as well as to potential permanent adopters of the rehabilitated dogs.
“What we want to do is, when these guitars are delivered, to bring the dog with us to the winner,” Lee said. “That way, they can really see the dog they helped save.”
Fourteen neglected dogs rescued from a property in Millsboro are receiving medical and rehabilitative care at the Brandywine Valley SPCA.
Lee, however, is uncertain if all of the dogs will be able to visit their donors, as the SPCA has advised him that some of the dogs will be in treatment for months.
“These dogs will have a long road of recovery ahead of them,” Chief Executive Officer for the Brandywine Valley SPCA Adam Lamb said, in a release.
The cause is one that sat close to the shop’s hearts, said Ariel Stevenson, an exclusive custom shop artists with with Nicholas Lee Guitars.
“We’re the kind of people that if there’s a spider in the house, we have to take it outside,” Stevenson said. “When we heard what had happened, we knew we had to do something.”
The guitars being raffled are custom-built from scratch and are high-end electric guitars, valued at around $5,000, with a dual-cutaway body design, twin humbucker pickups, Lee’s signature headstock design and pineapple fret board inlays.
“These are some of our best guitars, and we want the people who eventually get them to know that they made a difference,” Lee said.
Just a week after the rescue, Lee’s shop was whirling, as he and quality controller Mike Palladino sanded down pallets of South American wood for the guitars.
From the spotted twirls of leopard wood to the brilliant violet of purpleheart, Lee and Palladino shaped what will someday serve as backdrops for delicate blues plucks and fiery rock and roll riffs.
As a small company, Lee said that he wants to keep his values at the forefront, and when the opportunity arises to help, he’s eager to jump in.
“When you hear about things like this, you just want to take all of those dogs yourself, not to mention what you want to do to the guy who did it,” Lee said. “Obviously, we can’t do that, but this is our way of showing that we care and giving back.”
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