Fraud Alert for Animal Lovers: Beware of Animal Rescue Scams

Have you ever gotten a message on social media, containing a heartbreaking image of a shelter dog or cat, urging you to donate money immediately to help save its life?  The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has issued a fraud alert, warning animal lovers to take a closer look at who is asking for donations before sending any money.

According to the LADA’s website, so-called “animal shelter scammers” could be preying on your compassion.  These people will actually visit shelters, take pictures of animals in cages, and then post them on social media, warning people that they are in danger of dying in a “high-kill shelter” unless they receive your money to help rescue them.  Sometimes they also use old pictures of shelter animals that they have taken from animal welfare websites around the country.

Besides social media, these images can also be posted on flyers and could be sent to you via email or regular mail.  Some scammers will even call you on the phone.

How can well-meaning animal lovers protect themselves from this type of animal rescue scam?  The LADA offers the following common-sense tips:

  • Verify that the organization or person asking you for money is a legitimate 501(C)3 charity. This information should be readily available if the charity is real.
  • Double check the information on the specific animal. Is it a real animal currently housed in a shelter that is in imminent danger of euthanasia?
  • If the animal is currently living in a shelter, talk to the shelter directly and ask them what is being done to help the animal. Are they authorizing anyone to solicit funds to save the animal from euthanasia?

Obviously, many legitimate animal welfare non-profits welcome your donation, but they certainly don’t want you to send your money to a 3rd party scammer using images of their animals to cheat you out of your hard-earned cash!

Interested in learning more?  The LADA has created a video about animal shelter scams which you can see here:

 

FACE Looks to the Future with Strategic Planning Retreat

FACE Foundation Board at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

The FACE Foundation Board recently returned from a strategic planning retreat, hosted by the Best Friends Animal Society at their Sanctuary, which is in beautiful Kanab, Utah.  Best Friends operates the largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals in the U.S.  Best Friends was founded thirty years ago by a small group of dedicated animal advocates who united together in the mission to save abused and abandoned companion animals, and end the euthanasia of these animals in our nation’s shelters.  They serve as a testament to what can be accomplished when people work together for a greater cause, and are a great inspiration to the members of the FACE team.

FACE Board President Cini Gannon Robb getting kisses from a furry friend.

This strategic planning retreat was completely underwritten by the Board so no FACE funds were used.  These sessions are generally held every 3-5 years, so there are always plenty of important topics to discuss.  They revisited FACE’s mission and vision, and friends of FACE can expect to see a fine-tuning of our vision statement soon.  The Board also discussed a revamping of our marketing and fundraising strategies.

FACE Board Member Dr. John Hart with a Best Friends pup.

Other exciting news to come out of the strategic planning retreat?  We plan to revisit our granting process to put more trust in our valued veterinary partners when it comes to determining how FACE grants will be distributed to pet owners facing financial hardship due to emergency and critical care veterinary services.

FACE Executive Director Brooke Haggerty and a fuzzy little friend.

We also are very interested in finding ways to help cases that might not be “immediately life-threatening” but the animals’ quality of life would be drastically and negatively impacted without veterinary care.  This would potentially broaden our criteria for determining what kinds of cases we can help…with the ultimate goal of saving more lives!  At FACE, we remain united in the belief that no beloved family pet should be euthanized because of lack of funds to pay for critical veterinary care.  Thanks to all of our friends and supporters, we are working hard to make this goal a reality.

FACE Board hard at work!

 

“Words of Thanks” Video on FACE YouTube Channel

Hey, did you know that the FACE Foundation has its own YouTube channel?  We get so many wonderful letters from the families of pets saved with the help of FACE grants that we decided to make a video to share some of their kind words.  Hope you enjoy this heartwarming video as much as we do!

 

“Humane Puerto Rico” Initiative Gears Up to Save Animals

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The Humane Society of the United States recently announced the creation of their new “Humane Puerto Rico” initiative. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the U.S. and according to HSUS, there are many dogs, cats, and other animals there that are in urgent need of help. Did you know that the euthanasia rate for shelter dogs and cats is 95%, and that many thousands of homeless pets roam the streets of this island?

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What will the initiative do? There will be a multi-faceted effort to improve the lives of the animals of Puerto Rico in several areas, including:

  • Training law enforcement officers and prosecutors on animal cruelty crimes.
  • Donating law enforcement evidence-gathering kits.
  • Cracking down on puppy mills.
  • A humane education program that will reach every K-12 public school student.
  • New tools and technology for animal shelters on the island.
  • Partnering with Humane Society International on low-cost spay/neuter programs.

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Puerto Rican government officials signed an agreement pledging their cooperation to help solve critical issues such as animal cruelty, the street dog population, and the euthanasia rate. HSUS notes that many tourists visiting Puerto Rico have been struck by the number of homeless animals in poor condition wandering the streets, and have contacted various organizations to see what can be done.

Interested in learning more about the HSUS Humane Puerto Rico initiative? Click HERE for the original story.  For an update on what’s been going on lately, including a contraception program for the free-roaming horses of Vieques, and the launch of the Sister Shelter Project, in which shelter professionals from several states will provide assistance to Puerto Rican shelters, click HERE.