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:
We’d like to share a bit of news about a project close to the heart of FACE’s very busy Humane Educator Annie Petersen: the SoulPaws Recovery Project. Besides the work she does with FACE to educate young people in our community about pets and animals, Annie has also worked with other organizations like the San Diego Humane Society and the Zoological Society of San Diego.
Annie, who holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Management, has also served as the President of the Association for Human-Animal Bond Studies. Currently, Annie works closely with an amazing organization called the SoulPaws Recovery Project, which she co-founded with Shannon Kopp. The mission of SoulPaws is to offer therapeutic support (including animal-assisted therapy) to those affected by eating disorders.
SoulPaws is dedicated to rescuing shelter animals and utilizing animal-assisted therapy to support sufferers of eating disorders. SoulPaws works with certified therapy animals as well as shelter animals. They also use other therapies like yoga, journaling, and art therapy. Their work was recently featured on the Huffington Post website. Be sure to check out the article and the SoulPaws website to learn more about this great non-profit.
We are very grateful to have such an amazing advocate as part of the FACE team. Thank you for all you do for the animals…and people…in our community, Annie!
Wishing all of our friends a Happy Thanksgiving! We’d like to extend a special thanks to our partners at the Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo for their generous grant to FACE’s Save-A-Life Program pet cancer fund. Cute little Chaquita is just one of the recipients of this grant. She received assistance in October and is doing well. Check our Facebook page in the coming weeks to see more cancer fund recipients.
San Diego Pets Magazine has chosen FACE grantee Edwin Rivers and his dog Myles for their 2016 Animal Impact Award! Edwin and Myles share a very special bond, and we are proud to be a part of their heartwarming story.
Edwin was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after his military service during Operation Desert Storm in 1990-91. Edwin received treatment for his PTSD, but nothing made more of a positive impact than when he got a 9 month old shepherd mix named Myles. Edwin took Myles in for a friend who could no longer care for him. Myles soon became a comforting presence in his life and helped ease the symptoms of his PTSD.
In 2015, Myles fell and broke his femur. He needed emergency surgery that Edwin could not afford, as he was on a fixed income. The recommended alternative was euthanasia. Edwin reached out to FACE and received a grant for the life-saving operation for Myles. Myles has now fully recovered and Edwin has become a great advocate for FACE, volunteering and speaking about how he and Myles made such a positive impact on each other’s lives.