Nov 04

Great Animal Rescue or Great Scam? A Complete Guide by Alison Hector ©

Huff - anactofdog.org art graciously provided please support them! This is a real dog that was killed.

Huff – anactofdog.org art graciously provided please support them! This is a real dog that was killed.





We are approaching the dawn of a new era. For the first time in history there are over 70 open admission No Kill shelters spanning more than 200 cities, towns and communities. New communities are appearing almost monthly. An emphasis by the public on saving pets from kill shelters is more popular than ever.

In tandem with this effort to save pets from kill shelters has grown the number of rescues necessary to save their lives. There is an estimated 20000 rescues across the country according to the ASPCA and Petfinder lists at least 13000 shelters and rescues online.

Most rescues are motivated by their love of animals and truly are the backbone of all lifesaving from kill shelters in the country today. If not for their dedication, time, perseverance and altruism the numbers killed would increase by millions per year. When done often and right it is exhausting but exhilarating with some heartache thrown in for good measure. And it’s expensive. It costs a great deal to pull these animals and to care for their myriad of issues medically as well as to provide daily food, care and shelter until adopted. Most rescues are never short on compassion but most are operating on a shoestring budget and continually must receive funding in order to survive.

However, the public loves companion animals and are willing to dig deep to see them saved, especially if they are not in a position to foster or adopt more themselves. The internet facilitates the impulse and mechanism of donating with ease. Unfortunately for these same reasons some “rescues” have arisen that are not completely ethical and whose main goal is to make money for themselves. These less than savory rescues have honed social media heartwrenching down to an economic science.

One fantastic tool for all rescues is Facebook. A network of followers can be built and expanded. Links can be included to accept donations and to the rescues website if they have one.The popularity of the rescue on Facebook however, does not always correlate with it’s integrity. A long time ago, when the Internet first became commercially feasible there was a cartoon in the New Yorker. It was a dog typing on a keyboard in front of the computer and the caption read “No one knows I am a dog on the Internet”. That still holds true today. Because on the Internet a glib, maudlin, catchy story or appealing presence may not reveal the reality of those we deal with.

Many rescues appear worthy and most of us have a limited amount of disposal income to part with. So the question becomes how can you tell is the rescue asking for funds on the Internet is credible.

The main goal of a real and worthy rescue (other than those that state they are a sanctuary) is to take in and then adopt out companion animals. This is the type of rescue we are examining in this article. They want to do this as often as possible because they are in the business of saving lives and it’s a number game. The more they pull – the more they adopt out – the more they save. In order to do this successfully the real rescues need to employ a series of lifesaving mechanisms. If they are not performing any or few of these strategies they are most likely not saving very many lives.

The worthiness of the rescue often does not correlate with the amount in funding it receives. Often those factors have an inverse relationship because small hard working rescues don’t have time to do the marketing that makes others so popular, real rescues are too busy saving animals lives. Also worthy rescues would never engage in the type of unethical sales strategies that sometimes result in the most donations.

Here are some GUIDELINES and factors to help determine if you should donate to the rescue or not:

1. Donate locally.

Do you personally know these people?

Can you visit their facility if they have one?

Can you visit their foster homes or adoption events?

2. If you choose to donate to people with rescues you have only seen online and on Facebook proceed with great caution.

An overriding rule of thumb is to follow the money trail. Ascertain how much they are receiving in cash or goods and exactly how it is all being used. Is it documented? If not – stay clear.

Many will hide behind their cover of a 501 c 3 Federal IRS tax exempt status. The IRS liberally grants the 501 c 3 designation to animal welfare organizations. Just because they bamboozled the IRS into receiving that designation does not mean they are credible. The questions the IRS asks to receive this ability to collect tax free money is not necessarily an indicator nor deterrent to those that plan to misuse this status to fraudulently steal your cash. In fact these unsavory rescues are literally banking on that status to gain your instant trust and as a lure since donations are tax deductible to the contributor.

3. Avoid rescues that do the following:

* Sound like a country western song with their constant tales of woe – if they are using a constant string of personal tragedies to lure you in then whether they are for real or not, they are not in a great

position to care for animals when they cannot even take care of themselves adequately

*Avoid those that use manipulation to tug on your heart and wallet strings

– Beg for money because they are themselves near starvation and can barely pay their bills

– Discuss their personal tragedies and how it is affecting their ability to care for animals

For example if they state they had a break in and are asking for a large sum of money to allegedly replace what was stolen because without it they and the animals are going to starve or be severely harmed – you must question this. How do you know that actually happened? Ask for facts – who what where how and double check. For example was a police report filed? Were people really arrested as alleged? Etc. Don’t hesitate to call the police to check. You need to be able to ascertain that their sob story facts did in fact occur. If not do NOT give them a penny. This type of story is a RED FLAG and most credible rescues wouldn’t capitalize on it even if true.

4. Avoid those that refuse to be transparent and answer questions about anything regarding their rescue

– Note if on Facebook or on websites or blogs if they have specific questions and answers regarding facts about their rescue, if not beware

– Do they answer rescue related or specific animals in their care questions posed by others? If no then stay clear.

– Ask for copies of their 990 (IRS tax return) and application to obtain the 501 c 3 status. If they refuse

to give it to you – report them to their state Attorney General’s Office and the IRS.

5. Avoid those that do not clearly report and identify how many they rescue and adopt out

6. Stay clear of rescues that on their Internet presence post few pics of those they claim to have up for adoption or is in foster.

* Avoid them if there are very few if any local people commenting on the pets in their care they have seen, adopted, or fostered.

7. Steer clear of those that do have an internet presence but mainly post pics of themselves with the pets

NOTE. Real rescues usually have pics only of the pets in their care and the only humans in their pics are usually happy adopters.

*A real rescue does not have time to for cutesy or heart wrenching blogs with many details that are irrelevant to specific pets they are trying to get adopted out. Avoid.

8. Steer clear of rescues that have blogs that focus on a myriad of tragedies specifically geared to get you to DONATE NOW, but not to necessarily get the pet in the story adopted. No pet in the story? Then doubly avoid.

9. Avoid them if they don’t have a clear focus on adopting their pets out. Everything they write and every action they take should have rehoming the pets in their care as a priority ( unless they are clearly a stated sanctuary) Always keep in mind the lifesaving worthiness of a rescue is may be evaluated by how many and how often they take in and then adopt out, as this continual, difficult and expensive process is the ONLY way more can be saved.

*Avoid the rescue if they have many posts about non pet related subjects such as smiley face or arts.

* Avoid them if even in jest they discuss doing anything illegal including drugs use.

NOTE. If the rescue in question saves a few but doesn’t clearly focus their efforts on rehoming the pets so that they can continue to pull and save more, and instead only keeps asking the public to DONATE NOW, avoid at all costs.

10. Avoid the rescue if they or associated businesses have fake reviews per Yelp, Google or other review sites

* Avoid the rescue if they fund raise in the memory of pets that are actually still alive or conversely fund raise for pets that are non-existent or actually already dead.

11. Avoid with all cost if the rescue sues anyone for changing their mind about donating!

REDFLAG. Especially avoid rescues that slander those that question their transparency or because they have asked valid questions, as a smokescreen to divert attention away from their lack of being forthright. This is especially true when the defamation in turn actually may have the effect of then harming more pets because those being slandered are also in animal welfare or rescue. If unsure of motives always ask who has the most to gain financially in the situation?

NOTE. Just because a rescue has many followers or “likes” on Facebook does not mean they are on the up and up. It may be that they lucked into a gimmick or became associated with a popular Facebook page. It may just mean they understand human psychology, how to play people like a time worn violin, and are fantastic at marketing aimed at kind people’s vulnerable soft spots for animals.

Many times these organizations are so bold they are clearly not what they purport to be if looked at with a knowledgeable eye and/or are receiving more in funds than they should be, given their actual rate of lifesaving but the public is unaware of how to evaluate a credible rescue. Even on the face of their own stories, their rescue doesn’t justify the amounts collected, but people are sucked in by their clever stories and don’t know what the hallmarks are of a good rescue that deserves funding really looks like.

Even when the less than honorable rescue has posts regarding a pet in their care, they insert themselves often into the story and do not focus on information relevant to getting the pet adopted. They discuss and use emotions designed to get the public donate. They also often focus on the “irresponsible public” and use fictionalized details of sometimes even exaggerated abuse that they could not possibly know. Here is an example of a story from a rescue that employs this emotional manipulation to receive donations but does not focus on getting this pet adopted and one should be cautious about donating to :

“I received a desperate call. The woman was crying so hysterically I barely could understand what was being said. I told her not to worry I am there for her, please calm down. Her neighbor was frequently starving and beating a dog that was tied to a tree. The neighbor moved away and left her there. She described the many scars and how deep they were. I also started crying as I always do whenever I hear cases of such abuse. She left many messages, at many rescues but they never called her back or just told her to call me since everyone knows I am the only one to always lend a helping hand. I was very busy with my many dogs and myself crying hysterically over having to put one down but of course I made time to call her back right away! Plus I freakin love unadoptable dogs! I heard the desperation in her voice as she cried “ Please please help me – you are the only one that might and animal control wants to kill him right away”So, I took a deep breath, and said yes I am the angel you were searching for but I have to be honest with you. ( Side note – these phoney rescues use the words “being honest” quite frequently in their writings)I said as much as I want to help this poor dog, I’m beyond over-loaded with rescue dogs right now, so I’m not really sure that I can help. But I promise I’m willing to do everything I can to try and find someone else who can.
Then… I heard hysterical crying on the other end of the line.
She screamed out “Ellen please!I am begging you! I’ve already tried everyone else. Anyone who was willing to talk to me… was only willing to help… by giving me your number. If you can’t help this dog… you and I both know… no one will… and she will die!”I knew she was right. So, I promised to contact her back after back and hung up. I reviewed our limited funds to see if I could help or not. Even though we couldn’t really afford it I called her back because I didn’t want the dog to die. I wasn’t sure of what I was even going to say I was so upset for that poor innocent baby. Then I just blurted out “when can you be here”The next morning, the lady and her family drove more than 6 hours to deliver my new baby to All Dog Rescue. When they arrived, it was love at first sight.
I named her Peace because I had to pick up the pieces of her broken soul.
And in return, Peace’s smile reminded me… of what I do… and why I do it. It’s never about me. It’s always about them. (NOTE – this type of story IS about the rescuer as much or more than the pet) And when they really need you…
you always find a way…
*Peace has a long expensive road of recovery ahead. In addition to her many injuries inflicted by careless mean owners & massive additional issues, she is also heartworm positive, which requires even more extensive, costly treatment. If you’d like to contribute to Peace’s care and her future, please Donate NOW.”

* Pics are included of the rescuer with the dog – hugging and kissing her*

So here at Pet Advocates Network we will give you  GUIDELINES on how to evaluate dollar worthy rescues so funding can go where it does the most good:

A Good and Worthy Rescue:

1. Has a mission statement. It is usually to save as many shelter pets as possible by pulling them from shelters and then adopting them out. That is usually their number one goal – to get them into forever homes. Or they also more rarely accept owner relinquished pets directly or are a sanctuary that does not adopt out. In any event their goals should be clearly stated and then clearly followed.

If you want to donate only to rescue that claims it is “no kill” you must examine that claim.

2. The worthy rescue is transparent and hows no problem listing and answering the following questions:

If possible use one year as the uniform specified period of time with most recent stats possible

*How many pets do you save/take in over a specified period of time?

*How many do you adopt out over a specified period of time?

*How many do you euthanize over a specified period of time?

*Under what conditions do you euthanize?

*Do you kill for space?

*How many are currently in your care?

*What are you hours I can visit?

*What is your address and phone number?

*Do you rescue pets from your local shelter?

*Where do the pets come from?

* Who is your vet?

* How much did you receive in contributions for said specified period of time?

* Exactly how were the goods and money used?

*Where may I get a copy of your 990? * see note on 501 c 3

*If not a 501 c 3 why not?

*How many employees do you have? Volunteers? Fosters?

*How do your market you pets?

*Do you have adoption events?

*Do you have a website?

*Are there current pics of the pets?

*Do you have an up to date Rescue Groups, Petfinder or AdoptaPet account and listings?

*Do you have applications to volunteer, foster and adopt?

3. If they have an Internet presence they liberally use photos of the pets in their care. Photos are the number one way to get a pet adopted as well as receive donations for that particular pet in need:

*They post photos of all those in their care. That includes those they take into their facility or foster homes

* They post photos of all those adopted

* They post photos of adoption events.

* They DON’T post endless photos of themselves with the pets.


* Sometimes a less than honorable rescue will save a few animals and post a few pics of the small amount they are actually taking care of or have in vet care. They use this lure to get the good hearted public to donate more to them with claims of their saving many more than are shown or identified.

* If they refuse to show photos of all those they say they have saved or have continual excuses for not putting them up. DON’T give them a penny. (The photos of those still in the shelter that the rescue claims they will be pulling don’t count) The photos should be at their location and that should be made obvious. Photos should be recent and kept updated.

4. A worthy rescue has a description of each pet in their care they are trying to rehome and any background of the pet that is known. Also the needs of the pet and what type of home he or she would be well suited for.

REDFLAG. Avoid those that insert their own emotion into the description geared to manipulate for more donations. For example, discussing how they cried hysterically or every other tear jerking ploy or phrase that is not relevant to getting the pet adopted.


Hi my name is Spot and I am a working guard dog. I need an experienced, working dog owner. I came to All Dogs Rescue when another rescue refused to take me because I bit during my transport. The transporter was told to take me back to the shelter where I came from and have me put down. The transporter could not do this so she called us and asked if they could help train me. I was not neutered, had a nasty and painful ear infection and was skinny and starving. ADR is collecting proceeds to assist with this. When the trainer at ADR tried to give me food, I jumped at her and tried to bite the can. She says I was allowed to have these bad manners with other people, but she would not tolerate me acting that way, so straightened me up. My foster mom told me it was a matter of life or death, but I didn’t understand what that meant, I just know she was serious about getting me trained. Now she says I am ready for a home with an experienced owner.
What a perfect home would have: A home with an experienced working dog owner. A person who understands how to be the top dog or leader and the need for exercise. NO Children, small dogs or cats.

Several appealing photos of the dog from various angles are included in the post.

5. A worthy rescue’s entire Internet presence is geared toward getting it’s pets adopted and the following applies to those that are on the Internet.

6. A credible rescue focuses ONLY on marketing their pets, medical care, adoption events, securing volunteers and fosters. In addition to what should constitute a majority of their posts is featuring the pets they have in their care, these are the only other elements they concentrate on. They individual rescuers DON’T focus on themselves, they don’t have cutesy irrelevant stories or post long tear stricken stories about the ones they had to euthanize .

7. A worthy rescue frequently discusses and actively, overtly uses methods for getting pets adopted and that  encompasses up to date listings and having a Petfinder account and/or an Adopt a pet account, since these are the two most frequently visited websites used by the public to search for a rescue pet.

8. A worthy rescue lists and shows on their website all the ways it is marketing pets to get them adopted. It shows how the public can get involved with specific events or endeavors that result in adoptions. That is usually the main focus of the website.

9. A valid rescue has up to date working links to their applications for fosters, volunteers and adopters. This is a must for credible rescues that exist to save animals by getting them rehomed. RED FLAG. If a rescue does not have any type of these applications easily available or the link continually says “page not available” then avoid.

10. A valid rescue is known and respected by it’s LOCAL community. They often support local businesses in a symbiotic relationship. Don’t hesitate to inquire around. In addition they do not trash other local rescues so as to make sure only they are donated to instead. (Inquiring into a rescues claims or transparency is NOT trashing them. Making up slanderous lies is)

11. A worthy rescue with many resources and plentiful of funding does not send stray dogs on their property to a high kill shelter

On a personal note I believe a rescue that supports and defends kill shelters and does not advocate for shelter reform should be avoided as well as those that purport to be no kill simply to gain more donations but are not.

In sum, it is easy to fall for the heart wrenching Madison Ave infomercial appeal of some less than honorable rescues because of their manipulation and fairy tale quality. Just because they are popular on Facebook or have used that to leverage media does not mean they are worthy of your donation.

In a final analysis the most worthy rescues are putting all their efforts into continual life saving and not busy with writing fairy tales to win a popularity contest and for max donations.

Some less than honorable rescues won’t focus on adopting out their pets or bringing more in even though they ironically have the most resources, because that takes time, money and work. Some will also kill the animals in their care calling it “the last act of kindness” instead of spending their time and money donated to rehome them for the same reasons. What they care most about is taking your money.

Then ask yourself should you give another penny to, vote for, or support a rescue that already for example has well over $100000 or a significant amount in donations for the year, is not transparent, and has just a few animals total with few ever adopted out despite a wealth of resources to do so but instead writes good heart wrenching stories OR should you donate to a rescue with no personal or engaging hard luck tales, but is busy trying to save from death row and is verifiably adopting out as many as possible with little support or funding and badly needs your donation?

If you really want to help save lives, before you give another penny determine if the rescue meets or defeats the guidelines and criteria listed above.

By Alison Hector, Esq. © 2012


6 pings

  1. Rose Marie

    Speaking of fake rescues, I have now asked a certain rescue three times where I can get a copy of the latest 990 form. Crickets.

    1. admin

      Thank you Rose Marie. As discussed in the article that is certainly suspicious and you can take further action.

      1. kelley

        Just a note – many animal rescues have less than a certain amount of income – I believe it is $20,000 – and thus do not have to fill out a complete 990 – instead they fill out a 990-N, which is just a statement that their donations totalled less than x and I don’t believe those are listed on Guidestar.

        1. admin

          It is $25000. Thanks Kelley!

          1. Jen

            I think most 990s are on guidestar. There is a website you can check to see if they are current on their 990-Ns but there is no copies you receive to hand out to people if they ask.

          2. Antoinette Ticali

            A no kill shelter seems to be the safer bet but where to a legit one I even know the human society puts the animals downafter I went to benifit to help them can you help I am thinking of putting one as a beneficiary


    2. admin

      Also if a rescue is less than a year old they may not have submitted an annual return of any sort. You can ask any 501 c 3 for the application that the IRS approved them with. Often that is more telling than the 990’s – especially the postcard version. If for example they don’t put down they get a salary but are living off the donations in reality that is not legal.

    3. Jaime

      They have to give you these Documents – You can report them for Non Compliance – Please Email me and I will tell you How to do it


      1. Tex

        I would like an email address. I have had a nightmare of and adoption.

        1. admin

          Hi Tex, Whose address did you need? Ali

      2. Lfgrady

        Can you tell me how to get these documents from a rescue.
        Thank you,

    4. someone who works in nonprofil law

      Some of this is misleading. Many small groups that intake less than $25,000 don’t even realize that their accountant send in a postcard — literally that is all it is– to the IRS. They have to have it pointed out to them numerous times. Many of these groups are small, and comprised of volunteers. It’s the law and it should be provided, but maybe be helpful and tell them where to get the documentation, or here’s a better idea, go to guidestar and register for a free account. The info is published. Chances are the expenditures are way more than you realize. Most groups can’t think annually, they think per animal. So if you see a lot of fundraisers, ask about the expenditures based on the funds raised but keep in mind the actual condition of the animal. I’ve seen rescued attacked for a dog that was pulled from a shelter after being either mauled or hit by a car and it spends 9 days in emergency care and they fundraiser raised $1500. The group is beyond gracious, but at the end of the day, that money was gone at day 2. Emergency care at a top notch facility when it is life saving is not cheap. One rule to remember if you are a not in the trenches — you are not in the trenches. I play both roles. Allows me some objectivity.

      1. Barbara Farnsworth


        1. admin

          What are the details?

    5. Steve Herman

      What are your thoughts about a Rescue NOT disclosing to the public that 95% of their animals they say they have rescued come from another Rescue out of State who also pays all the bills for those animals. They are called a satellite location and all they do is adopt the animals and the adoption fees go back to the people who sent them the animals.. They do not share or disclose how they truly operate. When they were asked about this on their Facebook Pages they skated around answering the questions by saying those who donate would answer the questions?? Dishonest or what?

      1. admin

        It sounds like they are saving animals. Satellite locations are a good strategy for most markets especially to accommodate supply and demand. They should be honest about this however and it is a red flag if they are not.

    6. Freya

      Dear Admin,

      Is there a way to contact you directly rather than post to a public message board?

      Thank you.

      1. admin


    7. Adrienne Caldwell

      Great article. I shared it around. I don’t even have my 501c filed yet as I’m too busy caring for the dogs. I fund everything completely myself and when I do become a 501c I’m not going to accept a salary. Sometimes it feels hopeless for the animals to find homes with so much predicated on how social media savy you are and whether or not you have the funds to pay great videographers, editors and a PR staff. I want noting to do with soliciting funding. The only purpose of the 501c status is lend legitimacy to the mission. I too am growing tired of all these sob stories with photos of injured dogs and comments like “..and then I realized that’s why I do what I do.” Help. Tissues and violins please.

    8. Susan Zekas

      I received adoptapet through the email on 6/1/16 from beaglesrgreat. I was interested in a pup named Angelica, I filed out an application and sent an email to have my application expedited per them! Her rescue price was 200.00. I received a email back right away informing me Angelica was no longer available, but her sister Angie’s cute and is available. I went back to the web sight and it stated all there puppy’s on line were adopted out, I emailed Michele from beaglesrgreat back and informed her none of the puppy’s are available for adoption. By the way she stated my application was perfect! I didn’t here anything back until 2:00 on 6/2/16 she sent me a text and said guess what the puppy is available but I need to pay more ! money in the amount of 400.00 due to more vets visits. I asked her if something was wrong with the puppy cause it had to see the vet more often. Her reply was She didn’t have to answer that question, and she decided not to let me adopt her, she will call another application that has no kid. My kid is 20 years old I have never heard of a foster acting or talking to anyone like that I’m ashamed for them and fear for those dogs and puppies in there possession. I have the copy of all emails mine and hers and would like to forward them to someone who could possibly help. I never responded to her last text as it was pointless. Please help I do charity work for shelters, walks for charitys . And I have adopted a abused puppy in the past and she’s my baby. Please help!

  2. Rick Thompson

    It sounds like you are referring to specific rescues in your article? Who are they? A lot of us are too busy earning a living to fully background check rescues and rely on people like you to fully vet them for us! Please let me know, my wife was planning on donating to help some animals!!!

    1. admin

      What area are you in Rick?

  3. Sue LaRoche

    Horse Plus Humane Society has not responded to many requests for information on kill ratio, salaried employees, how much money is actually spent saving animals. This has been going on since September with no official response from Horse Plus Humane Society. They are not affiliated with the Humane society at all. I have received responses from people who claim to be followers, not addressing my questions and in some cases making personal attacks on my integrity IE(claiming I use two different names and face book pages, questioning my knowledge about horses) Horse plus Humane Society has taken the time to “like” the comments of these people but refuse to return my phone calls or messages. I fear they are not who they appear to be and feel sick that I supported them as long as I did. They currently have over 30,000 face book likes, but I question if they are what they represent themselves to be. If they were legitimate I believe they would answer my basic questions in a professional manner. SO SAD! BEWARE OF THIS GROUP. HORSE PLUS HUMANE SOCIETY.

    1. Julie Feiner

      Thanks for the warning!!! There should be more sites like this cautioning animal-lovers against these fraudulent rescue groups!!

      1. admin

        The crazy thing I am finding is even when warned people fiercely still protect a questionable rescue that they donated to! They could read this entire article and then not see it.

        1. Lauren

          It’s the perfect scam because it pulls on the heart strings of people who love animals so much that they will overlook all the warnings as long as they feel there is a chance that the animals are benefitting. I know because I use to overlook all the red flags…I felt strongly that even though the rescue coordinator was always buying luxury items the animals were still getting adopted and saved. It’s the perfect scam….dang it!

    2. kelley

      Just another note – “humane society” is a generic term. The HSUS does not operate shelters or rescues. They do not own the term “humane society” – anyone can use it. That doesn’t mean any particular group using that term is good or bad, just that none of them are affiliated with HSUS.

      1. Sue LaRoche

        Thank you Kelley I did not know that. I think people just assume when people us Humane society in their name there is an affiliation and feel they are legitimate and have guidelines they must to follow which I have sadly found out is not true. : ( This is such great information, wish all who donate would read this so the money donations gets to those most deserving and in need. I notice some don’t even ask for money, they have wish lists with basic supplies like blankets, cleaning supplies, paper towels. Something everyone could afford to help with. Not just begging constantly for money.

        1. admin

          Please also be aware that although the wish lists for supplies instead of money look and usually are more credible they may not be. Working on a case in point at this very moment. Verifiable donations to the vet are safer however, one still should call the vet and find out how much is actually needed and if that specific pet is really there. Sometimes in a scam it is their own personal pet or their poster child – one of the few pets they do actually take care of to look legit.

        2. Diane

          Horse Plus Humane Society operated under another name for quite a long time. Raised a lot of money for slaughter bound horses. They had very little horse experience when they first started. Over the years, they have been involved in some very interesting situations and have always been quick to offer to sue anyone who asked questions. Many horses have just disappeared under their care. No accountability, no disclosure, and constant sob stories. Good Luck with getting any answers from them. Do I think they do a good job, no, would I support them, no.

          1. admin

            Do you know what happened with the lawsuit and counter lawsuit involving Harold?

    3. Renee Risser

      Thank you for the update. And good for you for being cautious and persistant.

  4. Darcy Ode Butkus

    Excellent article! Thank you for taking the time to write this very important story. Sadly, I am beginning to feel there are more bad and ugly rescues here in South Florida. Sick of people living off of donations that are meant for our 4 legged friends! I am excited that I will be a part of a radio show airing on Wed Nov 14. 2012 at 12 noon EST. Here is my page that I am one of the primary admids exposing the good, the bad and the ugly. Look for the invite on our page. Link below! Here’s to making a difference for our animals that have no voice!


    1. Death Row Dog Rescue

      Let me ask you–What happens when ex-volunteers that were caught stealing from a genuine rescue goes on pages such as yours with undocumented lies and slander–Do you investigate who these people are? Just a question for all of the “Haters” out there from the SLANDEROUS Scam Page that Darcy Butkus set up and has posted here on your site–How many dogs or puppies have any of you even tried to save and give a chance to live and love today?? Just a small question but it means everything to the dozens of dogs and puppies at Miami Dade and Broward County waiting right now. As you continue to spread the lies and slander these helpless dogs and puppies are receiving the pink stuff injected into them and dumped like garbage. I have all of the legal documents and registered and do entire accounting needed to keep the rescue going. With the undocumented statements from a few such as Darcy Butkus–Don’t you think that people are then so frightened to even give $5.00 to help the dogs get out alive? I think we should also check out the scam and some e vil ones that are on a mission to destroy the very few Life-Lines that these hundreds of dogs and puppies have and most will just die. Thank you for the wonderful information to the public so people are not scamed-but dig for the truth also–Diana Peters -Death Row Dog Rescue-Over 2000 saved and new loving families found for every one–954-626-0708

      1. Darcy Ode Butkus

        Well, well, well. Look who it is!!! The woman famous for blocking and deleting people from asking legitimate questions about her so called “rescue.” Death Row Dog Rescue! Why did you block Betty Simmons? Betty is the kind woman that pulled spanky dood and Cristy from the Orlando area! Several are watching your page, still waiting to see pictures of these 2 dogs! Betty’s comments are now gone! Why do you block people? Why did you block a woman by the name of Susan Sief ? All she asked was a very simple question. She asked, “Who is your vet.” How simple is that to answer? You are a FRAUD, a LIAR and a SCAM ARTIST!!!!!! Stop saying the same thing over and over again. You are begininng to sound like a broken record. Look at the court documents. There is no police report. The Police ruled your case inconclusive. More lies that come out of that mouth of yours! You need to stop scamming people. I strongly suggest you seek psychiatric help! We will not stop with our mission. Our mission is to put you out of business! Our mission to make the Public aware near and far from South Florida to not give you one damn dime!!! When was the last time you treated your dogs with monthly flea and tick medication/heart worm? You are a disgrace to the animal rescue community! Go get a job! Pay your own bills like everyone else does! For the actual court document and other solid evidence against this scammer go to our page, read with your own eyes. Please like us as well. Thank you! Sincerely, Darcy Butkus


        1. Debbie

          Diana blocked me as well for asking legitimate questions. Upon investigating further, I find her unregistered and NOT allowed to adopt or pull dogs from rescue. I wish the people who blindly donate would do their homework first. I am spreading the info far and wide here in Florida!! DEATH ROW DOG RESCUE IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST SCAMS ON THE INTERNET!

        2. Diana Peters

          These few horrible people have tryed to destroy this rescue for over a year and a half–They have all of the people that know the TRUTH! blocked from commenting on Darcy Butkus and Sherri Manfredi the administraters–Thank you for seeing thru the evil ones there–https://www.facebook.com/notes/diana-peters/do-you-want-to-know-the-truth-about-death-row-dog-rescue-diana-peters/299498486845291

          1. Bob

            She has blocked me and a number of other people that ask questions. She is a scammer for sure. She also posts other rescue dogs being adopted and says they were hers – good one. Also uses aliases and posts on her own page, always saying how great she is. How do we know that? Because the dolt spells the same words wrong from all the aliases! STAY AWAY.

        3. someone who cares

          Betty should not be asking any questions. She needs to realize that she is not an advocate for pets. If she was, her and her partner would not be associated with people who are know offenders of animal cruelty, Kind of ironic for owner’s of an animal rescue isn’t it.

        4. Danielle

          We have this same problem in Southern Indiana. There are so many low-income/no-income people that use the supply of shelter puppies for income it’s disgusting. Many local IN/KY shelters have their very own/self-annointed 501C3 organizations and self-annointed officers that are in cahoots with shelter employees. Most of these scammers have been busted multiple times yet they just change their names and start over again. Since birds of a feather flock together they ban-slander and blacklist anyone that exposes them. I wish someone would start a site to report rescues/shelter superintendents/shelter employees and dog sellers that try to ruin legitimate rescues. We have a new self-annointed 501C3 in our county of which the treasurer was raided by ARC last February 2012 in Operation Sweethearts. Now she is in our county and lording over our shelter dogs with the newly hired AC employee. Together they run quite a little money making operation with NO oversight nor transparency. It’s pathetic how they weasel their way into small shelters.

  5. Theresa Haneline

    I would like to point out that a new rescue that just received a 501 status might not have a 990 for review, but they should, however, have records showing their donations and their expenditures.It’s sad but too many stories popping up where the rescuers were living off the donations instead of the money going to the animals. If a rescuer has no other income source, I’d be cautious in donating to them directly. I offer to donate directly to the vet. If they won’t provide that information or say the vet won’t accept donations, then I usually will not donate. Another way to donate to help the animals and not the rescuers is to donate gift cards for pet supply stores, like PetSmart, Petco, etc. I realize gift cards can be sold or exchanged, but there is almost no way to guarantee that a rescue that is not legit will use ANY donation properly. I’m sure I have been scammed, but I also trust that anyone who has scammed me for money in the name of animals will one day have to answer for that. Donating locally is probably the best way to go providing you take time to visit the rescue or shelter yourself. *Happy Donating.

  6. admin

    I also would like to advise everyone that directors of the rescue board are potentially equally liable for any fraud or theft committed by the rescue.

    1. Sue LaRoche

      Glad to hear rescues can be held responsible but how often do you think they really are investigated? Seems like with the economy people are becoming more and more creative about ripping people off to benefit themselves. We need more policing of these non-profits and this is a great start!!! Thank you!

  7. Lauren

    I know of a rescue that isn’t honest with money and always tells a sad story. They claim on their website that they are non-profit, your donations are tax deductible and they are 501c3 pending but I can find no proof of their claim. If they are not a 501c3 is there anyway they can still be tax exempt?

    1. admin

      No they cannot on the Federal level nor at any states levels I have checked as well. However, if a 501 c 3 is pending those deductions can be made valid retroactively. You can ask the rescue in writing even via email to provide their application and they must supply it within 30 days.

      1. Stacy

        That is incorrect Admin, yes they can take tax deductible donations while pending. The IRS does say that they can take tax deductible donation while in pending status, however, if you are denied then the donations would not be considered tax deductible.

    2. Ann

      I will post this every day as well things need cleaning up and somehow it has to happen fast!

    3. Shirley Slick

      It isn’t enough to verify that a group has 501(c)(3) status. One must also check what category the 501 is under. One famous puppy mill rescue went several years with their 501(c)(3) status listed as N60 Sports rather than D20 Animal Rescue. I, of course, am blocked from communicating with them directly. It took two years of me posting about their incorrect status on FB and directly to their more famous followers. I got hassled to death by faithful, blindly following people, but an incorrect status is a RED FLAG of a scam or at the very least, dishonest practices. Whether their category was a typo or a deliberate attempt to mislead, I will probably never know. But it is finally correct. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER donate to a group whose category does not match what they do!

  8. Death Row Dog Rescue

    January 24, 2012
    EXPIRATION DATE: January 24, 2013
    Dear Sir or Madam:
    The above-named organization/sponsor has complied with the registration requirements of Chapter 496,
    Florida Statutes, the Solicitation of Contributions Act. A COPY OF THIS LETTER SHOULD BE RETAINED
    Every charitable organization or sponsor which is required to register under s. 496.405 must conspicuously
    display the registration number issued by the Department and in capital letters the following statement on every
    printed solicitation, written confirmation, receipt, or reminder of a contribution:
    The Solicitation of Contributions Act requires an annual renewal statement to be filed on or before the date of
    expiration of the previous registration. The Department will send a renewal package approximately 60 days
    prior to the date of expiration as shown above.
    Thank you for your cooperation. If we may be of further assistance, please contact the Solicitation of
    Contributions section.
    Fred Hartsfield
    Regulatory Specialist I I
    Fax: 850-410-3804
    E-mail: fred.hartsfield@freshfromflorida.com
    3310 NW 21ST AVE
    OAKLAND PARK, FL 33309-5713
    Refer To: CH35827
    Fred Hartsfield
    TALLAHASSEE FL 32399-6500
    1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352)
    http://www.freshfromflorida.com This is public record

    1. Lorenna Tippins

      Well, I just happened to get off the phone with Fred Hartsfield. He said you are NOT tax exemp. I also looked you up on http://www.irs.gov and your scam rescue is not a 501c3… Why are you posting pictures of dogs that you aren’t even involved with rescuing but asking for donations just the same? WHY did you delete all my comments when I asked you for some freedom pictures of the dogs you claimed to have rescued? Don’t worry, I took a lot of pictures of your page WITH my comments, AND everyone else’s you have deleted since. Like I told you- I donate to rescues because I love helping dogs. I trust people and you have completely ruined this for not just me- but a lot of gullible people that just want to help those poor defenseless dogs that can’t speak for themselves. SHAME ON YOU DIANA PETERS

      1. Danielle

        Same thing happened to me!!! I rescued a dog that had been in a rural Kentucky shelter for 7 months. After I took him home I noticed a few weeks later an Animal Control Director in a neighboring county had posted his picture on KyCentral.org begging for donations to save him. When I confronted this woman in Daviess County she circled the wagons and told people that I was banned from her shelter for stealing dogs. She is another Director that needs to be investigated.

    2. Lorenna Tippins

      Well, I just happened to get off the phone with Fred Hartsfield. He said you are NOT tax exemp. I also looked you up on http://www.irs.gov and your scam rescue is not a 501c3… Why are you posting pictures of dogs that you aren’t even involved with rescuing but asking for donations just the same? WHY did you delete all my comments when I asked you for some freedom pictures of the dogs you claimed to have rescued? Don’t worry, I took a lot of pictures of your page WITH my comments, AND everyone else’s you have deleted since. Like I told you- I donate to rescues because I love helping dogs. I trust people and you have completely ruined this for not just me- but a lot of gullible people that just want to help those poor defenseless dogs that can’t speak for themselves. SHAME ON YOU DIANA PETERS

    3. Sathiamoorthy

      Cleo is at the City of Austin’s Town Lake Animal Center. She is not in our program. APA is a nertwok of mostly volunteers, a little staff, and little funding doing what we can to save as many of the pets as possible from Town Lake Animal Center and outlying shelters. We are doing all we can, volunteering around the clock, to get out as many pets as possible, but unfortunately, we’re not in a place yet where we can pull every single healthy/treatable dog and cat from the shelters. We’re working toward that goal, and we are so close, but we are simply not there yet.

  9. Lauren

    How about contacting the states Attorneys General about the fraud? I have to give my name and within 10 days they will send the rescue a copy of my complaint, with my name on it. She will know I’m after her, up until now I’ve been fairly quiet about my plight. I’m afraid if I ask her for the document you listed, she will apply for it within the 30 days and try to cover her tracks.

    1. Lauren

      This is a continuation from above by the way.
      Also If I ask her for the 501c3 application she could know something is up and she could change all the wording on her website and Facebook page. This could be my only chance to get her because she gets smarter and smarter.

  10. Suzanne

    I am not understanding why Diana Peters with Death Row Dog Rescue is posting a paste of a Florida Dept of Agriculture approval to solicit in Florida letter??? The address on the letter is NOT even where the rescue is located. She collects funds via facebook throughout the world, paypal, chipins, mail . Strangely they are only able to solicit in Florida and if anyone requests their documents of their application she lied several times, and had to redo it over and over until with a fee they granted her permission to solicit in Florida. She stated on her application she does not have approval to solicit in any other states. So Diana, why are you collecting money from states you are not registered to solicit from? Everyone needs to note what it says above : ” Every charitable organization or sponsor which is required to register under s. 496.405 must conspicuously
    display the registration number issued by the Department and in capital letters the following statement on every
    printed solicitation, written confirmation, receipt, or reminder of a contribution: “A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE
    Go to their website, her facebook page. Look where she solicits and you will not find the registration #. People who donated do not recieve receipts with this registration number either. Why Diana are you still not following the laws?
    People need to research this con artist who time after time is found on facebook begging for donations for dogs she says is in her care, and are not. Other rescues have them and she has nothing to do with them. Google her name, and Death Row Dog Rescue, and find out the real truth behind this scammer.
    People who donate should do this simple thing before donating. The woman has admitted time and time again to be living off of donations ( but she does not take a paycheck!) – RED FLAG.
    Her financial scams are only a part of horror – the fact she can’t pull dogs from from local pounds because she is BANNED is a HUGE red flag!!!! The fact she does not regularly vet animals, adopts some out unspayed and unneutered, self medicates dogs, does not treat dogs with flea,tick and heartworm meds, no quarantine when bringing in new dogs …. the list goes on and on. Her attack on Darcy Butkus and others is ridiculous and she uses it as a smoke screen to try and scam people. The “HATERS” she calls the ones who call her on the carpet. Funny so many more people other than Darcy or Sherri call her out, but she continues to blame all her whoa’s on them. Look at her history – it just keeps repeating itself from location to location.

    Thank you for such an amazing guide, it really gets one to notice what to look for.

    1. admin

      All scammer have the same MO.

      1. Spot

        Yes they do.

    2. Diana Peters

      All anyone has to do is scroll down Death Row Dog Rescue in Hollywood Florida and just count the hundreds and hundreds of dogs and puppies rescued by the organization–and if after the thousands of lies and pure slander that Darcy Ode Butkus and her buddies Sherri Manfredi and her husband Joe Manfredi (CONVICTED FELON) have spread–to every authority known to man–The rescue would have been “Shut Down”–It is still there and saving dogs every single day in spite of the horrible sabatoge these people put out so the dogs would die!! Shame on you Darcy and Sherri and Joe!! Visit http://www.deathrowdogrescue.com or come by–We do not hide behind FaceBook like these people do–Diana

      1. Emnn

        I checked out your website. What “hundreds and hundreds of dogs and puppies” are you referring to? You have no pictures or information in regards to pets available for adoption. Does that mean you have… none? Kind of ironic coming from a website that stresses the importance of saving dogs but leaving nothing for potential adoptees to look at…

  11. TEHP

    There are other things you can keep your eyes peeled for internet-wise without having to ask lots of questions directly to the charity. After a run-in with a questionable rescue in Egypt, we have been prompted to start our own UK based charity to operate in Cairo. From what I can gather this is a US-based article, but there are similar procedures in the UK and other internet based services designed to protect donators.

    If a charity uses PayPal, they should have a ‘Business’ type account in the charity name. It should not be a personal account or use a person’s name (should be The Bloggs Fund as oppose to Joe Bloggs). To get a ‘Business’ PayPal account for a charity/non-profit organisation they run you through a series of questions and ask you to email loads of documents over, including a detailed description of how the PayPal account will be used and the charity registration number. If the charity is not registered, they ask you for the charity Constitution – basic guidelines of how the charity operates, where funds go, services the charity offers… The list goes on. Basically, if you send a donation through PayPal and it does not display the charity’s name, be wary!

    Our charity is currently unregistered – in the UK you are advised to wait until the charity is receiving £6,000pa in donations before registering – so as soon as we hit this sweet spot, we want to have everything in order to apply for the registered status. Unfortunately there are still registered charities out there not operating correctly.

    We’ve also started posting monthly accounts which can be downloaded from our website, just to try to keep everything transparent. It is not easy to get funding, however after sharing what we do through friends, family and friends of friends we’ve grown pretty well over the past month and are just about ready for our first project to take flight.

    1. admin

      Thanks for your feedback. I will say unfortunately registration alone is not a safeguard and some charities obtain it to use the allusion of appearing credible to scam. This is a case we were instrumental in busting last week that did exactly that.



      1. TEHP

        Yes, I agree that being a registered charity is not the be-all and end-all. Prospective supporters rely so heavily on it, but it’s not really a fail-safe as to determine who is good and who is bad… I hate to say this (because it’s already been so difficult getting our charity just the most basic things) but it desperately needs better regulation.

  12. Adrian Meli

    Wow, what a great piece with lots of good information here. Thanks for all the rules of thumb, going to save this article to review from time to time!

  13. debra ciolli

    Hello, wonderful to see this site, I have saved in my favorites so can come back again and again. I have recently since losing one of our rescues, the oldest, started back on facebook trying to post FOR the animals that are so in Need of being saved, and I have been fearing the same things being addressed here…who IS Real and WHO might be a scam? SO I have Not PLEDGED anything, just continue to share and post asking for people in different cities and states to call on the zillions of so-called Rescuers, and 501 3 c’s that PROFESS to SAVE animals who are in the High KILL shelters to Save as many as they can…but clearly, like myself, Many are Not sure who is Real and who is a scammer?? I have left messages for many and never receive a reply…that makes MY ALARMS go OFF, I live in Florida and have full time for 30 years, and wish that MORE Rescuers and Fosters and volunteers and NO KILL Shelters would COME Together and work TOGETHER to save and re-home as many as possible,,,after all, there ARE Millions and MILLIONS every single year still being killed…and in Other Countries? It’s even worse how Horrific the situation is…how Animals are treated and tortured and murdered…I stopped going on cruises back in 2006 because I told my husband I couldn’t stand to see it anymore, came back from last one and tried back then to ask why the cruise ships used their Untouched food for “fish food” instead of Feeding the starving kids and animals at the places they docked in? Here we are, 6+ years later, and it’s worse all over the World…we Need More UNITY not Division and Diversity when it comes to trying to turn the SHIP AROUND regarding Cruelty, and Saving these Defenseless, Helpless, and Homeless, LOVING ANIMALS…we need National Registries of Volunteers, Fosters, NON KILL Shelters, TRUE BLUE Rescuers….and a National LIST OF Animal Abusers and Cruelty OFFENDERS…I would Love to become a Rescuer, but I fear the paperwork and everything that goes along with it is over whelming…I will still try though…we ALL need to stop THINKING about it, and DO something,,,so Thank You for this Great site! Debbie Ciolli

  14. Karen

    I know of a so called rescue on Long Island called Pit Crew Rescue, and I am certain you described PitBill Ziegler in this article….Would you please tell me the proper channels to take to report him and/or get him shut down.

  15. Debbie Richmond

    This is a very helpful article, and as applicable to horse rescue as it is to small animal rescue. If I can add my own two cents from experience, my first advice would be to not donate to any nonprofit rescue on the Internet because you have no way to verify their legitimacy and humane treatment of animals. None. That means staying clear of Facebook, any message boards, Chip In sites, etc. Stay local where you can go in person and verify by being an on site eyewitness on a regular and consistent basis. If it is a horse rescue, you’re in a different ball game, and veterinary collusion is a real problem, especially with the slicker crooks, so if you are not a skilled and savvy horse person and can’t get on-site eyewitness opportunities as well as know all of the filthy tricks they use to see what’s really up, you stand a good chance of being manipulated and robbed. It is incomprehensibly sick the lengths these criminals will go in order to part you from your money and how well they can manipulate.

    1. admin

      Thank you Debbie. It’s gotten to the point where I think people like to be scammed from some of their choices and their preference of giving to sob stories online far away from their own locations. Animals are in need in every person’s vicinity.

  16. Debbie Richmond

    Oh, you are so right, Admin. The distance gives them a vicarious experience, and they don’t have to be responsible to the animals (or to themselves) since it is only virtual reality to them. I hope those people who truly and genuinely love and want to help animals will find your website.

  17. Tabatha Griffin

    Is everyone aware before the Death Row Dog Rescue that is talked about in the postings above (in Florida, I believe), there was another rescue, started just after Katrina, called DRDR (Death Row Dog Rescue) in Georgia? They wrote the book on how to be a scam rescue. They were always “in the process of getting their 501c3 but send the money anyway), never accounted for any of it although many on the forum (that’s what they used in those days), and it was run by a few women, one of whom, if she didn’t like something that was posted or if it hit too close to the money home, would simply delete the post and deny it was ever there, even when those of us who’d started not trusting her/them sent the forum screen shots we’d taken of the post. Then the threats of legal retaliation would start. Then the banning would start. They worked with mainly two shelters in Georgia, both of which gassed at the time, and it always seemed that they rotated the same pictures of dogs they were either in the process of saving or had saved once every several weeks. The dogs, the background, the bandanas, etc., all were exactly alike, although they were supposedly “new” dogs up for the gas chamber. One of their founders, the one who did all the legwork for the dogs and who didn’t handle the finances, resigned because of all the complaints and went on to become the director of a very reputable Georgia rescue and washed her hands of DRDR Georgia. DRDR Georgia has since changed their name, supposedly finally gotten 501c3 status, and has won accolades and awards (monetary), but I believe the same dogs’ pictures from at least one of the shelters they worked with are still being posted.

    I was threatened with action by the FBI because the forum owner’s uncle “was an FBI agent who worked just down the street from me.” I won’t name them because I went through enough hell with them for speaking out, but I still believe the same crap continues and still believe there is never accounting given for the money donated to rescue the animals. I know the forum still exists and I know posts still get mysteriously deleted.

    1. admin

      Thank you for this information. Do you have the link to their new name, website, Facebook page?

  18. DogsDODeserveBetter

    Red Flag? Be cautious of supporting the founder of Dogs Deserve Better. Charged with Animal Cruelty charges for excessive use of mace and tasers. Also excessive kenneling in travel crates and lack of vet care. Trial set for Jan 15. Quote per recent article “If Thayne is convicted, Lidholm said, the center’s permit would not necessarily be revoked, but Thayne “would be asked to remove herself from the center’s operation. If she refused, Lidholm said, the center “would be considered out of compliance and would be subject to civil fines.”


  19. DogsDODeserveBetter

    Sharing Post on the article about the Founder of Dogs Deserve Better-

    Submitted by Mike1961 on Thu, 12/06/2012 at 6:53 am.
    by this woman. She recently spoke to the Isle of Wight Board of Supv’s trying to push thru a 100% ban on tethering dogs. Her and her possee tried to fool the board by showing a binder full of abused dogs, supposedly from the County. Problem was the pic’s were from 2002 and the offender was duly prosecuted. These people are extremist and fanatics. They will lie, cheat, steal and break laws to promote their agenda. What I find troubling is people like Ray Lewis who Murdered a man in Baltimore, still playing, no time spent in jail, Ben Rothelsburger rapes a woman, still playing, no jail time. Michael Vick associated with fighting dogs,, banned from the NFL (overturned) and he spends 18 months in prison. What a confused world we live in.

  20. Barbara & Kevin

    We would like to speak about a supposedly new rescue here in So FL. it is 100+everglades dog rescue. I saw their posting of a puppy on facebook and also a link to their website this was on a Tuesday I immediately contacted the phone # that was listed and was told the pup just came in and we made an appt to see her the following day at a local Vet’s office where she was being cared for and boarded. I later found out that this rescue does not have a facility that they board their “rescues” at different Vet’s offices. Any way on Wed we called to confirm the meeting and was given a story and they tried to get out of the meeting but we said later in the afternoon was not a problem for us to meet which we finally did. I did not get a good feeling about the supposed owner and director “Amy” that is her cell phone # that is always listed with a dogs picture as there is no main central office or phone number for this rescue. I am usually right on my assumptions and gut feelings. She brought out this beautiful little puppy a few months old and we were in the Vets waiting room for over 2 hours playing with and holding this pup named Daisy. we immediately fell in love with her and told Amy that we would like to adopt her, to which Amy replied that she just came in the day before(Tue) and she still needed work done as she was loaded with ticks fleas and needed a heartworm test and to be fixed and microchipped and it would be about a week to 10 days. I asked Amy for a business card and she replied that she does not have any that her husband left her and that she needed to have cards printed and besides she just was approved as a 501C3. She wanted us to see an older dog that she had there at the vet also even though we were not really interedted we said OK. Amy said how timid and nervous this dog was and a whole line etc. when she brought this black dog out to see us ‘Karma” this dog was not shy scared or timid she just did not want to have anything to do with us and that was OK Amy then told us that if we wanted to adopt her that she already was chipped but she would take care of that because Amy said she did not want “Karma” to go back to her owner as she felt they did not deserve her. Another red flag but we did not say anything about it. We said we wanted Daisy and the whole 2 + hours we were there Amy was filming us playing with and holding Daisy and also as Daisy slept in my arms and then again in my husbands arms. Amy said she had to do a home check which was OK with us and we informed Amy that we just lost our Cocker Roscoe in August 3 2012 he passed from Lymphoma, and that he was my wifes “companion animal as she needs one in order to function normally evey day life as reccomended by the Dr and that we had a letter from the Dr and that we have excellent references from our vet that we delt with for many years through our cat and another dog that we had that pas about a year before Roscoe, her name was Diana and she passed from old age and she started to have very bad seizures. and we also have a reference from Coral Springs Animal Hospital that the specialist Vet there took care of both Roscoe and Diana. Amy really was not that interested she then asked how big our house was and if we have a big back yard and is it fenced? I told her that we lived in an apartment and that we have a letter from the property manager that it is OK for us to have another dog and that dogs are permitted on the property. I immediately noticed a change in Amy’s facial expression and also her body language. She then said that she had to do a home inspection and that we really had to wrap this up for today as she was very busy because she had a rental car that her voluenteer put disel fuel in her car insted of regular gas and itmessed her car up and it was not running well etc. She put Daisy back and we went to the parking lot and set up the date for the home inspection. After we got in the car I told my wife that we were not going to get the puppy to which my wife responded not to be negative etc. when it came time for the home inspection Amy cncelled the apt using the same excuse about her voluenteer putting disel gas in her car and a bunch of others but told my wife not to worry that everything is OK and that Daisy had her surgery and was doing fine and it would be about a week before we could get her and thehome inspection was just a formality that she could see and tell all the love and care that we would give the pup and don’t stress or get upset my wife strted to cry and said that she just really fell in love with Daisy and even got a few new toys and a collar and leash and she couldn’t wait for her to come home to which Amy said dont cry its OK it is only a few more days and set up another house visit appointment and said calm down you are getting upset for nothing its OK. well we could not reach Amy for 2 days and she never showed for the house visit I finally put my cell on private and called Amy and she answered. She was blindsided that it was me on the phone she kept stuttering and did not know what to say except that she ws very busy , she didn’t get our calls, she was having prioblems with her car because her volunteer put disel in it and she had to get it to the dealer for them to see what could be done with it , forgetting that she told us days ago that it was at the dealer and also when she called to cancell the fist home visit she sid she was at the dealer for them to look at her car and it was going to take longer so she cancelled. Cought her in a few lies. anyway she said that when she went to the Vets office there was a lady there playing with Daisy and when she asked her what she was doing and who she was the lady told her that she was friends with a few of the volunteers and that she adopted Daisy. I asked Amy what she was talking about that we called her the day she got her and saw her the next day and that she knew we wanted her and that for a week she kept telling us that she was ours not to worry and the house check was just a formality that she was the owner and head of the rescue etc. NOW AMY tells me thather voluenteers did not feel that we should get the pup because he was a baby and needed training and would be going out etc frequently to which I replied to AMY that she knew we are both home a we are retired, we had excellent references that she was not interested in and that we have people here that will attest to the fact that when Roscoe was at his last day and on high doses of prednisone and she should know that prednisone makes you urinate all the time that we took him out about every 45 min to an hour around the clock day night and rain and thunder and lightning. she said well I need to understand that this lady works from home and she is a single mom with 2 older kids and she owns her owne house that people in an apartment should not have a younger dog if any it hould be an older one and she has a few that would be better suited for us. I asked her why did she lie to us and string us along for a week to which she replied I neded to understand that her voluenteers decided this not her that if it was up to her we would have Daisy I then stted that in my 55 years I was always told and saw with mty own eyes as my family owned many businesses that the owner and head of a business has the last and final word on what goes on in his business especially if the others are only voluenteers. I then told her that I knew the day we met at the vet that we were not going to get the pup and I told Amy my observation of her facial andbody changes to which she replied, I WAS ABSOLUTLY RIGHT SHE KNEW THEN THAT WED THAT WE WERE NOT GOING TO GET DAISY. Again I asked her WHY THEN DID YOU CONSTANTLY LIE TO ME AND MY WIFE THAT WE WOULD HAVE HER AND NOT TO WORRY AND NOT TO CRY AND NOT TO GET UPSET etc. I then told AMY that she and her organization is nothing but a scam and what goes around comes around. I told her just in this phone convwersation I have caught her in contridictions many times that she is a terrible lier and she needs to think before she speaks and keep track of what she is saying. I told her that I think the excuse of not having business cards is a lie too your husband left you so you dont have cards, also if you listen to some of her videos that were posted on her website her and her voluenteers make statements that in my opinion are threatening to steral this persons dogs because they would not turn them over to her. And AMY also bad mouthed another animal rescue saying that they abuse the dogs no food or water and no cleaning of the cages. Aprofessional or at least a person with some kind of sense does not bad nmouth another business that is the same tht you are trying to start that is very UNPROFESSIONAL but that is not the only UNPROFESSIONAL THINGS that take place and Amey takes part in. In my opinion this is a scam of a rescue in my opinion the dogs are not all found in the woods etc. and in my opinion this rescue needs to be investigated and watched as AMY is a SCAMMER,FRAUD AND LIER AND SHOULD NOT BE TRUSTED OR BELIEVED. AMY also asked me if I could talk to my Vet and any others that I knew to tell them about her and see if I could get them to agree to let her bring animals to their hospitals for treatment and boarding untill adoption and that she would pay them if they could work out the charges. Well against my better judgement I did make calls on that Wed afternoon after leaving the meeting at the vets office where Daisy ws and I spoke to 2 Vets and was in the process of getting a date set for a meeting, but then when this happened on Sat I called the 2 Vets on Mon morning to tll them what took place and they said they were glad it happened in a way they were sorry for us but glad it took place as this sounds like a person that could not be trusted and they would not do business with this type of person and or organization and that we need to be carefull that there are a lot of scam rescue s here and get a rescue from the pound. BE CAREFULL OF THIS 100+ SUPPOSED RESCUE they are broke begging for money like piosted on their web site they did not have money for the rescue run for people to please send anything they can IN OUR AND MY OPINION BE CAREFULL AND GO ELSEWHERE TO AN ESTABLISHED AND REPUTABLE RESCUE THAT AT LEAST HAS A BUSINESS CARD

  21. ray whitehead

    Some so called 501 c 3 animal rescue organizations are nothing more than a front for people with eccentric attidues who often are the organizations director to lie, cheat and steal hunting dogs.

  22. Debbie Richmond

    It would be a worthwhile undertaking to create and maintain a database of reputable and recommended animal rescues using the criteria set forth in the Admin’s article and any additional criteria that will help genuine legitimate nonprofits generate the support they so richly deserve; a database that is independent and devoid of propaganda and rigged “pay to play” schemes.

    1. LauraKY

      Debbie are you the same Debbie Richmond with Mustang Heart…the same rescue that sent the horses to Orphan Acres?


      1. dianekp

        Debbie did have a rescue called Mustang Heart, yet it wasn’t a rescue, she was a hoarder and had all her horses confiscated and brought to a real sanctuary called Orphan Acres. But because she neglected her animals and they were sent there, she has spread countless lies on any website that has a comment button. She did neglect her animals, check these websites bellow, one was her comment, and she admits the horrors.

  23. Kim

    Sounds exactly like Angels Among Us. They use all these techniques. They constantly make up “sob stories” for the animals they rescue so they can get more donations. They have outright lied about animals’ backgrounds just to make money off of them. But because they have so many supporters on facebook everybody thinks they’re great. They are not.

    1. admin

      I am a longtime supporter of Angels Among Us and they save many pets per year, more than any other single rescue in GA. Can you please provide more exact details. I will say I am very disappointed that they have not urged their supporters to support LifeLine over a very high kill director to run Fulton County shelter nor answered supporters regarding where they stand on this.

      1. Laura

        They have reapplied for 501(c)(3) status and filed a 2013 990 and reported that they received $0 in contributions.


  24. Spot

    This article is so spot on !!!! I see these low life scammers on FB everyday and if you try to expose them their followers will crucify you. It is sad how gullible people are. I have been speaking out about these fake rescues for a couple years now. I am so glad that this was published. It will be shared on my Fb page everyday.

    1. admin

      Thanks so much Vicki. I had one of those days and this comment brightened me considerably.

    2. Daisy

      I have the impression that many of their “followers” are actually collaborators.

  25. Ann

    I don’t understand how people use animals to make money. They use the animals and their bad conditions to her money out of people and collect a lot of money on the same animal meanwhile the animal is still not safe or is I’m a boarding facility for months. I don’t get it how did it get to this to use animals as am opportunity. When will this end and it has to end with laws. What will it take how far will it go that’s what I’m afraid of.

  26. Patti

    This page was shared with our group today. We are a group of over 900 many having been volunteers with SPBR..Please read our stories about our experiences with Smilin’ Pit Bull Rescue in Buffalo New York and the animal abuser (Eric Gray) who runs it. http://www.facebook.com/groups/387337678021545/

  27. Debbie Richmond

    Unfortunately, most government agencies are the last places to turn to because they’re doing the very same thing:

    One example regarding horses:


    The government’s also “privatizing” animal welfare in such states as Colorado where in some areas dogs, cats and even livestock are being confiscated and purportedly saved, only to kill the dogs and cats that don’t bring in the bucks to the shelters in cahoots with them, or animals are sold to research labs.

    Horses confiscated? They “cherry pick” those they can resell and dump the rest on public lands, shoot them at landfills, or sell them for slaughter.

    And the money “for the animals” gets laundered into personal piggy banks, real estate acquisitions, politicians, etc.

    Meanwhile ignorant donors are shelling out the bucks and listening to the well crafted propaganda rather than staying off the Internet and helping where they can know their help and money is being legitimately utilized in their own communities.

    Facebook scams are just the tip of the iceberg, most of them are small time hustlers who are drug addicts and/or dealers, gamblers, deal in porn or are porn addicts and sexual deviants, many are animal breeders funding their pet hobby and throwing the rescued animals in the trash after they collected “ransom.” Oh, it is so much worse than the general public can even fathom.

    Keep mind also that lots of Internet donors are “Cluster B” or bipolar personalities, i.e., proxy hoarders and drama addicts that don’t care that they’re being ripped off because they aren’t in it for the animals by any stretch of the imagination, they just want to be in the “urgent” games and involved in the drama. Some of them actually get off on the suffering of the animals and are sadistic personalities. In other words, not every donor or supporter is a “good guy,” and they enable these scams like nobody’s business. They’re usually the ones that attack you for raising legitimate questions, or they’re part of the insider fraud. So don’t try to protect those people, they have no brains and no hearts. You can usually spot a lot them (but not all) by all the exclamation marks they make online!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. admin

      Interesting take on the supporters of these scams. I have often wondered whether when the scamming is somewhat blatant if they are blinded by their love for animals or just like the ride.

      1. Gail

        I cannot believe how gullible people are. Dealing with a similar situation here. “Rescuer” buys dogs, posts photos of her “kissing’ and mauling over them. Will not answer direct questions as to screening process or whether the $150 adoption fee includes spay/neuter. Inflames the masses saying other organizations have emailed her and are harassing…and people just BELIEVE it, with no evidence, no names. She posts and then lets the “followers” escalate their rage. Always very canny and smart enough to include the “I don’t know why they are doing this to me, I NEVER say anything bad about them?” The poor downtrodden me act. People need to open their eyes.

    2. debbie ciolli

      God so True! All of it! The Gov and USDA as well as Many HUGE Societies and Org’s and Assoc’s who Profess to Want Your Contributions to go To Rescue, Save and Help these Helpless, Defenseless, Loving Unconditionally ANIMALS, NOT the 501 3 c’s, they Love at Least too many, The Money…they Many have had over 60+++ years to Change the Course, instead they Lie! They Lie about the estimates” of Mills still in Business, some Licensed, MOST Not, and NO Need to be, says the USDA and the GOV! Yet these animals don’t even have the HUMANE Minimal STANDARDS to Survive the Horrific Lifelong Suffering that’s Caused and perpetrated through the MILLS and the USDA…since after WWII these MILLS were FORMED as CASH CROPS! These animals should Never be considered as “CASH ….CROPS!” They are Inhumanely CAGED, Neglected, Tortured, left to Die in the heat or Freeze in the cold, they defecate, urinate, vomit and Bleed on each other as they are STACKED! Yet the “NUMBERS” of MILLS fr BREEDING the NEVER ENDING SUPPLY has GROWN! NOT gone down in Numbers, there are More that exist and all the BIG BOYS aka HSUS, ASPCA and many More know it and even the NUMBERS of Murdered since Euthanasia is for those SUFFERING and in Pain, Not Viable healthy animals who are murdered by being gassed, poisened, shot, clubbed or given a SHOT to the Heart to Stop it, even Those numbers are LIES, so that the so-called BIG BOYS can say things have Gotten Better FOR the animals, and Not just their HUGE BANK Accounts or Political affiliations. The Never Ending CYCLE of Abuse, Torture, Neglect, and pain and suffering will Never end until the Breeding and PIMPING OUT ANIMALS for MONEY ENDS! The shelters are always over whelmed, even the NO KILLS Just have SO MUCH ROOM! True of the True SANCTUARIES as well although if anyone has ever heard of The JOURNEYS END ANIMAL SANCTUARY look up FLorence who has run this and has cared for and LOVED EVERY SINGLE ANIMAL she has EVER TAKEN In for SO MANY YEARS..How do I know? We have been there, and WE have talked as recently as a few months ago. Last year she cried on the phone with me because the place I was volunteering at which is a NO KILL had a coon hound, and old girl who Needed a Home, and her FEE was down to $50 and I called Florence because I know she takes them ALL, Old, disabled, Blind, You name it and if she has room she takes them IN FOR the Rest of their Lives! Well I tried to get her this old girl, because Florence had just lost ONE of her old coon hounds who had paired up with another, and she was so upset not only for the ONE she lost but also for the One who was pinning for the Buddy of this dog. I was told that this dog at Our No Kill was going on to adopted because she the Director was going on a radio show and would get her adopted. I never saw her again and had to call Florence and tell her I could Not bring her to her. She said she understood I at Least tried. We met her back in 2005 when an Orlando TV station did a story about her Sanctuary, when we lost our Fluffy, we drove to her place and Immediately 2 big blind dogs claimed Fluffys beds, and we saw for Our selves Just How much she Loves every ONE of her animals! So now Thanks to the NO KILL I had to follow a dog they’d sent to the County labeled, assessed as an aggressive dog who therefore was deemed as Unadoptable. Thankfully I had been there that day and saw what went on with this dog from the parking lot to the being put in a cage to be picked up because when they said they would Not take the dog the Previous “owner” tossed it out of his JAGUAR..yes the car. The people at the shelter suspected he might do this and so they went and got the dog with that pole with the noose and dragged him in, this dog already had been in a pull and tug fest with the OWNERS outside, apparantly the FEMALE did Not want this dog to go to the shelter, the MAN DID. After all this, no wonder the DOG was in a bad Mood! Who wouldn’t be? So I went home, got my husband and away we went, I went to the County Shelter, EXPLAINED the entire Situation, and within a week we had him as part of our NOW Family of 5, 4 dogs all rescues and a parrot we rescued MANY MANY years ago from someones garage! So on the way back to identify Bear, the dog from the NO KILL, we saw a Literally Starving little one who was shivering from the cold as well as scared, we adopted her that day Too! Both of these last 2 were Adopted from the County POUND/SHELTER, who actually rescued these 2, one from being SENT to them from the NO KILL and one from the streets as a starving stray. THEY Treated Both of these dogs, Bear the one from the NO KILL tested Positive for heart worms and THEY the County treated him over a course of 2 weeks because he’s older and they as well as we know nothing about his background or health. The starving one we were given as a foster 1st to put some weight on her so they could spay her, which we did and they Did..our 4 are such a SMALL Picture of some LUCKY Fortunate ones, there are 6 to 12 million EVERY YEAR Killed just at the very shelters they get to, IF they are Lucky enough to Get that far. Yet some are still gassed and DONE away with in too many different ways and ways no one wants to know..I’m just saying, sometimes there are people that DO care, but Always always SUPPORT those who you KNOW are doing the hands on caring, feeding and vetting of these poor animals. Until the Mills and backyard breeders are OUT OF Business, and THAT goes for flea markets, swap meets and online sellers, and MORE SPAY AND NEUTERING IS FREE, and yes we Need a NATIONAL List Of Fosters but also ABUSERS who even if caught get nothing more than a slap on the wrist IF THAT. SO many lies are still being told. Even the numbers of MILLS, anywhere from 10000 to 15000, because some are licensed and most are Not, yet that’s ok according to OUR GOV and the USDA in charge of these CASH CROPS! So I am working still on a SOLUTION, but we ALL need as I posted on this site in October of 2012, we all need to UNITE to report and rescue and save these animals who cannot tell what horrors they suffer too many years and too many by number, all the while there are MILLIONS of Dollars going to the Scammers instead of FOR the Animals themselves and those who Really DO take Care of them and LOVE them. Here in Brevard County they are trying to Build our first Animal Sanctuary, it will take time but they have finalized the land purchase, so now they need money for the Buildings. They have a Lot of work and fundraising to do. But even the Sanctuaries can ONLY Hold so many, at least though, they have a Loving safe place for LIFE there. I have much more to say, but afraid I’ve already said too much. All I am sure of, is the Horrors of the Numbers killed and those at the Mills as well as the shelters and those never making it to a Safe or Forever home Need all of us to STAND and UNITE for them and Give to ONLY those you are POSITIVE are DOING the Caring, Feeding , sheltering and vetting..Thank you. Debbie Ciolli

  28. Debbie Richmond

    Admin, I do not think there are many people who possess a genuine interest and desire to help animals who get caught up in the urgency games and online hustles who stay blind for long. If they’re lucky they’ll heed the wake up call sooner rather than later, and that wake up call is usually a feeling of being taken for a ride, as you described. That feeling of being “slimed,” so to speak.

  29. Lynne Fowler

    “This is especially true when the defamation in turn actually may have the effect of then harming more pets because those being slandered are also in animal welfare or rescue. If unsure of motives always ask who has the most to gain financially in the situation?”

    Sadly, there are “rescues” who use slander and defamation because they just don’t like you or think you’ve done something to them. My ex-rescue partner has tried to slander me all over the Internet and when I am asked for copies of my proof, 501 Letter or 990 form, I can provide them and do. But the slander still sits out there and reporting it to someone is pretty nebulous unless I am prepared to spend money I would rather spend on my rescue, fighting her. Thankfully, she is being seen for the liar she really is, but I see this kind of animosity between groups on Facebook, all the time. It’s hard to know who to trust and who has the time to research each one?

  30. Betty Byerly

    I tried to help what I thought was a legit Animal Rescue and Rehab. I was wrong from the word go! This is not anything more than a hobby and a scam artist at their finest. I am in Kansas and this “place” is in the panhandle of Oklahoma. I tried to turn it into the local sheriff of her county but they told me: “look lady, we are a small county, we don’t have the funds for unwanted animals so we take them to her and she takes care of them and it is cheaper on the county, what do you expect me to do, or tell the people of the county?” I said the truth, but that doesn’t seem to matter. This woman does Not have a 501c3 but she tells people it is on the way, it is not. She will not show you a 990 or anything that even remotely shows donations. I was asked to be on her board and when I attended a board meeting The opened a facebook page, had the board meeting via phone and facebook to elect officers from all over the country, and as should be they named this woman the Board chairman, then later they voted in a woman for the treasurer that was not there, and some of us trying to check into this woman can’t find her anywhere, then they elect the Chairman of the Board for the vice Treasurer.. I have never heard of such. I told them I would not be a part of this mess especially since they had not even filed yet for their 501c3 and I was trying to put on a fund raiser for her a week out from this date. I just left the board meeting thinking this is not right, it is a scam, but, I just didn’t say anything for a few days, after this, this crazy woman spends countless hours trying to ruin me in this community and the other people that were putting on the fundraiser. She posted online that every thing that was being done was against the law so she was cancelling it, then posted I hacked her acct and posted all of this. Needless to say the people putting on the fundraiser cancelled it because without her 501c3 it was illegal to do the type of fundraiser they were doing.. I tell everyone all of this “crap” because you need to know why I returned all the money I raised. She did NOT. she put a message on facebook that they would contact people and use the funds on the next fundraiser. That in itself is illegal in any state. Even so my problem with the whole thing is, she is Not legit, she spends hours complaining, using oh woe me to get donations but she is always saying she has to give away animals. The humane society in our town won’t let her take any animals from there and our local vet won’t allow her on his property. Who do I turn to to turn this woman in for fraud if the local sheriff in her county won’t do a thing? I have seen her go to people and threaten them with lawsuits because she is the investigator for that area just to get their horses. I have seen her drive 5 hours to get horses and then beg to get money for them and 3 weeks later they are in another state. but 3 weeks before they were so malnourished that they almost died in transit back and needed major medical so she needed vet money.. I can go on and on but won’t here. I just want to know where to go. This is NOT right.

    1. admin

      Contact your local police department, and local district attorney’s office to begin. I apologize for not posting your comment earlier my WordPress site had a glitch and I did not get notification of comments for over a month!

  31. Fran

    I would like to know more about some rescues particularly in the south that are carrying dogs and puppies crammed into cages from our town to Maine. The ones I saw on their page had no room to lie down much less do anything else. Puppies poo and pee and Maine is far away. They were beautiful pups but were never offered locally for adoption. I couldn’t believe they even showed the pictures on their FB pages, but it was mostly to brag that they had found ‘homes’ in Maine. I was told later by a volunteer that was just not true, they were taken to a shelter and they received a stipend or pmt for those dog and puppies. It was Christmas time, and every one of those beautiful pups would probably have been adopted here locally, but they preferred to carry them to Maine to receive that payment. Somehow that does not seem right, not to offer them locally first, and to overcrowd those pups for long trips, and to take payment for pups they could have adopted here. This rescue will beg for money even before they have the dog in their possession, and is quick to attack anyone who questions them with ‘slander’ and felony threats. They even did it to me after a near disaster with a dog I rescued and let them have thinking they were rehoming her. They promised they had a home for her, and I found out later they sent her to many different foster homes under very bad conditions, and were planning to take her to Maine because she was a full blooded dog. Luckily I got her back, but not before I was theatened with all sorts of mayhem and harm. It bothers me that they ship the best of the dogs and puppies off for money, while begging constantly for money. Is this a normal thing now for rescues to make money?

    1. admin

      Who are you referring to? BTW, I apologize for not posting your comment earlier my WordPress site had a glitch and I did not get notification of comments for over a month!

    2. Danielle

      Who is pulling these puppies? There is a wife/husband team with a dog brokers license in New Hampshite that is pulling dogs fromall over the US and shipping them to Maine-New Hampshire-Massachussete-Connecticut-etc but no one know where the dogs are going? Lab research? Who knows but it is a fact that the Animal Control shelters are in cahoots with them.

      1. sony

        I know one that might be doing this.

  32. Kofi

    Do you know anyone in Europe who is concerned about bad practice in rescues there?

  33. A sanctuary

    Too much weight is placed on a 501c3 filing. The IRS does not investigate the worthiness of rescues and how they treat their animals. This is an accounting designation only. Many people do not want the hassle of dealing with a board, having others intrude into their business, and if they spend a lot of time lobbying this exempts them from being a 501c3. The bulk of my animals came from a 501c3. This did not stop the animals from dying under their care. Also, I do not agree that to be a legitimate rescue you have to have an adoption program. I do limited adoptions and it is not my goal. If I save a farm pig from slaughter once I am not going to risk it’s life again. Frankly people lie too often on adoption applications and I have reached the point where I will not risk another horror story. If someone is giving up their pig or cat I will help them find a home for it but I will not take it, I am a closed sanctuary.

  34. A sanctuary

    Somewhat accurate article but very poorly laid out and hard to read. Raises several good points such as 501c3 filing is not an indication of how animals are treated.

    However, too much emphasis is placed on adopting animals out. I am first and foremost a sanctuary. If I can rehome an animal into a verified home fine. Otherwise they have a permanent home with me. There are many large sanctuaries who do not focus on adoptions. I think the author does not understand that an abused animal that is part of a cohesive, bonded group can not be “turned over” just to make room for another. I can save many more animals by keeping my animals as a cohesive group and helping others facilitate finding homes for their animals if they can’t keep them.

  35. A sanctuary

    Do not post what I previously wrote. I do not wish to take part in a forum where comments are moderated before being posted. Delete my previous submission. Also it is very odd that there is no visible email address to contact the author of this article. I am an author and all my articles have links to my email, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, etc. accounts.

    1. admin

      My email and name are listed. Who are you?

  36. James Noe

    Unfortunately many people have figured out what HSUS knew back in the 50’s—there’s a ton of money to be had from folks who never ask questions. Today their game is still the biggest around, and people still are not asking questions.

    The ASPCA is the near the top of the shame list too, pulling funds away from local groups who are actually performing a service. Any genuine local rescue group or shelter should be outwardly opposed to any “national organization”. They lead donors to believe their check will filtered down to you…when we all know nothing could be further from the truth.

    Put it this way, any organization who can afford nationwide cable commercials has to be doing very very well. And so the “rich get richer and the poor get poorer”.

    Thanks for your work here.

  37. Sue

    Recently I asked one question that I thought was legitimate on a rescue’s facebook page. My question was deleted and I was blocked. The couple who runs this rescue also posted during the holidays how they had no money to even buy a Christmas tree or any gifts for their child. Of course many of their facebook followers volunteered to send the family gifts, and they accepted. I thought it was very unprofessional. They also post personal things like how they can’t afford to go to a dentist. They also post negative things about people who want to give up their pets, or return pets they adopted from them. Of course people like that may annoy anyone doing rescue work, but there is no need to post things about them publicly. I have also seen many posts on their facebook page how all these rabbits will die if they don’t get enough money to keep their rescue open. They always capitalize words like DIE , to make it sound very dramatic.
    They have also lied about certain shelters to people by saying that these places are high kill, when they are not.
    Does this rescue sound legitimate?

    1. admin

      I apologize for the delay in answering you and for not posting your comment earlier my WordPress site had a glitch and I did not get notification of comments for over a month! No they sound like a scam with a capital S.

  38. BunnyLover

    You just described to a T the owner of Little Miracles Rabbit Rescue in Atco, NJ (Christine “Kristie” Corson)! She is currently (finally) being investigated by the NJ SPCA, the NJ Attorney General and the Department of Consumer Affairs (for animal abuse and neglect as well as fraud). I hope her time scamming the public and harming animals is coming to a close. It’s like a sick joke watching her Facebook journal. Shocking to see so many people like her are out there!

    1. admin

      Very sorry I apologize for not posting your comment earlier my WordPress site had a glitch and I did not get notification of comments for over a month!

  39. Lorenna Tippins

    How long does it take for a comment to post? It’s been 2 days since I left one…

    1. admin

      Sorry and I apologize for not posting your comment earlier my WordPress site had a glitch and I did not get notification of comments for over a month!

  40. Amber L

    As a board member (as well as foster and volunteer) of a local breed rescue, and foster home for an all-breed rescue, I will give a mailing address different than my physical address. Unfortunately when you allow your address to be accessed by the general public, animals will be dumped at your doorstep because your kind heart is known (at least in Oklahoma). Other than that one caveat though, I think this article is pretty spot-on!

    1. admin

      Thanks and I apologize for not posting your comment earlier my WordPress site had a glitch and I did not get notification of comments for over a month!

  41. Kelly Martin

    TRIANGLE SHELTIE RESCUE OF NORTH CAROLINA -how does one research to see if this rescue is legit. I have been experiencing a lot of rude behavior from Sherrii Main who claim she is the president of the rescue group.

    1. admin

      The article tells you what to do in general. Are you asking about something specific? Also, I apologize for not posting your comment earlier my WordPress site had a glitch and I did not get notification of comments for over a month!

    2. Debra Moser

      Kelly, I am with you on Triangle Sheltie Rescue! On April 20, 2013 we adopted a blind sheltie from Stokes County Animal Shelter. You would think that we had unleashed the wrath of H—- it self!! Sherri Mains began attacking me, my husband, and Stokes County Animal Shelter. She claimed that she was the “rightful” owner of the sheltie we adopted, because she placed this dog for adoption in 2005. AND she wanted her PROPERTY back!! Unfortunately, this sheltie was extremely ill and despite vet care died on April 25, 2013. As of today we are still being harassed by Sherri Mains. We receive daily messages on our face book page threatening to “pay a visit to our home to reclaim her property”. She is intent that we will give her the ashes!! When I blocked her she began sending messages in her dogs name (by the way a rescue that I am sure other folks hard earned money is paying for). Well today I intend to pay a visit to our local magistrates office to have her charged with cyberstalking and if possible obtain a restraining order against her!!! I WOULD NEVER EVER EVER DONATE TO THIS “RESCUE” based solely on my interaction with Sherri Mains.

  42. Kelly

    I think TRIANGLE SHELTIE RESCUE of NC may be a scam!

  43. Mayport Cats, Inc

    I read your article via a random link posted by someone on FaceBook and have to say that the points you make are very true. Being an animal “welfare/rescue” group, we must compete with a thousand other groups for donations, resources and volunteers. We are a small, grassroots group that deals mainly with feral cats and advocates for their welfare and rights. Our main function is TNR, but we run across so many abandoned cats, that we also have to do adoptions to re-home the abandoned, social cats. And your comment that most groups are too busy working to sit at the computer asking for funds is so true in our case. Many people suggest we do more fundraisers or activities to get donations. Unfortunately, we are too busy trapping and caring for cats in foster, that we just don’t have the time to solicit donations and work on fundraising activities. When we do ask for donations, we will get a couple of pat responses; either we are told that they give to one of the other, bigger groups here because they are more high profile or they don’t feel spay & neuter for ferals is as important as adoptions or they give a few dollars. We managed to run for over 5years now on a very shoestring budget and have even traded out work with the clinic to help pay our monthly spay/neuter/medical bill. Do the bigger, more obvious organizations get the majority of the limited funding available? Yes, however there are things we can do that they can’t. We can go into a hoarding situation and rescue cats, we cater to low/no income people who have pet cats or ferals in their area and do not expect payment and those without the means to get their cats to the vet. Because we are all volunteer, we don’t have a payroll to make or shelter overhead, so we’ve managed to take in almost exactly what we utilize at the vets office. On the downside, bad rescue organizations make it harder on the rest of us to garner what little trickle down donations are available; most givers assume if you are small, you aren’t legit. Thank you for pointing out that this is not always the case.

    1. admin

      I apologize for not posting your comment earlier my WordPress site had a glitch and I did not get notification of comments for over a month!

  44. Lenore

    Thank you so much for this article. I know of a scam rescue in Elma, NY that has recently gotten news coverage after years of complaints about the abuse, lies, unsanitary conditions, animal deaths, and so on. It went ignored for several years so this person gets a pass due to statute of limitations, but, at least he no longer can hurt these beautiful dogs. I read this and realized he fit every warning flag you listed. Unfortunately, those of us who know better now were taken in by the heat strings. When he knew the jig was up he emptied his basement of all the crated dogs except for 3of them. The dogs left, as all the others he ever had, were found dehydrated, hungry, and sitting in their own feces. He commonly crated his dogs for days to weeks at a time not letting them out. Too much horror to tell but thank you. Maybe others will be enlightened and these fake rescues will continue to be exposed and prescious lives will be saved.

  45. Jack Russell Rescue Oregon Washington & Idaho

    I do have one caveat about this basically well-written and detailed article. The author repeatedly states that a “good” rescue is one that tries to place the largest number of animals possible. Wrong. A GOOD rescue is one that tries to place animals in homes that are going to work well for that particular animal for a LIFETIME and also provides backup for the animal they place for a LIFETIME. Just placing animals does not guarantee their future well being – on the contrary, it is a recipe for adoption failures. I know “good” all breed rescues and municipal shelters who do adoption events and focus on adoption numbers that will freely admit that over 80% of their placements are back in the shelter/rescue system within 12 months. What is the point of that? So, my definition of a good rescue is one that strives for suitable lifetime placements and provides lifetime support (training tips, a shoulder to cry on, whatever is needed including dog food when times are tough) for every animal they place. We need to take full responsibility for every animal we rescue.
    And, yep, a Petfinder or Adoptapet listing plus a 501c3 prove nothing. Ask the rescue what their placement percentage is,i.e. how many dogs/cats they placed get returned. This answers 2 questions at the same time; if they reply: Returned?, then they probably do not back their placements up. If they cannot think of a number, then they have no effing idea what you are talking about and are in it for a quick profit or a feel good aura, and you should turn and leave.

    1. admin

      I apologize for not posting your comment earlier my WordPress site had a glitch and I did not get notification of comment for over a month! The point of this article wasn’t how to tell who is great rescue opposed to other legitimate rescues but rather how to ferret out a scam. I have been thinking of writing a second article on qualities of a great rescue that touch on many of the finer points like the ones you brought up. I don’t know of any shelters or rescues that have such a high adoption return rate.

  46. paulette

    This is in reference to Karen about Pit Crew Rescue. They have since teamed up with another very shady Long Island “rescue” called Rescue Ink. They currently run the Long Beach Animal Shelter. RI does no rescues at all. All they do is go to Canada, Philadelphia & Connecticut to do fundraisers because they can no longer do them on Long Island as everyone here knows what scammers they are. There is a site on FB called Rescueink = the facts which shows their 2011 tax return where they claimed to make $30,000 but only spent $1800.00 on the animals. We have been trying to get them shut down for the past 2 years to no avail. During Hurricane Sandy knowing a week in advance this hurricane was coming RI went up to Canada to do a fundraiser leaving the animals in the care of volunteers. Someone stopped by the shelter that day & was told ALL the animals had been evacuated. We found out afterwards a German Shepard named Burford, a kitten named Zoe & anothecat died because they were not evacuated. On public TV at the re-opening of the shelter Joe Panzarella lied & said all the animals were saved. Big Ant is on disability but shows pictures of himself on FB doing motorcycle stunts. They constantly beg for money but never answer any questions then delete & block the people who ask the questions. They made a list of all the people to be blocked from their sites. How do we proceed in getting them both shut down? It’s a travesty?

    1. admin

      Isn’t Rescue Ink being investigated by the authorities and btw I apologize for not posting your comment earlier my WordPress site had a glitch and I did not get notification of comments for over a month!

  47. Cindy C

    West Side Cats aka The Cat Ladies Society of Youngstown, Ohio is a complete scam. I volunteered there, donated money, helped cats get vet care. The owner of the shelter, Kimm Koocher, is a fraud. She has changed her name and uses aliases. The poor cats in her care are always sick and dying. She has one volunteer, Janet, whose job it is to pick up the dead cats off the floor early morning before anyone else comes in. When asked, you are told they were adopted.
    To take a cat into this disgusting place, she will charge you $200+. The cats are supposed to be vaccinated, yet many have had panleukopenia and calicivirus and she has allowed them to roam freely, with no medical treatment. Cats with major upper resipratory, diareeha, coccidia, ringworm, eye and ear infections (many contagious – are all roaming around together, getting no medical care. She is a disabled vet tech, who tells everyone she knows more than any veterinarian. She uses a vet for spays/neuters only. One volunteer said she saw Kimm perform a neuter on a cat herself.
    There are constant sob stories on the website and Facebook asking for money for specific cats. Some of these pictures have been pulled off the internet and posted. There is a regular collection going on. If they cats did exist, she still collects money after they have died. Recently, she posted that one needed his jaw set as it was broken, collected money, and the cat had already died.
    The shelter was raided in 2010 (was called Cat Ladies Society) and changed its name to West Side Cats.
    Kimm Koocher paid $5000 to a high profile criminal attorney to keep her out of jail. She even had a “donation jar” set up at the shelter that read “Kimm’s defense fund.”
    This scam needs to be shut down. Please do not donate or EVER send a cat there. You are sending the animal to a slow death.

    1. Linda Bakmaz

      I too got scammed by saintly Kimm. I rescued a blind cat, only to find out from my vet that she needed hundreds of dollars worth of surgery on her eye and teeth. Kimm’s response: ” I can’t make every cat perfect.” No, but you can tell the truth and not adopt out cats that you know are sick.

      Stay away from West Side Cats.

  48. Kristen Kuhns

    I am not sure how old this article is, but I’ve seen it referenced three times in the past couple of weeks for people using it as a justification NOT to pay a (worthy) rescue and have to speak up.

    In areas like LA, NY, Miami and Texas where the numbers are *staggering* (ask if you want me to provide some! LA County alone killed 547,000 and many cities have their own shelters), the shelters kill REALLY fast (some shelters gives them 2 days and then they’re gone) sometimes all of this is simply not feasible. The rescues are like the boy sticking his thumb in the dam against a tidal wave.

    While there are many valid points, please use common sense as well. Just because a rescue doesn’t get back to you within an hour answering in qualified detail for a long list of questions you have in order to get your $5 pledge, realize that they’re probably up to their ears in vet bills, poop, temperamental fosters, dogs coming out of the shelters with matts/ ticks/ illnesses and behavior problems. ALL of the Southern CA rescues are over-filled beyond capacity and there is no sign of a let-up in the intakes. They do the best they can. Some better than others, but for a good man of these items listed above I can think of multiple exceptions The two biggest ones I take issue with are if the paypal is not linked to their group – ask why, because there might be a legit reason, and rescues that choose to talk about the dogs that have to be put down especially when it pull sick and old dogs so that people understand that is part of the role they play – taking sick and old dogs out and giving them some comfort before going off to the Rainbow Bridge.

    So how to do your due diligence? First, search. Google is your friend. Read their site, look at their social media accounts. People are pretty vocal about “bad” rescues (although another caveat is that some of those pages and hate sites are set up as personal vendettas). Ask people who comment or like them (rather than the rescue itself, which may simply not have time to answer), and while this may sound harsh, for a small pledge of $5 they might be weighing the time it’ll take to answer a long list of questions vs. tending to the new dogs flooding the shelters.

    In an ideal world, rescues could focus on certain types of dogs (breeds, sizes, whatever) and optimize their shelter selections and able to keep and evaluate them for as long as needed to find the BEST possible homes for them. In an ideal world, shelters would vaccinate all dogs coming in so they don’t come out with parvo, distemper, kennel cough, mange and all sorts of other things they do not get treatment for (why waste the $ when the dogs will most likely be put to sleep anyway is their mantra). In an ideal world, shelters would live up to their name and not be concentration camps for animals unlucky enough to enter their doors.

    We are so far from an ideal world it’s heart wrenching.

    1. admin

      Some good points Kristen. Googling is a good idea especially if it is only a one time small urgent donation. However, I have seen horrible rescues glorified and good ones bashed. I agree with using common sense. Ali

  49. jessie

    Before they were exposed, Leah Purcell of Spindletop sanctuary was using other groups’ IRS charitable tax id numbers (EINs) after spindletop lost their status due to nonfiling. Check who those numbers really belong to!

    1. Christy

      That is SO important! Theft of EIN is more and more uncommon, both by fraudsters at shelters to pull dogs that then disappear after they collect pledges and to pretend to adoring followers they are legit.

  50. jessie

    James Now, it is ridiculous to be insulting the big groups because they are often the ones who have had the ability to bust the false rescues that are hoarding and killing. No wonder the false rescues attack them, and the breeders too.

    Valid rescuers don’t slam other legit groups. It takes big and small groups working together on this. False small rescues often slam big groups because the false rescues want to steal your money.

    1. Debbie Richmond

      Jessie, you might like articles published by attorney Nathan Winograd at http://nathanwinograd.com. When it comes to animal abuse and fraud, the “big groups” are, and have long been, at the top of the list.

  51. Linda

    What if you are fostering for a rescue and you had the cat 1 day and had to rush it to the vet the next day because nobody answered the phone or email…to which the cat was emaciated and constipated/throwing up. Then rescue states the cat is technically not their responsibility after someone finally got them on the phone…Nobody could get them for 2 days…they claimed they lost their phone. Then..They said That it needed to be sorted out between me and her volunteer that she had bring me the cat. They finally broke down and agreed to pay for cats assessment at the humane society but I paid out of pocket for treatment/meds because they refused. The vet wanted to do an ultrasound for a foreign body but rescue refused to pay. So they were going to send me and the cat away after being there over 7 hours with no help for the cat. That’s when I asked to pay for meds and an enema. They won’t take their cat back either. I’m in the process of trying to get the cat what he needs. Am I correct in thinking that the rescue is liable for all bills for the cat and would be required to take it back once I’m done getting it healthy? The cat is in their name with the shelter. They took in over 200 in donations for cat but is willing to let it die?

  52. Debbie Richmond

    Contacting the IRS criminal investigations unit in the state where the fraud is being committed may be the best way to have many of these animal abusers shut down.

    Admin, I look forward to more articles on avoiding fraud if you decide to publish more on the topic.

  53. Dana

    Caboodle Ranch is (was) another scammer. All the stories on their blog and FB page are about the owner, Craig and his abilities. They bad mouth everybody. Even now, after they were closed down due to hoarding 700 cats.

  54. Charlotte

    It is standard practice in my rescue network to donate money for a dog only when a rescue has committed to pulling him/her. But I’ve seen a couple of Facebook pages for “organizations” that raise money for dogs in particular shelters–but the dogs don’t have rescue lined up. They are death-row dogs in southern shelters, and if the dog is euthanized or reclaimed, they only transfer the dog’s money to another dog if the pledge is over $100. Otherwise, they will refund the pledge (minus the fees), or the money will go into the “general” fund. To me, this doesn’t look legitimate, but I don’t see a lot of people asking questions. Anyone?

    1. admin

      I have seen and wondered about that policy as well. I have not noticed anyone that has donated complaining however.

  55. donna

    In Australia this is exactly what the RSPCA does. Most of their money spent on ads, wages and killing pets. The most widely supported “rescue” in Australia. They kill more than they rehome, while asking gullible Australiaqns to support them. I support a local rescue- that I have visited, and one interstate with an amazing save and rehome rate- many photos of before and after. Thanks for a great article will be sharing.

  56. cath hurwood

    I have simplified my giving…if I (or someone I know) doesn’t know the group (& the work they are doing), I don’t donate. There are many scams on the internet….some report an animal has been injured and they need xxx amount of money – if this eminates from another country or far away, there is no way to no if it is genuine. I don’t donate.
    There are other scams too…”rescues” that are actually puppy mills – always have purebred puppies or very young dogs and their “adoption fees” are very high …sometimes higher than what breeders are charging. that should be a real red flag.
    I’m sure there are many more fake rescues or rescues who are really NOT.

  57. Sandy Pants

    Blue Star Equiculture, http://www.equiculture.com and also found on Facebook, is a PRIME example of a social media exploiter that’s constantly begs for money, often times “in the name of” their most recent death. No album of adoptable horses, no place can you pin down a number of horses in their care at one time, there’s not even an album of horses in the herd…. Look at their Facebook, pay attention to pictures, children left unsupervised working drafts in harness…constant sob stories….it’s a crying shame!

    1. Bosco

      Absollutely right. It is all about the people. I think that they have really just figured out how to have a retirement home with a bunch of horses and people who worship them. What are they really trying to do? With all of the photos they post of themselves, you have to wonder.

  58. Kristine

    Even if they make under 25,000 per year they need to fill out a 990n e postcard basically. This will not break down fund amounts like a 990 but they WILL show the organization is working towards some compliance. You can simply ask for the previous years records (We keep ours on hand for seven years was determined by the BoD). We have not been in existence that long so you can get every year of our existence lol…. I was missing the part although I read it quickly also asking about the BoD, even “private” NPO organizations need to have a board of no less than three people with on treasurer committee and one executive committee (on a small board that is two people per committee with one overlapping hahahaha) NOT related to each other with a conflict of interest problem.

    This is a great post and it is going on my wall and than the rescues wall! We are transparent and it has been a while since I have seen something written on who to donate to and avoid so well written!

    1. admin

      Thanks Kristine and you re correct on the 990 and non profit corporate structure in many states. Much luck to you and your group!

  59. Wendy

    The Gentle Barn, a 501c3 in Santa Clarita, CA is under investigation by the state attorney general, the IRS, and a few other organizations. The donations continue to pour in because they have a big FB following, they have a few celebrities on board (like Ellen DeGeneres), they delete posts from anyone with questions, and they are charmers with a few loyal and/or paid supporters. Before you donate to any non-profit, check a website called Guidestar. Please take a look at the Gentle Barn Foundation’s reviews and judge for yourself. Very eye opening.

    1. admin

      The bigger the lie they more they rake in it does appear.

  60. Cierra

    I asked a rescue who pulls dogs out of a high kill municipal shleter if they could help me adopt a dog who was on the euthanasia list. i have 2 dogs of my own and the dog at the shelter had keneel cough, so I told them i wanted to adopt the dog, but asked if they could keep her until she was over her kennel cough and then I could take her.They told me that they would pull her from the shelter only if I paid not only the adoption and spay fees, but also the vet and boarding fees they would incur keeping her while she gets better. Many people offered pledges of money to a rescue to save the dog, so they would get the pledges too. But they stood firm with me tellling me I ‘d have to pay all these expenses for them to agree to pull the dog. My concern was assuming financial responsibility for a dog that was NOT in MY possession. I’ve never dealt with a rescue before, but was under the assumption that they pulled a dog, kept it until it got better if it was sick, and then placed it in a permanent home. Was this rescue being on the up and up with me? or should I avoid it in the future. I noticed on their 990 tax return they declared thousands in vet and boarding expenses.

    1. admin

      Hi Cierra, really difficult to say as I don’t know all the circumstances. If you love an animal not sure it matters whose possession it is in, especially if you are shortly assuming responsibility by adopting them and making them family. If you were offering to be a foster at their behest that would be different. If you have adult dogs that are vaccinated you shouldn’t have had to worry so much about the kennel cough. The pledges aren’t a guarantee and from what I hear those that pledge don’t always fulfill. I think it may have been a better course to just have paid the shelter directly and taken the pup straight away to your own vet. Did you wind up with the pup? Thanks for your story.

  61. LIFYP

    What is your opinion of a rescue of charging a $900 adoption fee for a pedigree puppy? Also a rescue who seems to come across entire litters of puppies several times a year. No mother of litters advertised like a puppymill rescue usually shows.

    1. admin

      Sounds like a for profit puppy store masquerading as a rescue.

  62. Elena

    Lets say someone tried to adopt a dog thought this system (internet based network for “urgent” adoptions), and this did not work out. So tried again with an another dog and then a third one..never been able to get this dog to get out of the shelter. A person that has strong references and 2 already adopted dogs. If in all the cases people involved into the adoption process have clearly staten there will be no problems due to distance and transport solutions could easily be arranged, people who took care of making sure that i would pay all adoption fees and expenses but never seemed worried about the adoption requirements.. due to which these adoptions failed last minute.

    What if this person started to question the “system” because of the many disturbing facts noticed. As the extreme difficulty some adopters seemed to experience to actually adopt the dog.. As the high rate of dogs killed and those “returned” after supposed adoption compared to the very few dogs saved. The fact that so called “pledges” do not transfer from a deceased pet to an another.. Someone can explain where the hell they go then?? .. The fact that some of the people posting those dogs and cross-posters seemed to have multiple names and identities.. The fact that dogs seemed to be disappearing by been pulled out by some mysterious rescues that not only post absolutely nothing about the dog saved on their pages, but don’t even answer the phone. If a person from an another rescue have later admitted to be involved into the adoption, even if this same person clearly stated at first that their rescue do not pull from shelters… Fact that most people on the network uses fake names and “puppy faces” as Facebook profiles..

    What if one person did some more research to find out some even more strange facts.. As a dog that have been into two rescues (using different names and addresses but registered to the same people/family members) previous from the day he ended up as “stray” into a hill kill shelter. The day fallowing this dog’s supposed adoption from the second rescue by one person appearing to be a very close member to (if not employed at) this rescue. If this dog spend weeks on postings from begging volunteers for pledges and shares. This dog’s adoption i was refused to even try to attempt because of how “too far” i lived ..a less than one day car drive to go there and back home. A dog that mysteriously went missing the day he was scheduled for euth. That no rescue will admit of pulling for a few days, then change the story to “we did it together”.. And at the end seemed to be adopted by people who shares relatives to the first two rescues that used to have a hold on this dog. Rescue in which were involved many family relatives that had past and/or current animal cases of abuse on record.

    What if this person had solid proof of all of it..but did not want to bring the whole system down (that still, in the end saves some lifes) is there any other options?

    1. admin

      Hi Elena,
      I don’t really understand any of what you just said. I’m very confused. Please clarify and simplify. Not sure at al lwho you are even speaking about? Thanks,Ali

  63. dee shepherd in the uk

    much of the population in US seemingly have grown up with the mindset it is ok to breed or have bred for them many cute puppies but when bored with them is ok to hand them over to briutal strangers at dog dumps to be killed but they are gone so they dont have to see it– then go get another cute puppy — or to throw out older dogs to die in horrible conditions– Only changing this mindset will stop the senseless sordid killing of thousands upon thousands of erstwhile pets miserably concentrated in dirty bare kennels for this purpose- otherwise it is just trying to stem the flow of a great river of death — campaigns to teach people to respect & care for their pets responsibly are wth way forwards

    1. admin

      Hi Dee, Actually only approximately 3% of all pet owners relinquish their pets to shelters. Even within the shelters the norm is owner surrenders only comprise no more than 50% of the intake population. We need to of course keep teaching children about pet responsibility but also need to teach the shelters that they don’t have to kill and that there are alternatives.

  64. Tracey

    I really loved this article and appreciate that some are taking the time to really pay attention to the rescue community. So, I’m hoping to get some advice!

    We officially opened our “doors” 2 years ago and have learned some hard lessons along the way. We are a home-based parrot rescue and made the decision to forgo the non-profit application because we were operating on a very small level and felt we could privately fund with adoption fees and our own financial resources – we did not solicit donations to operate.

    We were successful for a very long time, but in the last 18 months we have grown immensely! We have developed a foster family program, were listed an approved rescue on Adopt-A-Pet.com, and expanded from 2 to 4 birds at a time to more than 20 with our fosters & “remodel”. So, we are now preparing to file for non-profit (studying, getting our books in order, etc.) and have expanded our organization to include an educational outreach program (to try to bring awareness to parrot welfare issues), companion parrot consultations for those considering adopting, advice, emergency support, grooming, etc….and we don’t charge for these things.

    We have the need to raise money now and so we are offering custom, handmade toys & equipment, and we do a lot of craft shows (handmade gifts & such – this also allows us to reach out to the public about parrots in need) and are working on some other projects to generate funds. Technically, we are still a small rescue, but parrots require a significant time commitment – thankfully, this is a family affair and while my fiance and the kids (19, 17, and 14) provide the physical care, I am able to do all these other things at the computer and in all the planning (I’m physically limited, but they call me the brains and they’re the brawn, lol).

    Long story longer, here’s my question: We want a new facility, a better & bigger facility (within reason) and that is what we’re working toward, but we’re wondering about a fundraising campaign? We don’t feel comfortable asking for donations in general, but we are blessed with an amazing community & support and some have asked why we’re not putting out donation cans and “buttons” online. Part of it is that our rescue is “home-based” by choice as we feel that is the best atmosphere & best use of our resources and the new facility (expanded space, new outdoor aviary, updated quarantine area, etc.) would be on our property. I just don’t know that it would be ethical to ask people to help fund that. Any thoughts or advice (I’m a tell like it is kinda gal, so give it to me straight if you would).


    1. admin

      Hi Tracey, Kudos to you for your parrot rescue. My opinion is that it is ethical to ask for funding over any real rescue endeavor. Be sure that to keep great records on the donations and also to report to your fans on how they are being used. Ethical and legal may not be the same in every case, and I wasn’t sure if you meant after you formed your corporation and 501 c 3. However, it is after then you need to know both the IRS rules regarding (they have extensive info at their site) and the non profit corporation laws in your state to structure your funding appropriately. Also many states mandate any entity asking for donations to register as a charity. If you use a crowd funding website their are also legalities to be aware of in reporting the money received. Good luck with everything!

      1. Tracey

        Thanks for the advice and kind words! I am continuing to work on the non-profit filing and making sure all my ducks (or perhaps “parrots”, in our case) are in row. 🙂 We are committed to operating an absolutely transparent organization and will continue to hold ourselves accountable.

        Please keep this great conversation going and thank you for what you do!!!

  65. Betterhave

    I’d like to add that a rescue that only maintains a Facebook page is one that should get much closer scrutiny. Facebook is a great place to raise money, get your name out to the public and provide a “community” setting for volunteers and supporters to communicate.

    But___as a means of finding homes for dogs, it does not hold a candle to Petfinder nor take the place of a well done website of their own. And contrary to popular beliefs, Petfinder does not require a group to be a 501c3 non profit. They have always offered the option of a letter of reference fr om a rescue’s veterinarian, on his or her letterhead, as an alternative for those who are not formal 501c3 organizations.

    The ability to search for specific breeds, gender, age, geographical location, etc. is a boon to would-be adopters unavailable from Facebook. I’m not saying that a presence on Petfinder is any guarantee of a genuine, reputable rescue. It is not. But if one is seriously in the business of placing adoptable animals, Petfinder is a very valuable tool. Linking Petfinder to an a well done private website allows a group to expand on educational articles, news on events, policies, etc. on a stable, on-going platform.

    Facebook is more useful for general PR and fundraising, but it does not address these more pressing, on-going needs. If a rescue’s only web presence is on Facebook, especially when every post is high drama and urgent this and desperate that, take note. It’s a red flag.

  66. Jennifer

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this article.

    Sadly I know of a rescue that is not all it portrays itself to be, yet they have thousands of likes on Facebook and many supporters.

    I was part of this rescue until I started to put two and two together and was unsettled by things I was starting to see clearly. I resigned and have had my attorney ask for financials numerous times, and they REFUSE to provide one stitch of documentation. I know for FACT they received a large donation ($250,000) with the agreement that half could be used immediately and the other $125,000 had to be put in an account for 7 years before they could touch it. I also know for FACT (I have proof via text messages from the Founder and Treasurer of this rescue) that as of March/April 2013 ( a mere 12 months after receiving the huge donation) that they are down to only $10,000 left from the $125,000. This is NOT including the other regular onations they brought in in that 12 month period included in that figure. So only God knows how much over the $125,000 they burned through in a years time.

    The kicker is this: I started a fundraiser MYSELF, I networked that fundraiser and I managed it daily with updates and photos for a dog that I was personally fostering but through the rescue. This puppy and his mom and other 8 siblings were located and coordinated into our rescue by myself. The mom and siblings all went into a local fosters care, and the remaining pup stayed with me. He required constant medical attention and care (he has a cleft palate and these pups usually live only a day or two). He had to be tube fed into his belly every 2-3 hours around the clock for 8 weeks, then every 4 hours for another 4-6 weeks. The entire time I fostered him it was known that he may never leave. He may be to hard to say goodbye to and would possibly remain with me. The founder of the rescue agreed and hoped this was the case too. So when I resigned, they knew he was going nowhere. The $2,740 I raised for him for his cleft palate surgery was held hostage. They demanded they would call into the vet personally and I refused. Why? Because one surgeon had already refused to operate on him because they started telling people I stole him and making me out to be incompetent to care for him suddenly when all along they praised me for my care of this puppy. Not all surgeons will perform this type of surgery because the success rate is not very high and the surgery is very complicated. So I was NOT going to risk this happening again and allowing them to play russian roulette with his well being. I asked however that they send the donated funds to my attorney so he could put into escrow and he would handle payment to the vet or with me as services were rendered. They refused. So fast forward 4 months now, and they still have all of his donated funds. He has NEVER seen one cent of that money intended for his surgery and anytime I mention this, it goes either ignored or they twist it to make themselves look like saints and I am a liar.

    After my resignation it was no longer about the puppy but about getting back at me. Sticking the knife in deep and twisting it slowly. . I was not giving up on this puppy and I was not letting him leave my home- the only home he has ever known to be placed in a crowded foster home where he would feel scared. Especially since fights breaking out in the founders home are too common and they usually result in near dead dogs and a large outpouring of finances to repair damage from these fights to the dogs and the caregiver as well.

    Bottom line is somehow they are always making repairs to their homes, new fences, new car, using money for their own personal needs and flat out REFUSE to provide any IRS financials even when asked for them by an attorney. Their attorney is also a close friend of the founders and also runs a rescue of her own- that piggybacks under the other rescues 501c3 status… so of course she is going to do favors for them on the legal side when asked. The problem is that she is not looking at things from the same perspective as most lawyers would do so. Instead the client/lawyer relationship seems to be about scratching each others backs regardless of doing what is the right thing to do….. I know the President and Treasurer alone of that rescue has
    anywhere from 12-18 dogs in their homes at all times. And I also know that they adopt out dogs with bite histories without disclosing that information to the adopters. I also know they remove quarantined animals (animals ordered to home quarantine) from counties with OUT permission and back into their homes with minor children and many other dogs there… all of which is against the law.

    But dare I say anything or even mention all of this and I am some sort of looney and liar. What is a person to do when they know the truth and can’t seem to get others to see it until one day when it is too late…???

    1. admin

      Hi Jennifer, Where is this rescue located? Ali

  67. suzanne collins

    West Side Cats in Youngstown, Ohio is a horible place for cats. They claim they are no-kill, but they are no care. The poor cats there are always sick. They are not isolated nor treated. Whatever ails them, usually kills them. Kimm Koocher runs this hellhole. She cons people out of money for everything, and the animals do not see a dime of it. They have had the electricity and phone shut off, yet they still get their weekly delivery of bottled water for their dispenser. Please someone look into this fraud.

  68. Danielle

    Here’s another scam horse rescue and surprise surprise This Horse Rescue is on property seized from an old man that got in over his head. The county charged him out the butt for their services and they took his horse farm barn etc for payment. So who “lives” here now? Of course!!! The Animal Control Officer that took all of the old mans assets and farm and an ex-cop who now works with all the local prosecutors administering Anger Management for convicted felons! He has also listed himself to be a veterinarian and a medical researcher that makes Horse Care Meds. Amazing! They post for donations etc – take in horse after horse and adopt hardly any. Most of them are shot in the head and buried behind their barn with a backhoe. If you look at their FaceBook site all you see are meaningless Twitter feeds. When investigated in 2011 the Animal Control director said that they were doing nothing illegal because its legal in Indiana to shoot livestock in the head . Go figure. Yet they are still there and people still think this group is wonderful. If you question the AC director she begins “behind the scenes bash and trash” while she is at work on her computer.

  69. Teresa McGill-Bowers

    What about somebody that keeps collecting money for an animal they no longer own or will ever again. They keep collecting and conning people making them think that they will get the animal back. But the courts have had him sign away his rights to said animal. Lies keep going on because some people will not read the court docs.

    1. admin

      That is fraud or theft by deception and you can report it to your local police/sheriff’s department.

  70. Valerie

    Great article! Thanks for writing. While it is horrible to think of all the bad rescues out there that scam people for money, I hope that people reading this will be encouraged to just do more research on rescues they want to donate to, so that the “good” and legitimate ones will receive needed funds. We are in the process of starting up a miniature donkey rescue. We had adopted two as companions for my retired show horses, and fell in love with them! As we did more and more research, and got to know more people who had miniature donkeys, we discovered a need for a local rescue for them, as there are many cases of neglect, and abuse, and in some cases, “questionable” sales at auctions. So, we are filing the necessary paperwork, and hoping we can help and re-home as many as possible. Thank you for all the good information.

  71. cassie

    My neighbor runs a so-called sanctuary. In time I figured out she was a self-centered liar. I ended up calling GFAS – Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. The director told me that my neighbor had all the traits of a sociopath and sociopaths are drawn to this kind of work. While a lot of sanctuaries are legit, there are others that know how to wheedle your money. Sociopaths are liars, highly personable, and highly manipulative. At my neighbor’s sanctuary, she brags about how well-cared-for the animals are, but if you look at their housing, it’s like a jail. She is an animal collector who has turned her hobby into a profitable business.

  72. Hopeful Volunteer

    I read through almost all of these comments and must say (almost sounding completely naïve) I had no idea how many of these rescues are not legitimate rescues. My ultimate goal is to have a pit bull rescue because as an owner of three rescued pit bulls, I know how misunderstood these dogs are. Never once did I even think about living off the money from donations. I assumed it would take every bit of donations to vet, feed, pull and shelter my dogs. I’m very disappointed to think people are running rescues that are not in the best interest of the animals. Unfortunately, I am becoming increasingly disappointed in humanity because of the sick, depraved individuals that are involved in animal abuse and now I read about all of the rescues scams.
    My reason for contacting you is that I have put in applications at so many rescues here in the Tampa Bay area because I would very much like to volunteer since it will be quite some time before I am able to ever start my own rescue, however, I NEVER receive a call back about volunteering. Would this be another red flag in the rescue scam? These rescues say they need volunteers etc… but make no effort to answer applications. I’m very discouraged because I really want to be an advocate for the animals. I already volunteer at Metropolitan Ministries and Ronald McDonald House but the animals are my passion and this is where I want to focus my time. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you for this article as It had a great deal of valuable information from you as well as the comments.

    1. admin

      I don’t know about definitively being a scam but any rescue that won’t respond to an offer to volunteer does not have their act together. I will put out some feelers for you regarding quality rescues in the Tampa Bay area that would cherish your generous offers to assist.

  73. Jolly P

    This woman is one of the scammers out there. Unfortunately she will continue doing what she does until someone stops her!


  74. Daisy

    I recently encountered an individual/group that I am VERY concerned about. I saw many of the red flags mentioned above. I have searched and searched but cannot find any evidence that anyone else is concerned. Does anyone here have any experience with any angels from Arkansas? If so, please reply to this post.

  75. Michele

    This is another rescue/transporter that is totally a scam. I’ve posted a link to the evidence against them, so I won’t say much more, except–the president and vice president are German Shepard breeders, who AUCTIONED OFF a puppy to help this so called rescue–they have never had a 501c, although they claimed to have, and—I have a dog that I tried to adopt from them for three months. He spent those three months nonstop in a small wire cage, outside, under a carport! She had received over $300 to vet him, however 3 months later, none of it was done. Luckily, these dogs were rescued by a couple of wonderful women, and I was finally able to adopt the dog I had wanted so long. When I got him, I spent over $600 to get him vetted(including heartworm treatment, as he had become positive for hw). And, even after all this people still support them. I don’t understand it, but you can look at the evidence and come to your own conclusions.

  76. Melissa B.

    Here is one for you to look at.
    https://www.facebook.com/LostFoundPetsWaState In my county there is a person who started making headlines through others facebook pages for missing/lost dogs. Then I saw an article from Examiner http://www.examiner.com/article/washington-animal-community-raises-thousands-to-save-dog-hit-by-car . And I am totally bugging on this because its just “one person” apparently collecting thousands of dollars $14k for a intact male dog hit by a car and returned to its owners.
    I’m really confused, I already sent an email to my state attorney general on this. If she is doing what I understand correctly, she is rescuing and covering very expensive care from donations received on her Facebook page to her Paypal account. The comments are stressful and some are pointing out that they cant claim a tax deduction. I dont know how long this person has been doing it, but in my mind I feel like there is something wrong. A lot of the points you mentioned in your article that was well put seem to match up with what I am seeing on those pages. Am I just confused or is this something to look into more closely?

    1. admin

      I haven’t looked into it but it sounds exactly like this situation needs closer examination for the reasons you specified.

  77. S

    I am glad I found this article. Great valid points on how to weed the good from the bad rescuers out there and more importantly, it can be applied not only for animal advocacy but to think critically before you donate to other non profit charity organizations as well. It is amazing how much stuff I had to read thru find this one blog that pretty much says it like it it. Thank you!

    I was thinking of donating time and money to The Best Friends Society. I found out that they have a new location in Los Angeles and also the NKLA, coalition of “70+” rescue organizations of which “Money that is donated to NKLA helps fund the initiative and is distributed amongst the coalition through spay/neuter project grants, operation grants, and adoption subsidies. This allows our coalition partners to do more work and effectively save more animals.”

    I asked their criteria for colaborating with one vs another rescuer and was told “we approve groups based on two criteria: they currently have their 501c3 non-profit status, and they are New Hope partners with LA Animal Services and actively working to save animals from LAAS shelters”

    Well, by doing a search on these organizations I found many that could not find any information on them (links broken), others do not answer my emails regarding the 990 forms, animal hoarders that disguise themselves as rescuers (http://www.yelp.com/biz/life-animal-rescue-agoura-hills) and so on

    So in essence I could be donating to NKLA thru Best Friends Animal Society and still is not a sure way that donation money is spent wisely. Sigh…

    1. admin

      Thank you “S”. Unfortunately in recent years Best Friends has not been the gold standard in rescue according to reports. See Nathan Winograd’s insightful article re Best Friends in LA and elsewhere http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?cat=12 . It seems like once these grass roots organizations get big they focus more on politics and raising revenue than animal welfare.

  78. ann

    I live in a state that is in the top five in the US of puppy and kitten mills.

    I finally decided to give up on looking for a cat here because the rescues and the shelters sell these ill cats with no disclosure. We need laws to get this to stop. The laws shut down pet shops and put greater restrictions on breeders. However, the rescues are recycling ill animals. Crazy ethically bereft business.

  79. ann

    I live in a state that is in the top five in the US of puppy and kitten mills.

    I finally decided to give up on looking for a cat here because the rescues and the shelters sell these ill cats with no disclosure. We need laws to get this to stop. The laws shut down pet shops and put greater restrictions on breeders. However, the rescues are recycling ill animals. Crazy ethically bereft business.

  80. Grace

    I saw a peice of a message about Pit Crew Rescue and would like to see all the comments. I have formal complaint with NYS Charaties Bureau and want to know if others have experienced the same problems with Pit Crew Rescue here on Long Island as I have.

  81. Deb

    Does anyone have any info, pro or con, about an operation in Elk Grove, CA called 1Love Dog Rescue? They have a Facebook page and their own website, and I don’t know much else about them.

    1. Matthew

      I am curious if ended up adopting from 1Love Dog Rescue? And if so, what your experience was and if not, why? We came across them and I have some unanswered questions. Thanks.

      1. Mark

        Justin Montgomery is a very long time acquaintance. He was troubled when we were in school, and his arrogance and temper have only increased. He and his wife started 1 Love about 2 years ago . Justin was raised around dogs, cats, horses and an assortment of pocket pets, He has decent care protocols, but I have seen him mistreat animals, kicking, tossing things, etc. I once saw him lose his temper annd intimidate an event staffer. Justin can be charming, he can play his violin, he can market, he can make believers. He was able to get his pups in to that Animal Planet Puppy Bowl in 2014. He has supporters. Justin’s primary sources for dogs are through ads and Craig’s List, He travels up and down California buying puppies from backyard breeders, claiming that he is saving these pups from uncertain fates, and that IS a part of the mission statement. . There are occasions when he pulls from shelters, partially to allay his critics who have noted that he does puppies only, the cute and purebred.To his credit, he does get the pups their shots, they are spayed or neutered and microchipped. That does stop the breeding chain. He does not, however, get the breeding bitch from those breeders/suppliers , so next year when the female has pups, that backyard breeder has only to make a phone call to get rid of the remaining litter pups and Justin will be on his way. . Go to their website and look at thir application for Fosters or Volunteers. Both of those pages ask “Are you Crazy? We don’t do drama”. Funny, Justin, the King of Drama. There are other oddities on both of those web pages. Justin and Tanya do care about dogs. Oon the other hand, they do have to make a living somehow.

  82. Me In Nevada

    I took in a dog to foster for a rescue a year ago but the rescue stopped paying me for the dogs food several months ago, and will not return my calls. What should I do? I am afraid to ruffle their feathers too much because I have more dogs than what my city allows, so I worry that they will turn me in to animal control if I go public with my complaints. What do I do?

    1. admin

      Aren’t they trying to get him or her adopted? You need to focus on that. There may also be dog food banks in your area. Ask Reno Humane for advice as they are No Kill too.

  83. 4theAnimals in MO

    I have found 4 known scams advertising as legitimate on All Paws, Adopt-a-Pet, and Petfinder. It seems these sites either do no verification at all, or only cursory ones and little rule enforcement. Here’s an example:

    There are a lot of posting on many rescue sites about this woman. Right now she has about 8 puppies from at least 3 different litters—purebred puppies being rare in rescue, especially healthy purebred FEMALES. Even more so when the puppies’ mothers are not also being put up for adoption as newly-spayed rescues….Something smells VERY fishy here. Her “rescues” are being SOLD fr 650.-700.00+ each….and unlike rescues taking in sick and elderly adults, she can’t have spent more than first shots and worming on these. Hmmmmm…check it out and spread the word if you know something; I’m just saying CAUTION!


  84. Brenda

    Good morning, in Feb. of 2013 my husband and I adopted a german shepard from a rescue, I believe that it is ligit., however the dog had a previous leg injury, we were told that it had been taken care of and all was well. The end of April I discovered an external drainage wound on the inside of the dogs left leg ( injury broken left femur) I have now discovered comments on facebook stating that the dog was recovering from surgery and would have to have a second surgery, that was in December of 2012 and we adopted the dog in Feb. 2013. We are very blessed to live close to University of CA vet school @ Davis, the dog is a love, we have spent 15,000.00 $, we are not wealthy but have good jobs. One I stated to this rescue would u pass the hat for Beauty, ignored. This past Friday, I was approached by a woman while @ UCD, that ask if I was interested in another shepard, I called the rescue owner, because there are 3 shepards involved, I thought she might be of some help,NOT. She of course, ask about Beauty, because she always ACTS very interested. I sent her a picture, she stated that she was not able to help the others, and it was nice to talk to me. I live in CA are there regulatory boards or any controls for these folks. All, of the vets that care for Beauty @ UCD cannot believe that this rescue has not offered to help. I would appreciate any info u can share.

    1. admin

      Unfortunately this sounds more like a case of buyer beware and not overt fraud. You can take her to small claims court if you have proof she promised to have your dog’s issue corrected prior to adoption and didn’t follow through. Sorry she hasn’t been more helpful. Thanks for being such a caring mom and best to you and your pup.

  85. Heather

    My family rescued a dog last summer that after 6 weeks we returned to the rescue. The dog was showing some aggressive behavior and when we had a trainer come to assess him, he tried to bite him. It was completely unprovoked and he gave no warning. We spoke with the trainer and our vet, both of them felt he shouldn’t be placed with a family with kids.
    The rescue was completely unprofessional when I reached out to talk about the return and really just awful! About a month after returning him my vet told me that another family had brought him in. The family had 3 young children. Ages 5, 3, and 1. The vet told them about his history with us and made them return him.
    This morning I found out that family is a family I know and I spoke with the mother. The rescue told them that we had gone on vacation left him with her and we never came back to get him and that we just didn’t want a pit bull. Both complete lies. They never mentioned anything about his aggressive behavior.
    Is there someplace to report a rescue?

    1. admin

      Yes to the BBB and your local Attorney General’s office. Also can review them on Yelp, Google, Kudzu, Yahoo, Facebook etc.

  86. a

    I am curious to find out what blog system you are working with?

    I’m experiencing some minor security issues with my latest site and
    I would like to find something more safe. Do you have any recommendations?

  87. Dorothy Robertson

    Do you have similar information regarding horse rescues? What do you suggest when a rescue is contacted by a state brand inspector the day animals are taken (based on “anonymous” complaints) and informed that they (the rescue) will be receiving the horses involved, when the state brand inspector transfers ownership the following day, the rescue messages the owner demanding the registration papers on the horses within one day “in order to preserve the bloodlines”, when the rescue claims a gag order as their excuse for not posting intake photos of the horses, when animals are moved more than 200 miles away….all BEFORE the owner is even charged with anything? What does one do when all of ones assets are taken and one is assigned a public defender who doesn’t even talk with a list of witnesses provided by the defendant and insists that the defendant accept a plea bargain….and later says to the defendant “you know you were set up and railroaded?”? What does one do when death threats are made within minutes of a court hearing, when someone states on a blog site that they have stalked you for 18 years, calling complaints wherever you have lived and plan to continue to do so “until I see her obituary”? What happens when a rescue is reportedly using animals obtained in such a situation for their own breeding program? When the rescue posts time and time again that they don’t have the funds to even care for the animals they have but continue to take in more? When they state that their primary help (the husband) is critically ill, that the rescue owner has a broken leg and only one week of feed? When the rescue owner begins a cross country hauling service with a trailer marked “not for hire” and posts her fees for hauling…who is taking care of the animals when she’s clear across the country? When anyone questioning any of this is attacked and/or blocked? When animals in her care are finally, more than a year and a half after being in her possession, put up for adoption and look worse than when they were taken? When information, scant as it is, is incorrect? When the rescue claims to be working under the “umbrella” of a dog rescue some 350 or so miles away and neither of them are listed with the state as is required in order to solicit donations within that state? When more than half the animals obtained are never accounted for? When one animal is apparently adopted out twice….and dies in the hands of the second adopter under iffy circumstances?

    I’ll take any information, suggestions, ideas you have (and if you have contacts within the state of NV that would like to take on this witches knot that would be awesome).

    Thank you.

  88. Angela Freda

    A few things to add:

    Confirm that the rescue primaries have actual, verifiable experience with the animals they intend to care for.

    There’s a ‘well regarded’ sanctuary for horse in the SE that puts a one-size-fits-all care regimen on their elderly horse residents. Anyone who knows old horses knows how that will work out [poorly for those that don’t know].
    Old horses do not have to look or be emaciated. Or sickly. Unless you insist on caring for them in a one-size-fits-all way, and refuse to look into newer treatment regimens.

    An animal at a rescue or sanctuary who looks emaciated, or sickly and who’s condition does not improve with time and care at that rescue/sanctuary is a HUGE red flag. There are no excuses for private owners keeping their animals in poor condition, the same is and should always be true of rescues/sanctuaries who should be the leaders and examples of optimal care, not making excuses for why animals in their care look poorly, longterm.

    Along with that, know what it costs to care for an animal of the sort the rescue/sanctuary cares for… when they say they care for 130+ horses who are elderly with a mere $200k a year, anyone with 1st grade math skills can see that this is not possible to do well, on that small budget. Horses are expensive. Old horses are WAY more expensive to care for properly. Improper care is not and should never be acceptable.

    Also, make sure that the people on the board are A) not all related and B) all have a physical presence at the rescue- someone 3 states away can not possibly know what goes on day to day. And more people on a board who are physically present serves as a check/balance that is very necessary. If those board members are also knowledgeable about said animal species, even better.

  89. Bosco

    Have you seen the recent Blue Star Equiculture antics? They put down one of their horses yesterday. but-before they did it their rescuers were taking selfies with the sick horses. Is that for real? What ever happened to dignity? I saw them doing it before when another horse was put down last year.


    Makes me so sick.

  90. Amy


    I’m having problems adopting cats from a rescue. Our situation was, we wanted to get two animals pulled from a high kill rate shelter so we offered to foster the two of them with the intention of adopting one. However, despite the fact they came from different litters and had never been sheltered together, we were able to introduce them so that they get along (after a few days of hissing and growling).

    Now they love each other so we decided to have my roommate adopt one and I adopt the other. This crazy rescue woman who technically adopted the cats from the shelter through the rescue is now saying that we have to keep the cats together forever or else she’s not letting us adopt either of them! I already paid her the adoption fee back and she cashed my check. Help! How do I protect these cats from a crazy lady and are there any regulations on these rescues that might prevent the mentally unstable from being in charge of an animal’s livelihood who reject perfectly good people from adopting animals because they don’t want to maybe but probably not split an animal up 3 years from now among other things? This woman also accused me of animal cruelty because I said the “cats would be fine. They’d be sad but with enough love they’d get over a separation,” because unless its terribly traumatic, cats bounce back. Help? I’m seriously concerned about this rescue after looking at other Yelp reviews. Check out the Yelp reviews for Tails of the City and this woman named “Carla.” I don’t want the animals I’ve bonded with to go back to this unstable person and I’m concerned she may be putting both animals and people in bad situations, but I don’t know if there are any laws that actually regulate shelters.

    1. admin

      A little confused as to the facts. Who actually owns the cats? ie who paid their adoption fees and has papers showing ownership? Thanks, Admin

  91. Natalie

    Was wondering if anyone knows of good rescues in the PA OR OHIO AREA! Any Information is great!!! Thanks looking for a pug or yorkie!

  92. Linda

    I would caution about your position that the rescue’s re-homing activities be the highest priority. There are way too many scam “rescues” who collect “stray” dogs without due diligence in checking if the dog already has an owner, without following up on microchips etc. Some are actively stealing dogs to transport over state lines in great numbers to be “adopted” by unsuspecting, good-hearted people that think they are helping.

    I might add that people “adopting” should request their vet scan for a chip and see if the dog was stolen before getting too attached. That dog may already have a family heartbroken and frantic looking for their pup.

    “Retail rescue” is simply the newest version of selling puppy mill pups along with making a lot of money off of well bred, healthy dogs taken from rightful owners. Flipping dogs is as common as flipping houses for profit these days.

    Please see: http://www.yankee-shelties.com/shetland-sheepdog-rescue.html for the latest scam about a Champion Shetland Sheepdog held hostage.

    It’s time to shut these people down.

  93. Brendan

    There is a big scam going on in the facebook pets pages called “animals need love as well” and “furry friends forever rescue” they are set up by a very shifty lady that has multiple fake profiles. She uses a profile by the name of “zoe eleni katina zaglas” this person fails 99% of everything thats been warned about in the above article!! I have a very good eye at spotting manipulative scammers and she is one without a doubt! Wen i asked her a simple question after she posted that she needs donations she IMMEDIATLY DELETED MY COMMENT BLOCKED ME AND BLOCKED ME FROM THE GROUP AND POSTED A COMMENT KNOWING I WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO SEE OR REPLY TO IT! She made numerous reports trying to bar me from facebook but i exposed her further with screenshots of all her fake profiles etc and has now locked down all information about herself and has been spying on everyone and trying to cover her tracks. I have alot of evidence of her shifty ways and she even sells OUT OF DATE ANIMAL MEDICATION AND FOOD PRODUCTS WHILE CLAIMING THAT A VET TOLD HER IT IS 100% safe!!!!! She constantly trolls gumtree for free pets then makes up stories that she “found” it etc plus she secretly puts up ads wanting free birds and heaps of other shifty stuff but she has brainwashed EVERYONE ON FACEBOOK EXCEPT ME AND MY TRUSTED FRIEND. Please look her up zoe eleni katina zaglas before she clears all her tracks. She has been up for days rearranging her pages trying to delete stuff but lucky i have screenshots to provide anyone that is sceptic.

  94. Sue Pearson

    Have you heard of this place: SNARR? I truly believe it’s fake. I asked them a simple question and they blocked me. On Facebook as “Snarr – Special Needs Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation” ran by Robin Menard at: https://www.facebook.com/DOGPOLICESNARR?fref=ts. What got my attention was a Facebook feed off of a pet rescue I follow that said SNARR was rescuing 200+ rotties, mastiffs, and danes. They have gofundme here: http://www.gofundme.com/fsypxk They have almost reached their goal of $5,000. People are asking NOW for pictures of these dogs supposedly rescued in a hoarding case in Illinois on October 18 and SNARR is from Louisiana. They are not showing pictures of this rescued hoard, or answering questions. They are, instead, saying when they went to the first rescue, they found a second rescue and showed pictures of a few puppies and talked about rescuing “9 puppies 4 adults and a rabbit placed from the hoarding situation.” I even called the animal shelter in their own location (Saint Martinville, LA) and they never heard of them. I also noticed that they delete any negative comments and don’t answer reasonable questions. When they blocked me, they emailed privately and told me I was a troll. I believe they are fake but I don’t know what else to do. They also have a webpage: http://snarranimalrescue.org/home.html. They do match a lot of the criteria you talk about in your article but I already felt it and asked them why the local shelter in their town had not heard of them and that’s when they blocked and sent me nasty emails. I just want to know what YOU think. Thank you.

    1. admin

      You can check out any 501 (c) (3) here http://www.guidestar.org/ and I do see them listed. You can request in writing to them to get a copy of their financials. When a rescue doesn’t answer questions or show pics it is not reassuring at all. They have a few pets up for adoption according to Petfinder. I personally have not heard of them. Admin

  95. A Reader

    I read this on one rescue’s web site, and it sent up so many flags I thought I was at the United Nations. See what you think of this:

    “Our rescue doesn’t have an actual shelter building in your area or mine. Therefore it is not possible to meet the dogs and pups in person prior to their adoption. The dogs are brought up north from various southern states on a transporter whose web site is (redacted) and beginning every Friday morning through the last delivery on Sunday afternoon you can follow the transporter by logging onto their site.”

    The rescue states that it is “privately owned” and therefore presumably would not be a non-profit or 501(c)3 or anything trackable. A Google search doesn’t turn up very much.

    Please advise. Thanks.

    1. admin

      Sounds strange. How are you supposed to adopt then? Admin

  96. A Reader

    I guess you have to judge the animals from the pictures on the web site (sometimes there’s only one picture!) and fill out an application, and after you’re approved and pay the adoption fee and transport fee (around $400 total), they bring the dog to you.

    These may very well be good people doing good work (that’s why I left out names) but the whole thing made me suspicious. Here is another blurb lifted verbatim from their web site:


    Make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate dog rescue? Indeed. I’m just not sure what to make of all this.

    1. admin

      Most legitimate rescues adopt out only in their own immediate area unless they are a rescue for a specialized breed.

      1. A Reader

        They don’t; they have all kinds of dogs, mostly puppies (another flag), and they list dogs in multiple northeast locations when, in fact, all the dogs are imported from southern states upon adoption. I checked the zip code for one of the northeast locations where this rescue claims to have a chapter, and the zip code is exclusively assigned to a bank (possibly a mail drop).

        Just too many suspicions aroused to feel comfortable doing business with these people.

  97. brandy mcelroy

    This pit crew rescue operates on Facebook & he’s on the registry of animal abuse. From 2012 & still operates under the same name. Easy to google. They are affiliate with another rescue that has u huge list of items that were stolen. He saying from Craig the animal abusers & asking ppl to donate to him every thing that was stolen. I Google him got all this info after he said they even stole all the dogs food water bowl even the collars off there necks. Just got the feeling some thing was not right after reading his stories…

    Does anyone know anything about southern souls animal league in Alabama.

    1. Delaney

      Do not know if this is the same Pit crew rescue I m talking about but…. I have felt that things have been off for years… He ran into a serious problem with some neighbors and had things stolen, had to move and was homeless many times, had to rebuild regularly, begging for donations and if he can not get them he will have to shut down… Tons of pictures of his naked upper half and tatted up and then a story about how if I can not operate anymore than i got these tats f or nothing… Hmmm…. I actually met him back when he did pool openings and such years ago before he started pit crew rescue.. He did not have his license or car lived out of a small apartment and had zeus.. Zeuss is ver very sweet and does love kids… but I stopped talkign to him personally shortly thereafter because something just wasnt right about him….

  98. Rita

    I am the Founder of a Horse Rescue in Northern California. Yes, we are a 501(c)3 Non-Profit.
    Unfortunately, the local Animal Control has been harassing our operations for going on 3 months due to personal conflict. We have complied over and above to all of their concerns… yet now they want copies of each horse’ file. They are attempting to manipulate us into surrendering all of the horses in our care so that they can be sent down to another ‘Rescue’ known for euthanasia of healthy horses upon intake. Are there any known laws and/or regulations that I am able to rely on to “not” provide copies of the records??
    Thank you!

    1. admin

      Who is the other rescue they want to send the horses to?

  99. June Thresher

    I filled out adoption papers and went to McShoogy’s Animal Rescue 11519 State Road C in Savannah, Missouri. The dog I wanted to adopt was #32 Billy a senior Border Collie. He was taken to McShoogy’s as as stray puppy in 2000. He is now 14 years old, and does not have much time left, has never been socialized, he is scared and a biter. He cowers in corners and does not associate with volunteers or other dogs. When I visited Billy he was found hiding behind the cages. After a time, I was able to win some trust and he even allowed me to pet him. The director of this 501C3 facility would not allow me to adopt Billy stating ‘he has lived there his entire life there and will die there’ and threatened to remove him from the website. I can give Billy a good home with one to one attention and lots of love. The facility is filled to capacity and noisy and not conducive to the health and well being of any animal. I consider the actions of this director cruel and inhumane to deny Billy a home.

    M’Shoogy’s Famous Emergency Animal Rescue
    About M’Shoogy’s
    General Information
    Our Dogs
    Our Cats
    List an animal for adoption or view listed animals
    How to donate
    Low cost vet services!
    Frequently asked questions
    How to get to M’Shoogy’s
    Contact us


    Born in 2000
    Came to M’Shoogy’s in 2000

    M’Shoogy’s says I have special needs because I am scared and I tend to bite (wouldn’t you bite if you were afraid?). They say that if I spend some time with a trainer or an experienced owner that I should be OK. I am a very beautiful dog that looks like a border collie so I am probably very smart and will learn fast. I was found as a puppy and have only known M’Shoogy’s; I would like to know you if you have some patience and some heart for a lost soul.

  100. JesMc

    It looks like it’s been 2 years now since this article was written and it rings as true as ever. I am on the Board of a breed specific dog rescue and am very interested in people’s stories and experiences. Our rescue has a group of loyal followers, has 501c3 status, is on Guide Star for anyone to see, can account for every penny donated and will provide financials for anyone who asks. But personally, I am less and less willing to part with my own financial donations to any rescues I don’t know a WHOLE lot about. It is sad and unfortunate, but I am more suspicious than ever before about scammers.

    There are a few rescues who really seem to be doing wonderful work and whom I would like to support, but I don’t have luck finding financial information on them. Is the only recourse to ask them directly for their financial reports?

    Thanks for your work in the area. It’s very interesting.

    1. admin

      Thanks for your kind words. You can request the financials from the IRS if the 501 c 3 won’t supply them.

  101. Lisa Hughes

    Do you know of any fraudulent charities that have been successfully prosecuted for misconduct. such as forgery, violations of DOA protocol, and dog flipping?

    1. admin

      Not for those things specifically no. Individuals have been successfully prosecuted for theft and fraud.

  102. Irene

    SCARS Pit Bull – Indiana

    Stay clear…they are frauds.I naively believed just because they called themselves a rescue they’re good people…they’re not!
    Had a puppy I rescued from the cold took her to the Vet. They lied to my face and they stole her and my coat from me and I had to go to the Police station to file a report. Now I’m going to Court also. They are in it for the funding of donations only. They are dishonest and dishonorable I wish I had read this article first! They do not show where they are and now I have learned to check people out FIRST!!!

  103. redriveratdawn

    Okay, I am now officially confused. You are asking rescues if they EUTHANIZE? For space? I hope that you are not under some ridiculous idea that all the rescues out there have a cremation machine they can just pop animals into when they have too many. What exactly went thru yoiur head to make you ask that?

  104. Alexsey

    What do you think of this site? Is that legitimate?

    1. admin

      Yes. I think they are only promoting the cats on death row at the NYC shelters.

  105. Irene

    Left a review of SCARS Pit Bull Rescue-Indiana. They are in it for the money only.
    Don’t trust them.
    My comment from 10 days ago is still awaiting moderation??

  106. Sue Simmons

    Can anyone tell me about Penny Sanderbeck and Central States Ohio Rescue? Are they truly tax exempt? If I donate money to them is my donation deductible? Has anyone had any bad experiences with Penny Sanderbeck?

  107. Melissa

    Now that these scam rescues have learned how to control Facebook and the internet, it is impossible to even post things that you have proof and knowledge of, Because if you post it on topix or craigs list, they just simply delete it! and then tell everyone in your community that you are crazy, there is no possible way to make money in rescue. When you go to the new board meetings, which conveniently Have both Mayors and 2 former politicians, That politically have taken over The animal shelter, to make sure that only members of the crooked rescue could work in shelter. Facebook has been generating 1000 s of new pages for almost 1 yr now. so now some of these scam rescues have 2 and 3 facebook pages?

  108. Foster Mom

    I am fostering 2 dogs for a rescue. This lady has told me she pays out of her own pocket for her animals and that she is $70,000 in debt. 1 of the dogs has gone after my dog twice now and she has told me not to tell anyone and that I signed a contract to have them for a minimum of 2 weeks. She doesn’t post for fosters in fact she found me on craigslist asking for any unwanted or unused dog items for donations. Her dog has also bit me and these dogs are still in my house. She refuses to come and get them and I am not sure how to deal with this. I do not want to get sued but I still want to foster dogs just never again with her! What can I do?

    1. admin

      Did you have an agreement with this lady or rescue?

  109. Leigh Taylor

    I am so glad to have come accross the article above.

    I went to Tia Torres’ s Meet and Greet event this past weekend, and enjoyed myself.

    Then, I visited Best Friend’s website. And, from there I watched, Eldad Hagerty’s rescue videos. I watched the video’s non-stop for a day.

    And, came accross an article about Mr. Hagerty that was negative. I was planning to donate, in Feb., when I had money.

    I now know what questions to ask, before donating.

    I will be checking out local groups, before donating.

    Thanks again.

    1. admin

      Thanks Leigh!

  110. A.Holmes

    I recently adopted a dog from an agency called 4 Lucky Paws out of Peterborough. My experience with them was awful. I can not find any proof of their actual “rescue”. They have a facebook site but all the vets I have called have little to no knowledge of them at all. We adopted a dog through them and later learned that they had no part in the rescue, transportation or vetting of this dog. They then proceeded to send me nasty emails requesting adoption fees for the dog that they never even met. We were prepared to pay the adoption fee but the dogs fee suddenly started to become higher with each nasty email. This agency is dishonest, rude and in no way one I would ever deal with again. They lied about contact that took place, began sending messages to my husband filled with dishonest statements and partial emails that were sent. Overall, they are very shady and I would caution anyone that has considered them as a source of adoption. They provide no food, no supplies for the foster animals they promise to supply for and they will lie about emails and proceed to change the fees when it comes time to adopt the animals. Please use caution!! We adopted our fury family member officially but have had nothing but negative dealings with this “rescue”.

  111. BirdLady

    I am shocked and well I could say surprised but it’s the world of today to hear this stuff. We are a recent 501C3 rescue, took almost 13,000 for all the paper work and attorneys. We will if only it’s in the animals best interest . Adoptions , to me result in money , and the ongoing cycle of problems. We are currently looking for land to be more of a sanctuary. I have agreed with most of the dialogue, but we don’t have people visit and see what we are doing as it really stresses the animals out. Too me it’s the animals that come first.

  112. Irish

    This is in regards to the false allegations being made against Heart Of rescue,they are a legit organization and have other chapters on the globe including a chapter in Portland,OR where I have donated,just because they are in Turkey as Adopt Global is doesnt give anyone the right to shame them,just saying and oh btw I have contacted the founder of Heart of rescue asking them to address the false lies against them!

  113. Fostermommy

    My question has to do with the board of directors. Can the board consist of only paid staff in a rescue organization? It is illegal? Doesn’t it leave the board open for lawsuits or fraud?

    1. admin

      There are many unanswered questions that must be asked. Are they are non profit corp under their state? Which state? Is is at small operation? Is it a 501 c 3 under the IRS? Usually Board members don’t get paid but in a tiny operation some may wear several hats and also be the employees and also be the officers of the corp as well. That is not illegal or fraud but must be done within state and federal guidelines again depending on how they are set up.

      1. Judy

        There are two ways to become a non profit. Many huge companies like the American Red Cross, and many others are non profit but do have paid employees. A rescue for animals that is a 501c3 does not have any paid employees and is not allowed to pay volunteers. I read that the President can receive gas money up to a certain amount per year. Also I read that the president of the company can be paid but honestly my rescue has never had enough money for me to even think about that. All 501c3 rescues have an EIN# or they are not a 501c3. And I areee that being a 501c3 does not make a rescue a good one. I personally feel that any rescue placing a very large amount of dogs each month can not possibly be screening potential adopters very well if at all.
        I would highly recommend that regardless of your rescue annual income do your taxes every year! The IRS in some states have made it mandatory. I have always filed. Should a rescue apply for a GRANT that tax form
        is usually a requirement.
        We do not take in as many dogs as we used to but if a dog is on the website you can be sure it has already been spayed/neutered, micro chipped, up to date on shots, dewormed and HW Negative.

        1. admin

          Some misinformation here. Yes a rescue can pay an employee. If you need one get one, and get a good accountant to make sure all is reported correctly.

  114. donna

    please help… i was involved in a rescue as a volunteer. there was two dogs there who were not so cute and they were sent up to the rescue ” boarding ” in another state. this was a year ago and the two dogs were never seen or spoken of again. when asked about them …. crickets. please help .. is there any way to investigate?

    1. admin

      The rescue should be transparent and answer questions. Ask where the dogs were boarded and then check. Directly ask what happened to them

  115. Virginia

    Just to give everyone a heads up, there are also intermediaries that claim to find sanctuaries for animals deemed unadoptable. These intermediaries are not rescues yet they have non profit status and solicit donations. I just had a run in with one intermediary in the Los Angeles area. Looks like I may have had to file a restraining order against the CEO of the organization and I may have to litigate. She obtained my phone number without my permission then proceeded to make false accusations against me. Looks like I will have to litigate to get her to stop harassing me. She is also circulating bullying, intimidating emails and flat out lies about me and my attorney is standing by to send her a cease and desist letter. All at my expense. In the meantime I will be contacting the shelters and sanctuaries that use her services to let them know they will not be receiving donations from me because of their association with this intermediary. My advice to all of you is do your research and make sure your donations are going to a reputable & transparent organization weather they are rescues, sanctuaries or intermediaries.

  116. Michele

    I have a question. My husband and I adopted a 6 month old puppy in KY from a Rescue for $250.00. We have a 10 day trial, but note they have already cashed my check. Upon taking the him to my vet we found out he has coccidia and a horrible yeast infection in his ears. We discussed his care with our vet and we decided to treat our other two dogs to keep from passing the coccida back and forth as I understand it is contagious. I sent and email to the rescue letting them know he was ill and they needed to let their foster know in case they had any other pets. I also told them him came to us ill and because of that I wanted to know if they would waive his adoption fee or help with the vet bills since his vet bills and the medicine to treat my other two dogs exceeded the cost of his adoption. Now they are demanding the pup back saying since we asked for help that we can not financially afford the pup and we are not responsible pet owners. Which is ridiculous and our Vet is willing to go to battle on our behalf about the quality of healthcare we give our dogs. We replied we would not bring the pup back. Today ends the 10 day trial period and we have not heard from them. What does this sound like to you? Could they take the pup back only because we asked a question of assisting us since he came to us sick? I did not feel we have done anything wrong. This has caused me much stress and anxiety, quite frankly I’m a mess. I am afraid I will walk outside and they will have stolen him back.

    1. admin

      Many times dogs/puppies are ill whether obtained from a shelter, breeder or rescue. Often the seller or rescue may truly not know beforehand. There are usually no guarantees. I haven’t seen the agreement if any they signed with you but it sounds like he is yours since it is past the 10 day trial period. I doubt they will steal him back.

  117. Tommy Pistone

    This is something we read and posted awhile back with valuable information on it, when we started rescuing sadly we ran into several dishonest things that worried us, this is why our rescue
    Fredo Helping PAWS in Need Animal Rescue posts updates, we also will most certainly help someone who is wanting to rescue a sick baby that’s going to be euthanized just because of kennel cough that’s despicable that no one wanted to help that lady above, for we take these precious sick babies and then we make sure they get x-rays they get top-of-the-line treatment and we do not run a tab at our doctors office we pay as we go.
    We literally charge on our credit cards friends, we write checks out of our personal account we do all of this and yet we do have wonderful supporters and friends who donate however our vet bills are monumental our donations do not even reach what we spend to save these animals and believe me we don’t care, to look in their eyes and see that we made the difference we help them we help them overcome maggots eaten at their bodies, dogs that were put through the fight club’s healed, kennel cough, babies that were going to be euthanized that had pneumonia and hookworm and roundworm parasites, Giardia, broken bones, hernias spaying neutering, deadly heart worm disease all stages we help them, we do all of this from our hearts, and believe me our donations are so much appreciated but we do not even take in enough to pay our doctor bills so we charge it on our personal credit cards that’s how honest we are and we post the doctor bills, our website if any of our friends are supporters want to see our 501(c)(3) there are most welcome to it that’s there right if they want to see our articles of incorporation that too is there right.
    We are an open book we rescue because it’s from our hearts not to take pledges or donations like we seen before not go to the animal for this happened to us with a couple of shelters that we used to rescue some animals that we no longer use now we only stay with the reputable shelters like Cumberland NC Shelter, Henderson Shelter Nc, Raleigh Shelter Etc all those we trust and respect highly.

    Sadly we see many people doing post and threads asking for pledges and yet the dog is not being saved and it always made me wonder who gets the pledges this is so ethically wrong on many levels, we were incurred expenses from a rescue that we saved from, the people took in over $3000 in pledges and kept them, when we asked once we got the dog back to the vet and paid we said what about the money for his medical care oh that rolls over to our vet bill to pay our doctors that bill for other animals well that’s not fair because you good people did not know those other animals so why should you pay a huge old doctor bill that they ran a tab up on when you did not even pledge for those animals are new nothing about them. That is just so morally wrong!

    However in any organization or business you have good and you have the bad and you have the ugly and sadly you just have to trust your heart and trust your instincts and go with the good and if you incur ugly as we have stay away from it and learn a lesson but don’t stop supporting the good rescues like us and other people and other shelters there is much more good than there is bad yes we ran into ugly ourselves but that’s part of rescuing and learning and we learned valuable lessons the important thing here is we saved these precious babies we make them well and if we can foster them and find them happy adoptable loving safe homes than we did our job, but sadly adoptions we have found even though we’ve had so many successful ones we’ve had two very bad ones very very bad, so you have to be very careful who you adopt to even on a trial basis for they can pass your references they can pass your trial application all to turn around and put your dog on craigslist and sell it to a fight club this happened to us recently and believe me it hurts our hearts deeply and we will never stop until we find our precious dog and no stone will be left unturned until we do, so just remember friends there’s much more good in people than there is evil, it’s hard to know who you can trust today that’s for sure but we will never stop believing in our supporters our friends but our adoptions are now extremely and I mean extremely going to be difficult and this is because the bad ones make it this way and that is sad, we’re going to have to ask for personal information that may offend someone but that’s the way it’s got to be and if it opens the person that they really don’t want the dog bad enough for we will never adopt another dog or cat to anyone that has an issue with our adoption contract.

    Look on Goldstar make sure they’re listed if the rescues listed then you know they’re honest, if they’re listed on the registry for rescues you know they’re doing their homework and they’re making sure that you know they’re reputable for we will never ever compromise our morals or are beliefs for anyone!
    Recently we had a horrible adoption and this lady is a devil in sheep’s clothing she can sell ice cream to an Eskimo, just have to be careful friends very very careful who you adopt too and that is sad these precious animals don’t deserve to end up in fight club’s end up not being fed or watered taking care of they did not ask to be abandon tortured beaten it’s horrific what mankind has done to these precious creatures and what’s really bad is adopters conning rescues and making people think they’re good when they’re not just be careful friends, save your proof all messages everything for the police said they use that to help prosecute the bad people hurting these sweet animals! Thank you.
    Tommy Pistone
    Fredo Helping PAWS in Need Animal Rescue INC.
    If you have any information about a pitbull lab mix that’s black-and-white 65 pounds male neutered his name is Roscoe last seen in Florida was sold on craigslist by two sisters to a man involved in fight clubs in Miami please contact us thank you.

    1. admin

      Some very good points Tommy.

    2. Martha Pfeifer

      I understand a few bad apples theory, but be honest how many times do you know of personally where a dog was resold for unethical purposes? when people decide to get a new pet it should be a fun process, not long and drawn out. Certainly there must be red flags to look for, and make those people run the gauntlet. But a 60 year old man who has lived in the same community most of his life because and wants a dog because he recently lost his wife is probably a safe bet.,. Consumers cant tell who is good or bad because you operate the same way.. The pendulum has swung too far. 20 yrs ago we euthanized left and right. Today one animal is too many, but here is my opinion let people who want an animal have an animal and 90% of all rescues go bye bye. I realize one of these bad people might get a couple dogs, and that’s sad, but these are animals, and I lcve my dog, and unfortunately one or two might not make it for the greater good of all dogs. Every man who has served in a war has risked or lost his life for the rest of us. If its ok for people, its ok for an animal. Start a registry like we do for sudafed. We can only buy one box of sudafed a week I dog per person per 5 yrs.Before I get a nasty response from somebody think about this. So many more dogs could be saved world wide. At the last summer olympics Rio De Jamerio had tons of stray dogs, They are poisoning these dogs to keep the population down.
      I just rescued a dog from a rescue.. Total cost about grand. Will I ever go through another rescue? Nope!! Not unless the process changes. Until then, I’ll find a breeder.

  118. Judy

    I recently in good faith adopted a little guy from a well known rescue here in Ohio….told that he was so excited when his foster mother came home from work he jumped around and would bark with glee…..of course you cant meet the little one you are interested in till you complete an application and get approved…after approval they said I don’t have to pick him up they would bring him to my home (warning) but I was anxious to get him.
    My daughters came over to welcome him, the rescue said he is very mellow (that doesn’t match with jumping for joy) but again I wanted him badly. When they came I fell in love instantly….took him in my arms and said this is the one. They told me and showed me the little guy has been vetted and had a dental…..so so here is where our education started, we tried for 5 days to get him to walk, move,drink,eat….he would sleep with us didn’t want to get out of bed. The 5th day I said to my husband got to take him to our Vet….well, first we found our he was not mellow he was in pain, also has a tapeworm and hookworms and his teeth were fairly cleaned not
    quality cleaned a lso his nails were over an inch long so we had the Vet take care of the tapeworm and hookworms, trim his nails and also hydrate him….the pain was caused by his back end and he needed surgery
    approx. 3800.00,. So we went home and spent the next 3 days watching, giving medication (it helped) but he couldn’t stay on forever…found out they got him from the pound, don’t know who Vetted him but obviously not vetted properly his teeth were cleaned at a school for assistants to Vets where you have to leave the dog for 3-4 days…his back end wasn’t a pull and he wasn’t mellow he was in pain. Contacted the rescue told them of all
    the lies, omissions or whatever…they picked him up 2 days later and my fee was refundedt to me. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, after 3 weeks I again contacted the rescue and asked if they would tell me how he is. Their exact words were that he is with a new foster mom, contented and happy and scheduled for surgery in the following week. True or not that is what bothers me…….

    1. admin

      If you offer to contribute to his care and really do it – you may find out some of your answers.

  119. Deb

    How do I find out if the, in this case, a horse rescue in Ohio is legit? First, saw on a ’cause’ website about a horse that needed to be ‘saved’ and the rescue took the horse, provided the cost of shipping, $285.00, and $900.00 for basic needs, and then additional funds as well. Their ‘contact’ posted this on their Facebook page, and I donated. I was contacted and provided some information that their were problems with the rescue, and now I am concerned. In March, the President of this Northwest Ohio Rescue, said they were closing in March of this year, due to ‘problems’. That didn’t happen, and not sure what the deal is. How do I find out if this person and their rescue is indeed a 501 (3) in the Lorain County, Ohio area? If the person was closing in March, but now isn’t, wouldn’t the funds of hte 501 (3) be questioned or terminated for not meeting the standards of the 501(3)? Where can I go and contact to find out, so to know that this place is legit, horses are safe, and monies are not being used illegally or put in owners pocket. Thank you. Deb

    1. admin

      501 c 3 is a federal approval not state but they would most likely also have to be a non profit corp in their state as well. You can ask the secretary of ohio and also inquire at the AG’s office plus look them up on Guidestar

  120. Sheila

    Admin, I am currently seeking non-profit status as a welfare organization, not just so I can solicit donations for what I do, but so I can utilize volunteers and write off some misdemeanor community service. I am disabled and as a part of contributing to society, I rescue urgent case Pitbulls and train them as emotional support service animals for some of the other patients that are seen through the Cobb/Douglas Community Service Board. It started because I have an emotional support dog and love the breed then progressed to helping my friends. Then I found a loophole in the BSL and paired with some local non-profit shelters and began working with them. Now I personalize each individual adoption and promote the dogs who are in desperate situations and allow the adoptive parent to pick their dog and I use resources to get them fully vetted and spayed/neutered and because most of my clients are on a fixed income, I foot the bill and if the adopter can pay the fees, I get only what I put in. If not, I pay the bill and what once was a homeless animal finds their forever home and gets a job. I do applications. I do home inspections. I do it for all the right reasons. The only thing is I’m getting popular just by word of mouth an I’m a little overwhelmed by the amount of people who really need my services thus the need for non-profit status. Before I go out and hire an attorney, I have some questions that you or someone on your forum can help me with. I have a name…Pitbulls of Wounded Souls. I have a mission statement…”Trying to save the breed that’s most misunderstood while trying to save myself.” I know I have to pay to register my name and I have to pay when I submit my application to the Secretary of States office. Since I am only coordinating adoptions and not running a shelter, do I even have to deal with the Department of Agriculture?

    1. admin

      Since we are unsure of exactly all you will do please read the dept of ag rules for shelters on their page and see.

  121. Licensed WIRES Scammers

    Parrot rescue centre Newcastle bird rescue Lyn John Neil Rutherford parrotalert.com Inga Tiere WIRES and many more are all con artist.

  122. Licensed WIRES Scammers

    Scam Watch for animal lovers on facebook help and support scammers like dianna itskos and morons with imaginary stories like sasha chambers.

  123. lakota sandoe

    Shayna Rowe sells puppies infected with parvo virus to families and leaves them heartbroken when they die or with thousands in ver bills to keep them alive. she goes by the names of pawsitive rescue, starseed rescue, star rescue and is based in TN sells dogs in MA, NJ, NY, CT, VT, MI etc.. career criminal, animal abuser


    If a rescue aquires and adopts out many more than they post and they do not share where all these dogs are coming from, they charge 350 to 400 adoption fees. They have others watching groups and shelters to get breed specific dogs for them. They take an occasional sad case and use it to generate lots of donations because over many years they have aquired lots of followers. They work with a vet and recieve extremely large discounts yet they are telling people they pay full price. Would this rescue be questionable? If someone had proof that this rescue tried to bribe a shelter employee to get a breed specific dog before it was to be off hold and available for adoption what should they do with that information or is it ok to do that?

    1. admin

      We don’t comment on specific rescues or vague allegations of which we have no knowledge. The guide is meant to answer questions you ask yourself and gives tips for acting on what you find out or don’t find out or how to find out.

  125. T Karol

    I appreciated reading your article. I was recently “erased” and scolded for asking a legitimate question of a charity I had donated to on several occasions. I couldn’t believe how rude ththese people were and found myself wondering if they were legit. They are only willing to show messages of years and prayers and $. I am a longtime animal advocate connected with a highly respected no-Jill. I never expected to be so mistreated just for an inquiry. It seems that people have a right to know a bit about where they are donating…esp. when the same situation generates multiple calls for funds and the same people keep donating…I’d read of other incidents involving this charity and then those posts mysteriously disappear….like my question!
    They’ll take your money but not your curiosity. I always thought it was ok to ask. If I couldn’t ask questions, none of my rescued could have been homed.
    Wondering if you know much about “For the love of Alex”.
    Again, Thank you for your article. I am building a little fort around my heart to avoid meanies and manipulators….

  126. Pamella

    I know for sure the nonprofit dog rescue has been buying puppies from puppy mills and puppies for sale really cheap on yard sale sites then adopting them out with high fees claiming they were rescued when they truly purchased the puppies

  127. Chris

    I am asking for help as the same thing has happened to our family in Pa. We need help from anyone and everyone that cares so deeply about their pets and animals. Please share, copy and paste to any account you may have. This is the only way we can shut rescues like this down.




    As of 6/13th Max was found on adoptapet.com with adopted stamped overtop him. He was never taken off of their website or puppyfinder.com. As you have read prior, this was ordered by the police department in her city. They also told her he was not to be adopted until the matter was settled. Again the rescue shows they are above the law and do not have to follow the law. To the right of the picture talked about adopting. This was found below his picture.

    This stated, “Why Adoption is a Great Option
    Max, a New Oxford German Shepherd Dog dog was adopted! Here’s how you can benefit by looking at adoption as an option to buying a German Shepherd Dog for sale in New Oxford, or seeking a German Shepherd Dog dog from a breeder in New Oxford.

    Rescues and shelter volunteers in New Oxford already know the personality and tendencies of their pets. This means they can match you with the right pet. That will makes it much easier transition to owning a pet for yourself and your new pet.
    On average adoption fees are much less than you’d pay a New Oxford breeder, or pet store. Plus most often rescue pets have already been to the veterinarian for a check-up, had a round of vaccinations, and are spayed or neutered. That is a lot of savings!
    You will become a hero, and give a needy dog or cat a loving home. In fact, there are even German Shepherd Dog breeders who help with German Shepherd Dog rescue. One puppy or kitten adopted in New Oxford paves the way for another one to be saved.”

    Max needed rescuing from her. Again he was never hers or her rescues to adopt out. This has got to be stopped from happening anymore. Max is still legally our dog and it saddens me that people are allowed to steal and profit off of other people’s animals. He was a family member not a dollar sign. Help stand up to rescues that treat animals this way. This is a form of animal cruelty and needs stopped. Use your voice and sign you name. Share my story so other stories can come out as so many already have been. Uncover the truth. It is not adoption when you steal from another. Think of my three young children that will never see their dog again because of her malicious and defiant conduct along with the rescue she represents. Stop others from suffering like we have had to along with the ongoing pain and unkind, cruel words we have had to endure. Have a voice. Stand up to stop rescue dishonesty and stealing. Justice for Max.

  128. El

    Does anyone know about “must love dogs?” Not a rescue or a shelter but solicit donations?

  129. Julia Nunnery

    I went to my local shelter to adopt a dog I had seen on their adoptable list. I had called on Monday 07/18
    and was told the animal would be available Wednesday 07/20. They don’t hold animals and it is first come
    serve first serve. When I got there Wednesday they had a note on the cage to hold for an anonymous
    rescue group.
    Is it normal for a rescue group to want to be anonymous?
    How do they get donations? How do they adopt out animals if they remain secretive?
    I read the article about rescuing “…more than 120 animals from a neglectful animal rescue…” in Hoke
    County, NC. That’s between 40 and 50 miles to Lee County shelter. That made me worry even more. I
    can’t ask local law enforcement to investigate because they are local law enforcement.
    I had another county’s animal control officer tell me that they don’t adopt to rescue organizations. I should
    have asked him for more information.
    Well. I can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong.
    Why would they want to remain anonymous?
    I want to know what ‘my’ local shelter is up to. I do pay taxes.

    1. admin

      Yes you as a taxpayer have a right to ask enforcement questions. I don’t understand how enforcement is also the secretive rescue group however.

  130. Ralphie

    So what is a factually known honest to goodness, no BS, reputable org that is squeaky clean if someone were to donate?

  131. J

    Dear sir or ma’am,
    Would you please share any information you have on an organization called He’Art Of Rescue.
    They are extremely active on Facebook seeking donations.
    Thank you.

    1. Mike Vienna

      I also like to know more about them. Donated allready but like to know more prior to further donating. Thnx & Rgrds

  132. Alaska Girl

    I agree wholeheartedly with your article. My experience has been nothing but negative with an organization called Rescue Oasis in Palmdale, CA. It appears to not be a 501c3. It appears that charges that have not been discussed or even identified are added suddenly and payment demanded. Do your homework before using the services of these types of organizations and groups!

  133. Donna Challender

    What about a Rehoming site for special needs dogs that is operating as a rescue group without a 501c3 or registering with Petfinder or the other two. They collect monies for transports, do no home inspections, everything is done through Facebook and Email. They have people fill out surrender paperwork on their animals and frequently tell them they have given up their rights. Dogs have gone to some questionable homes with some dogs dying within 2 months or less at their new home. Does the pet owner that surrenders their pet have any recourse legally against this kind of group?

  134. Peter

    So glad to see an article like this. It’s true how Facebook is used to bleed money. I too have had a bad time with Save-A-Life not kill shelter. New people cam in and nothing but false statements have come out wanting money, The rescue was started in 1995 by a person other then the ones in charge now. Which they have had for about two years. The President is anything but what he pretends to be. Money is the only thing they want. They are a 501c3 only because the original owner turned it over because of illness. She was sold a bill of goods. Only two people are in charge, no board of directors as it’s to be. They do as they please, which means the 200 cats they have do not see a vet. If people had looked into this person snd his other website they would see who he really is. Made the comment about growing pot on the property which was his business in the past. Caring for cats is just a smoke screen. It’s so sad.. Again thanks for getting this out..

  135. Martha Pfeifer

    I rescued from an organization that said my dog came from another state. The application was long. It asked questions about how I would discipline a dog, where she would sleep. When I picked her up at the volunteers house she had about 12 dogs. She yelled at them, make clapping sounds, to scare them into submission. These were not all rescue animals either. She offered boarding services if I was ever in need. She also hinted for dog food donation money. My dog was so skinny I could feel every bone in her body. I brought her to the vet the within two days. She had a really high white count and was put on antibiotics. Within a day she was a completely different dog. The thing that irritates me is while they are doing a background check on me, inspecting my home, and telling me I had to do ridiculous safety corrections before I would be considered as an acceptable applicant, my little dog was suffering in their care.450.00 fee, vet,and home safety changes I spent 1000.00 to get a mix bread rescue dog.

  136. Martha Pfeifer

    Where can I get info to see if they are non profit, and how much the CEO makes yrly. Also do rescues only get federal money or can state also be contributing? They said my dog was microchiped, but I never got any documents, how do I confirm this. Lastly the cheapest dog was about 200.00 old or sick. Most cost 450.00. At this rate what would be the rate of rescue/adaption you would expect from a nonprofit. what info is a nonprofit legally obligated to make public or supply if asked. I live in MN. Lastly they did an extensive background check on me. I did not expect this. It was done by the volunteer. She asked me about an address ten yrs back. Should I be concerned? I have had some credit fraud issues recently. My last dog I bought in a strip mall for 50 bucks. I kinda miss those days.

  137. Susan Adams

    I have MS and have been looking for a young lab to adopt. It seems the rescue organizations won’t adopt to me since I plan to place the dog with an experienced service dog trainer (20+ years experience) as the dog might be returned. This seems odd to me as service dogs are valued and would never be turned back in after trained. It seems like some I have dealt with seem more interested in finding reasons to not adopt their animals out.

    Do you have any insight?

  138. Jay

    In Australia almost all the rescues hide everything they do. When anyone tries to question them they will delete ur comments and block you then spread lies about you behind your back in case you decide to speak out. And donations is not the only issue here… Its also about the animals themselves that are a commodity. ESPECIALLY pet parrots. The rescues and wildlife carers are always looking for people who find some ones lost pet parrot and they will convince then to hand it over to them so they can look after it until they find the owner… which of coarse is EXTREMELY RARE. Thus they end up scoring a free bird. These birds simply vanish and if anyone asks about them at a later date they (the wildlife carers or rescuer) will get very offended and will ridicule you because you asked. WIRES and the Parrot Rescue Center in Australia are two of the BIGGEST CON ARTISTS you can find but they are so good at conning people that its almost impossible to get people to notice. The laws here also protect them from having to be transparent. There is also a lady by the name of Lyn John who has been conning people for found parrots and has even made her own so called “South West Avian Foster Services” yet she will not disclose any information about her so called foster service and she has no website not registered or anything. P.s http://www.parrotalert.com is a major scam too.

  139. Tracy

    I have been working with a reascue for awhile. Long story short we did a fundraiser to save some puppies. We raised over $1000
    That was 2 weeks ago. I took them to vet for 2nd set of shots and rescue has no funds to pay bill. There was still over $600 in that fund. What happened to it? I paid vet bill out of pocket. I am furious. This money was raised specifically for these puppies. Am I wrong?

  140. Rosanne Bianco

    How do I get a list of rescue organizations in New Mexico that have been reported or are suspect?

  141. jess

    I live in liberty county Texas. We had an animal rescue on the news that was in our town. Puppy Dogs R Us. The animals got seized from the Houston spca but then returned the dogs because of a error on the warrent. I was one that volunteered to get the rescue help but soon realized that the founder seemed to only want money and items donated but did not want to update some things to get some interested sponsors that were willing to donate big. I tried reasoning with her but she did not want to hear it. All they wanted to do was update her logo and slogan. This is the only No Kill shelter in the area and it seems like it won’t last long. I have experience in the animal rescue field and did all I could to get her donations and to get the community involved. Now that I’m realizing the truth of how she does business and has no “want” to change, I was thinking of starting another no kill shelter in the area, but I’m worried that since I got all these people to come together for her, that it will look bad on me. I want to help these animals on the streets and I’d like the communities help with this, but would it look bad on me if I did it?

  142. Andrea

    Is there a database of rescues that are thought to be scams? in buffalo, ny we are having issues with a local “wny chapter” of a rescue that operates out of New England. They are soliciting donations without certificate of authority and those donations aren’t ending up going to the dogs. We need help exposing the truth about this rescue. It’s fooling the public and making other reputable rescues look bad.

  143. Pattie smith

    All animal rescues can be investigated.
    I suggest you start with the Secretary
    Of State in the state you reside in.
    Next, file a complaint with the department of agriculture in your state..ask for Animal Welfare Department.
    Also call the zoning board to make sure they are In compliance .

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