Earlier this week, I published an article detailing accusations made by a Canadian rescue organization against "Pet Pardons", an online organization that has the mandate, "To End the Killing & No More Homeless Pets by January 1, 2015." I have received no response from any representative of Pet Pardons. The way I see it, the organization is hoping that this issue will quietly go away and be forgotten. It is arrogant on their part to believe they can simply ignore the questions posed to them by concerned citizens as to whether or not any of their members are pocketing donations and deceiving the public. I'll let the readers form their own opinions.
I will say however, that in cases where one party refuses to be transparent to those providing their hard earned income, it makes it easier to conclude their motives are anything but noble. Just look at the OSPCA and that organization's refusal to be transparent to Ontario citizens. The result? A loss of thousands upon thousands of dollars in donations. Through their silence Pet Pardons representatives have thrown their credibility out the window. If they think this issue will go away any time soon, they are horribly mistaken. Real advocates who feel any animals have been wronged or that a "rescue" has deceived the public will not stop exposing the situation until relevant concerns have been addressed.
Let's look at some of the concerns that have yet to be addressed, and some new allegations that have recently come to light :
- Apparently Jeromie Williams, a self-described "Social Media Specialist" and director of Pet Pardons Canada, has sent dozens of threatening emails and voice messages to those who have questioned his motives in soliciting donations for cause upon cause on various "ChipIn" pages. God knows if any of the collected donations have ever actually been distributed into the right hands.
- Pet Pardons president Chris Hoar has offered no explanation as to where these funds are, and his lack of communication implies he has no concerns whatsoever that Williams is pocketing these donations. Nor has he expressed concern in regard to Mr. Williams' alleged threats against one woman, her sons, and her dog.
- Pet Pardons has refused to address the situation on its Facebook page. When people post LEGITIMATE concerns and questions, their posts are deleted and they are then banned from the page.
- Pet Pardons allegedly continues to support shelters and organizations with high kill volumes.
Where does this leave us? I don't know where it leaves you, but I know where I stand. To my estimation, Pet Pardons is nothing but a front for a select group of greedy, manipulative people who care more about fattening their wallets than they ever will about any animal in distress. You see, this is what illegitimate rescuers do : they tug at your heartstrings. They show you a picture (often of an animal that doesn't even exist) and provide you with a story so full of horrifying details that you, as a caring animal lover, don't even give yourself enough time to consider NOT donating. Let's not forget they also give you a small window of time to donate, after which there will be deadly consequences for one poor animal. Once they have your money you receive no receipt and no further information.
Here's what else these groups will do. If you question them in any way, they will cite cases where they have actually helped animals in distress, and expect that to placate you. It shouldn't. You should not be supporting an organization that properly uses your donations SOME OF THE TIME.
Let's look at an example of a disclaimer if Pet Pardons were being truthful :
"Thank you from Pet Pardons for visiting this ChipIn page and considering making a donation to help this animal. So you are aware in advance, we are not an accredited charity. We can not offer you tax deductible receipts for your donation. We won't be updating you with regard to where your money is going, just take our word that you are helping. If you have any concerns please email us. While we accept emails, we do not publish our phone number or address of our base of operations. In fact, we don't divulge any information to you at all. Don't bother researching any information on our "Board Of Directors", as we don't have one. We've simply given ourselves titles that seem important. Once in a while we will publish "ChipIn" pages where you can donate. Again, do not expect any reasonable response to inquiries as to how your donation was used. Just know that if you do not donate, the animal in question WILL DIE TODAY!!!"
There you have it. Is your credit card still out? PUT......IT.....AWAY. Now go to your computer and google no-kill shelters in your neighbourhood. Check out their websites. Research them before you donate. There are so many amazing shelters out there whose members work countless and thankless hours. The proof is in the pudding. Should legitimate rescues have to tell you exactly where every last cent of your donation went? Of course not, but they should be able to offer you a brief explanation of what they use donations for. Above all they should at least be able to tell you SOMETHING. Pet Pardons seemingly has trouble grasping this concept.
From what I gather Pet Pardons started as a Facebook application for people to share details of animals in need, and they continue to do so. I have no problem with this. In fact it is a fantastic initiative as long as the Facebook page remains as such, but I draw the line when the page evolves into an outlet to plea for donations from it's extraordinary fan base, donations that seemingly disappear into thin air.
Operation Sled Dogs has released a financial statement detailing the donations received by the public and how the donations were used. Unfortunately the operation resulted in a net loss (as so often occurs in rescue), but even more unfortunate is the fact that had all of the donations given to the ChipIn page established by Pet Pardons been redirected to Operation Sled Dogs, it seems the rescue would have pretty much broken even. You can follow the progress of the rescued dogs on the Operation Sled Dogs Facebook page.