A founder of an Oregon rescue faces federal fraud conspiracy charges after having over 100 animals seized from her operation. She faces separate charges of neglect, identify theft, and forgery.
What really gets our attention are the 280 counts of misrepresenting animal health and behavior to potential customers. Aside from the emotional toll of an ailing pet, chronic issues can place a massive financial burden on a new owner. While many owners expect and even plan for their pets’ occasional illnesses or medical emergencies, knowingly passing on sick or aggressive pets is just deplorable. Unscrupulous practices such as these are not only unethical and dangerous, they also cast a shadow on the reputation of other rescues.
That this woman was allegedly able to cheat so many customers speaks to the fact that people want dogs, and that they find the idea of adopting – or “saving” – a dog especially appealing. The human-animal bond is powerful, and pets are certainly a place where we often lead with our hearts rather than our brains. This makes the damage – to trust, public safety, and to the reputation of all the rescue groups that do a great job – especially egregious.