spcaLA Commends Effort to Protect Animal Welfare Donors

Los Angeles, CA  — The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office issued a FRAUD ALERT today warning animal lovers to be cautious when donating money to alleged rescue organizations. Donors should verify the legitimacy of the organization as well as confirm how the money is being spent. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) commends this action that protects both donors and genuine animal rescue operations.

In the Animal Shelter Scam, crooks post pictures of animals with false information about “high kill” shelters and imminent death unless they immediately receive money to rescue the pet, or detail a medical condition that requires expensive treatment. The animals pictured may not even be from this area or exist. In addition, the fraud will claim to be a charity when they are not.

“These rip-off artists are stealing money from well-meaning people to the detriment of legitimate organizations,” said Madeline Bernstein, spcaLA President. “If you see a suffering dog or cat on social media, you may be moved to donate $5 or $10 to help. When 100 people think the same thing, you can see how quickly the money adds up, making the scam lucrative. The best way to avoid an online scam is donate locally, so you can see your donor dollars at work.”

The LA County DA’s Office offers the following tips: Verify that the organization or individual soliciting funds is a legitimate Animal Care and Control Agency, SPCA or 501(C)3 charitable group Double check that the animal exists, where it is housed and the true extent of its needs Ask the sheltering agency what help already has been provided to the animal and whether it really is at risk of being put to sleep.

Furthermore, report fraud to the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222 or http://dcba.lacounty.gov