WISCONSIN -- A reader tipped me off to all this information. I think it's a classic case of what we're finding now of people starting "rescues" in which the waters are murky as to who's got possession of the animals, where is the donated money and supplies going and what accountability is there for the people involved...
Let's take a look at Lucky Mutts Rescue, Inc. which is based out of Racine, Wisconsin.
Lucky Mutts Rescue Inc. does have a 501c3 nonprofit number. This is called an EIN. Their EIN is 473560175. Odd, though, that they don't list this number on their website. True, they announce themselves as a nonprofit, but the number isn't on their site. They do, though, list their Wisconsin Department of Agriculture number: 403135-DS. What is the purpose of that? Who knows. That just registers them with the state of Wisconsin as an animal shelter or an animal seller.
The President of Lucky Mutts Rescue Inc., Heather Jensen
, 33, was just charged with 26 counts of animal cruelty. Her boyfriend, Terry Bogard
, 63, was also charged. Authorities found dozens of dogs crammed into filthy crates at Bogard's house (1437 Harmony Dr, Racine, WI 53402).
Later, a judge ordered that the seized dogs be returned to Lucky Mutts Rescue Inc., saying the GROUP was the owner of the PROPERTY.
Well, if Jensen was the President of Lucky Mutts Rescue Inc., who else is involved in this organization? And why aren't they being charged with animal cruelty as well... how is it possible they didn't know what was going on at Bogard and Jensen's residence on Harmony Drive?
And if the judge ordered that this PROPERTY (i.e. dogs and puppies) be returned to Lucky Mutts Rescue Inc., where are they? Who is now responsible for their care? Are they all being housed at one location? Does the city/county allow for this many animals at one location? How many other dogs and puppies are in the custody/care of Lucky Mutts Rescue Inc. - not including the ones ordered returned by this judge?
SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS
Let's start with the website, http://www.luckymuttsrescue.org
. Who registered it? A search reveals that Patrice Thorin (W180S8218 Pioneer Dr., Muskego WI. 262-260-9715) registered the domain name. Who is Patrice Thorin?
Patrice Thorin, 48, (aka Patrice Marie Thorin, Patrice Marie Bonin, Patrice Bonis THorin) and Christopher Thorin (aka Christopher Eric Thorin, Chris Thorin) own a condominium with an address of W180S8218 Pioneer Drive, Muskego, WI 53150
. A phone number associated with Christpher and Patrice Thorin is 262-679-7675.
Also, a previous Facebook post for Lucky Mutts Rescue, Inc. is attributed to "Patrice Bonis-Thorin and Amy Thorin". I'm assuming Amy Thorin is Patrice's daughter.
Next, we find that Lucky Mutts Rescue, Inc. has a 2nd address (other than Bogard and Jensen's address on Harmony Drive) listed - 9225 West Beloit Road, Milwaukee WI 53227. Who lives there?
A search shows that this address is defined as having a barbershop on the 1st floor and basement and a 3-bedroom apartment on the 2nd floor. Who lives here and why is it registered for Lucky Mutts Rescue, Inc.?
IS CHRISTOPHER THORIN INVOLVED IN THIS RESCUE?
A search for Christopher Eric Thorin reveals that he is the owner of "Mission Consulting LLC", which uses their home address (8218 Pioneer Drive) as the business address as well. The website
(http://www.missionconsultingllc.com/) says: "Mission Consulting LLC was formed in January 2004 with the objective of performing appraisal and related fixed asset maintenance services for our public sector clients. Our President, Mr. Christopher Thorin, brings over 18 years of unique expertise in the public sector capital asset management arena and possesses significant past project experience on related engagements."
Whatever it is he's doing, it doesn't appear that he's involved in this "animal rescue" business.
WHERE ARE THESE ANIMALS?
A search of the adoptable animals on Lucky Mutts Rescue, Inc.'s website lists THIRTY DOGS AND PUPPIES. Where are these animals? Who is caring for them? Are they all at one location or are they spread out at different addresses? Are they locked in cages?
The types of dogs appear to be mostly larger dogs (numerous Pit Bulls and Pit bull mixes, Lab/Border Collie mix, Husky, Cattle Dog mix, Shepherd Chow mix, Collie Lab mix, St Bernard mix, etc.), which obviously require a lot more room and care than smaller dogs, such as Yorkies and Chihuahuas.
Of these 30 dogs and puppies listed as currently available for adoption, the "adoption" fees range from $0 (sponsored) to $350 + tax. Why is a non-profit charging sales tax?
WHERE ARE THEY GETTING THESE DOGS FROM?
One dog named Allie is said in the description to have been "rescued from a small rural shelter in Oklahoma". Why is a small, relatively unknown rescue in Wisconsin pulling from shelters in Oklahoma? Is this even true? Or is it a narrative to garner sympathy from animal lovers? If it is true, whey is a shelter in Oklahoma handing off animals to groups in Wisconsin -- where they cannot go to verify the animals' locations, care, etc.? This is a red flag.
Another red flag is for the description of a pit bull named Cowboy. In the description they "It should be noted that Cowboy will show teeth when cornered or when a hand or other object is elevated near him. Because of this, we'd suggest he go to a home with older or no children." Do you seriously think this is a good candidate for adoption? A dog that becomes anxious and growls and shows its teeth "when cornered" or when an "object is elevated near him"? That could simply be reaching over to turn on a table lamp -- is he going to attack you?
IRS NON-PROFIT REQUIREMENTS
Another red flag: "[Miley Ray] was then adopted out and returned as she was too playful for their current dog and the family wasn't good about separating them when the resident dog had had enough of the play."
Read between the lines: Just like realtor's call dinky houses "cozy", adoption speak is at work here. In this case, they say this pit mix was "TOO PLAYFUL" and the family wasn't good about separating them when the resident dog had had enough = THIS PIT MIX WAS VICIOUSLY ATTACKING THEIR DOG REPEATEDLY AND THEY WERE AFRAID TO STICK THEIR HANDS INTO THE MIDDLE OF A DOG ATTACK to the point where this family returned the dog to the rescue.
In order to comply with IRS guidelines for 501c3 status, Lucky Mutts Rescue, Inc. is saying that they receive $25,000 OR LESS in donations and monies in one fiscal year. If they are successful in "rehoming" or "adopting" out these 30 dogs and puppies at the prices listed, this would garner them $6,250 (not including the "sponsored" dogs that are being offered for free).
Donations are counted in that $25k/year limit. Let's say they receive $300/month in donated items (food, treats, toys, blankets, leashes, etc.) and they receive, say, four dogs per year that are sponsored (at $200 per dog). This means they bring in $4,400. This does not include cash donations which we have no idea how much they're collecting in cash (they have a Paypal site to receive donations).
Total all this together and they easily could be making more than $25,000/year. Are they really spending $350 per dog? Where is an exact accounting of the money received? Where is an exact accounting of the money spent?
According to Patrice Bonin-Thorin, "Most of our dogs are here for 2 weeks or less. We have been very successful in helping our partner shelters thus far". If that's true, that their turnover rate is 2 weeks (or less), they could easily be making $100,000/year (or more) in "sales" of their dogs and puppies.
A search at the IRS's website shows that Lucky Mutts Rescue Inc., has NOT made available the required paperwork (e.g. 990 form). Why not? Is the IRS doing anything about this failure?
"ANIMAL RESCUE" IS THE NEW CRAIGSLIST "DOG FLIPPING"
People have found that it is much more profitable to say they're running a rescue. Shelters are constantly being hounded by "no kill" advocates and are often willing to hand over animals to anyone claiming to be running a rescue so they can get the animal out of their shelter and not have to euthanize it. However, when this person returns to the shelter saying they adopted out 'all the animals' previously given to them, they're often handed more - with no questions asked. Many times these individuals go "shelter shopping" just like prescription pill addicts are known to go "doctor shopping". They hit multiple shelters and pull animals from them - with the shelters having no idea that this person is pulling from multiple shelters.
NO OVERSIGHT FOR CHECKS AND BALANCES
I cannot find that there is anyone who checks on these rescues (non-profit or not). The shelters do not typically require paperwork to show that animals were indeed adopted or that veterinary care was provided. They don't do home inspections to verify that the animals handed over to them are being properly care for.
Doris sets up a "no kill" animal rescue called All Animal Rescue. She simply looks online for "free kittens/puppies/dog/cat" and takes them in. She then goes to the shelters and tells them she's running a rescue and is willing to take unwanted animals. She takes these animals home and maybe she's successful in adopting out a few of these animals. However, the big money comes from online donations. The worse the animal looks, the more money you can receive. So they start searching out animals in poor condition, clearly in need of veterinary care. They post photos of these pitiful animals online and collect money -- but the animal is never taken to the vet.
Doris sets up a "no kill" animal rescue called All Animal Rescue. She lies to animal lovers and shelter workers and tells them all about how she is able to find homes for these unwanted animals. People are amazed and believe she must have some special gift because the truth of the matter is that millions of animals are euthanized every year in the United States because there are simply not enough good homes.
But Doris somehow does what the shelters cannot - find someone who wants this animal. So they eagerly give her more animals whenever requested. No one bothers to go to Doris' house. No one requires Doris to show proof that she found a home for this old, arthritic Beagle mix with skin issues and allergies. No one requires Doris to show vet records that Doris actually took this Beagle to be treated while in her care/custody. Doris simply shows up at the shelter with an amazing story about how she found a "forever home" for this Beagle mix and that she's now ready to take another dog off their hands. Doris enjoys being the hero and of course can't reveal to them or anyone else that this Beagle mix wasn't adopted. The truth is that this Beagle mix is in a feces and urine coated cage in her basement - along with 20 other animals - that Doris was unable to find homes for. But she can't (and won't) stop pulling animals because Doris likes the "high" that comes with being seen as the hero.
The shelters have the attitude of "Don't ask, don't tell" because they can reduce their euthanasia numbers by being able to list these animals as "Transferred to Rescue", which gets the "no kill" advocates off their backs.