Animal charity accused of wrongdoing

Animal charity accused of wrongdoing

You don't want to see pets suffer, and you may even give money to help dogs and cats in need.

But now a national pet charity rescue based in Portland is getting complaints over how it handles your money.
Another charity filed a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice about the Animal Miracle Foundation and Network or AMFN.
Paws for the Cause Feral Cat Rescue near Detroit, Mich., was raising money last year for a cat named Snow, a victim of abuse. Paws for the Cause founder Laura Wilhelm-Bruzek said someone tied Snow's paws together and poured a chemical on him that caused severe burns.

She posted pictures of Snow online with a request for donations.

But she said she was shocked to find out that AMFN posted pictures of Snow on the AMFN site, and asked for donations to be sent to AMFN, instead of to Paws for the Cause.

"We had no clue they were fundraising for us.  We had never even spoken to them," said Wilhelm-Bruzek.

Wilhelm-Bruzek contacted the founder of AMFN, Colleen Paige, and said Paige told her there was no time to contact Paws for the Cause because Snow's case was so urgent.

Wilhelm-Bruzek said AMFN sent one $110 donation a day after AMFN posted Snow's pictures.  But she said AMFN kept up the pictures and donation request, without providing any further donations.

"We'll never really know how much they actually raised," said Wilhelm-Bruzek.

She added that some of Snow's supporters told her they sent in more than $110 to AMFN on Snow's behalf.

"So then we were able to start adding numbers up," Wilhelm-Bruzek said. "From the few people that came forward, we already had over $110 in just those people, so we knew there was some sort of pocketing of money going on."

Another animal charity said it also had a problem with AMFN.

DFW Rescue Me posted pictures of a puppy named Justice last year as well. Justice had been tortured and burned, and needed money for medical help.

The group says AMFN asked to raise money for Justice and the group agreed.

Justice only lived a few more days.  Online records show the AMFN organization posted a note about his passing.

DFW Rescue Me said months after Justice died, AMFN posted again, saying Justice was alive and asking for more money to be sent to AMFN.

The KATU Problem Solvers contacted Paige about the complaints from other charities.

Paige told us by phone and in email that she is not mishandling anyone's money, that she does not make a cent from the fundraising and that her organization has helped many abused animals.

She added that she has started several events, including National Dog Day and National Cat Day to help animals find homes.

She said the allegations in the complaints are not true.

She said she did not understand why Wilhem-Bruzek of Paws for the Cause filed a complaint with the state of Oregon.

"The only thing I can think of is that she's jealous because I am founder of National Cat Day and she wants to be," said Paige.

Online, Paige claims she is the "Oprah of the Dog World," a dog psychologist, a former firefighter and paramedic in Los Angeles and more.

We tried to verify some of those claims.

On her LinkedIn resume, she says she received an M.S. in zoology at Cal-Poly Pomona, an A.A.S. to be a paramedic at Mount San Antonio College in California, and says she studied music at UCLA. We checked with all three schools, but none could find any records for her.

We checked in with the Los Angeles Fire Department, and the personnel department said it had no record of her working as a firefighter.

We contacted Paige about the discrepancies in her resume, and asked her if there was some sort of confusion about her educational background.  We also asked her where and when she worked as a firefighter and paramedic.

She refused to answer our questions. Instead, she issued a statement saying that she is the victim of an online stalker and a smear campaign.