MEOW! My name is June Buggie, and I have something to say.
The appeals for donations to worthy causes will be front and center this week as people open their wallets in order to obtain a tax break.
On December 19th, The Washington Post published a commentary by the philosopher Peter Singer that confronted our choices in charities we donate to. If you have not done so, I encourage you to read Heartwarming causes are nice, but let’s give to charity with our heads.
The piece made me think of the animal welfare community and some of the ways we donate money wastefully, such as:
- sending money to people we’ve “met online,” only to find out later we’d been scammed, or
- sending money with a dog “rescued from death row,” only to find out later the animal languished in the home of a hoarder, such as Sleepy Hollow (see photo of dogs they “rescued” in May of 2013), or
- sending money to rescue groups that may have started out with good intentions, but ended up as anything but a rescue, such as the Olympic Animal Sanctuary.
Look people, I know that appeals to save an animal’s life can tug at your heartstrings.
But there ARE things worse than death for an animal. And it bothers me that sometimes people who want to help animals are, inadvertently, causing them more harm.
It’s your money, and you do have a right to do with it whatever you wish. But will you at least do your homework first?
Charity Navigator rates many of the charity organizations in the US.
If it’s a local rescue or charity, check the local newspaper and TV archives. I once looked into a rescue making an end-of-the-year emergency appeal and found this was a pattern for them. It seemed that the previous year they’d also had an emergency appeal for funds for a similar reason. A TV station had interviewed a volunteer inside the cat rescue, and the conditions inside weren’t good.
So don’t just give because it makes you feel good inside. Give because your money will truly make a positive difference in the life of animals.
Don’t support the problem. Be a part of the solution.