Saturday, May 30, 2009

A 501(c)(3) Rescue: Not your personal line of credit!

Here we go again...

I've said some very good things about Pasado's in the past. I thought their staff/volunteers did a remarkably good job at Hurricane Katrina (yeah, I know about the Tammy Hansen problem but still - they did a great job in the trenches and were super helpful to upset pet owners). But when I moved up to Washington, I started hearing stories that they didn't take such great care of animals in their possession and that while they did a great job with the media and marketing, things like cleaning stalls and keeping clean water in front of the animals wasn't as consistent.

You never know if someone walked into a facility on a bad day, though, and I've never heard anything really bad about them...they haven't been caught sending rescue horses back to kill like CBER or starving horses like Dean Solomon, so I reserved comment until now.

News Article on Pasado's Safe Haven

Read the comments! Wow, I had very little idea there was this much of a drama going on. I STILL don't think it's justifiable to pull down a six figure salary for running a rescue - $50 or $60K, so that you can live, okay, but not twice that. And if your rescue pays for upgrades to your property that increase it's value and then you sell the property to that rescue for the increased price, I do not see how that can be seen as anything but unethical.

Another thought: Is it even justifiable for a rescue to purchase a property that is almost two million dollars? Shouldn't the rescue instead go an hour further east and purchase a more reasonably priced property, considering that its president works for the rescue full time and does not need to be close to outside employment?

To me the best reading on the whole page is the letter from her ex-husband! I'm copying it here. He sounds like the reasonable party in all of this to me.

"Notice a common thread in defensive posts....

If you take the time to really read all of the posts defending Susan, they all share a common thread: NONE of them directly address the charges that she uses deceptive fundraising tactics. That's because all of these people probably know that Susan does so, but somehow they accept it and justify it because all of the good that Pasado's has accomplished. I'm sorry, but in my book that just doesn't cut it. You can accomplish great things without being unethical; without fooling people; without taking advantage of people and misleading them; and mostly, NOT at the expense of other groups who truly use most of their donations by spending them on the animals.

Instead, all of these followers use Susan's tried-and-true tactics: praise the accomplishments and attack those criticizing. By all means, NEVER actually address the charges. Turn it back on your critics and make them defend themselves so the focus is off of the main issue.

Oh and another thing....unless it's been removed, notice how Susan has re-posted the exact same post she did earlier....another one of Susan's common tactics. She does this so that her post stays near the top. Don't be fooled. Susan, if you have something NEW to say....if you actually want to address the charges of unethical behavior, please do. If you have nothing new to add, then please just remain silent.

And for those who criticize me for publicly addressing these issues, maybe you don't know that Susan stopped talking to me after I left her. She refuses to speak to me privately, so I have no choice. At first she was blocking my emails. Now she has resorted to blocking virtually any emails from anyone she hasn't "approved". She has created new email addresses so people can't find her and she has changed cell phones, according to one person. If these aren't classic signs of cult leader mentality, I don't know what are - Susan can't stand to hear criticism, so she blocks it out and prohibits those around her from criticizing anything she does. Forums like this infuriate her because it gives everyone equal footing to voice their opinion, which is something Susan never allows around her.

Also notice how the same "talking points" surface in all of her defenders' posts? In the past Susan has sent out "blast" emails to untold numbers of people, soliciting them to join in her online battle. She gives them specific direction, including these "talking points" so that everyone stays on message. Hmmmm....yet another cult-like tactic.

If you defenders of Susan would address the ethics issues, I (and most critics) would love to hear how you justify her tactics. Dishonesty and deception are never justified....simply rationalized."

Multiple e-mail addresses, defending oneself, attacking anybody who criticizes...yes, all par for the course with scammer rescuers. What a huge disappointment to find out Pasado's is being run by one. Sounds to me like it's long past time for Susan to step down and let someone who actually puts animals first take the reins.