A shelter story I heard about several months ago. It highlights some problem with local government that shelters have to deal with. But the part most relevant to this blog is in their relating just what happened when they tried turning to Best Friends for help, in the last link below. Several others later tried again with Best Friends, but to no avail.
Initially, they seemed to be pulling in money, hand over fist. But, thanks to all of you and others, the real story has made the rounds of the BF donors.
Some of them found out they were not the Sole Providers and that the same dogs were being sold to many people. They spread the word further, with many of them canceling their pledged donations and several threatening to bring legal action against the deception.
As each of those $5,000/year donors took the place of many-many smaller ones, they were forcasting a large increase in total donations. But, that is not to be. Hopefully, some of them will turn to their local shelters instead. Perhaps, one day, these dogs may have their chance at adoption.
Combined with the lost donors from the death of Bonita and the chewed off leg of Blue Bear and other items, they are now in a hiring freeze and putting all their efforts towards their next publicity campaign, which is soon to come. Stay tuned.
Apparently, their definition of “constructive dialogue” does not include either criticism or embarrassing questions. They now seem to admit this is from more than a single person, but the “few” they mention here were nearly half of those posting. This appears to be their next step, after Censoring the News .
The author here is Aileen Walden, from member services at Best Friends. She recently responded to a donor question on a dog there with, in part,
“He’s actually doing very well right now and has plenty of time on walks and gets personal attention from…”
Yet a repeat visitor to BF who knows the dog just reported that
“He’s shaking and hiding instead of running to see me. His eyes are all bloodshot and he looks like hell.”
But of course, this is a matter of opinion. Perhaps Aileen believes his eyes should be red? I guess that visitor is now a “disgruntled” individual?
So, for now at least, THEIR word is the LAST word. We wonder if BF will have their new system ready in time for the upcoming publicity campaign on their brand new Partners Training Program.
Very often, when a question or issue is brought up in the Dogtown forums, we see a very assuring and pretty response from one of the caregivers. However, some of these responses don’t really answer the question or state things that seem to be contradicted by other posts from BF. One caregiver posted on a dog’s history in the five months he’s been at one location, but we later found he had only been there for two months. In other cases they may sharply contradict reports from visitors, where the items were very simple and clear and difficult to misunderstand. They say certain dogs are getting walked often, yet the walk list for them is empty for weeks while showing others being walked.
Not all the posts, of course. But often the case where questions have grown to an issue. There are a number of people reporting that BF management has pressured some caregivers to make false posts and a few have given in to this.
Does you think this really happens, and how often? If so, what can we believe of what they say?
For some time now, BF has deleted any posts they didn’t like on their forums. However, they have been unable to do this on the News Blogs. It seems that, every few news stories, BF sticks their foot in their mouth again. People start asking about missing details or history. They want to know just what’s true and what’s been omitted.
Today, for the first time, BF has deleted dozens of posts on many of their news articles. In response, some have brought this out and suggested that donors start calling BF to protest the censoring. The deletions seem to have stopped for the moment, but we do not know what tomorrow will bring.
If you feel strongly about that issue, you can reach Best Friends at 435-644-2001. Extension 4537 for the Welcome Center. Let them know what you thing about censoring.
Now that Madoff’s been sent to jail, BF has decided to replace his Ponzi Scheme with their own Bait-and-Switch. Due to its tremendous success, this is another follow up to the RentaDog Program, which was explained in Special Offers – RentaDog Program
With all the furor about the death of Bonita and other issues, and with the brand new censoring of all their News Blogs, Best Friends has lost hundreds of donors over the past few months. So many of these have turned their donations to their local shelters, that several of the shelters have actually called into BF to thank them for all the donors.
A brief digression on those donors calling into BF. The latest story is that all of those nasty postings are lies that come from only one single person, using many names. He used to work for BF, but was fired. He has severe mental problems and BF did all that they could do to try to have him get some help. He is now bitter and saying anything that he can dream up about BF.
Now, there was a person sorta like that. Except that he wasn’t fired, he quit. Except that most of the nasty postings are coming from about a half-dozen other former BF people. Except that at least one still works there. Except that we have not found to be false, and BF has never directly denied, anything that these nasty people have said there.
So, back on topic: What to do about all the lost money?
Since truth is not in their lexicon, BF has focused on publicity and new programs to bring in money. And, this time they intend to aim higher! Many of those hundreds of lost donors were only small fish, so who really cares? Let’s aim instead for the big guys. After all, this is supposed to be a money-making machine and business is business.
Well, if you carefully look back at RentaDog you will see BF’s ad stating “As the sole sponsor for an animal…”. However, with some adequate censoring, who the heck will really know? And since those paying for a special My Best Friends Membership need to get frequent reports on their special friend, stacking them up means a single report can just be emailed to many people. Just think of the labor saved there. And no need to bring in more dogs to fill all the empty runs if they can just keep a minimum number of dogs and keep selling them again and again…
With all the security around this, it’s hard to find and confirm facts. So, we focused on only a very few popular dogs, who had had a lot of public visibility. That gave us a bingo on dear, sweet Theresa. It seems that a full TEN donors have been sold the same package here. They all get to hear about her great adventures at the BF Sanctuary, while poor Theresa just sits there and hasn’t even been out in the past week.
Well, sometimes a really good idea goes further than you ever imagined. This program is bringing in so much money they BF has not only made up for all the lost (little fish) donors, but they may yet reach a new high in donations. And with BF’s now complete censoring few people will learn of this.
Sad to say, BF now has one less of the Victory Dogs. A pit named Bonita needed some dental work. To save some much needed time, the BF clinic skipped the pre-surgical tests which check for any indications of problems.
With our pets, before the first time they get anesthesia the vet will do an exam and run tests to see if there is a strong indication of an adverse reaction. This time, BF just didn’t bother to do it, and the dog died. The pre-surgical anesthesia blood panel was skipped.
BF tried keeping this a secret, but it came out on their forums. BF then posted a news article with their spin. According to that,
“Best Friends’ Medical Director Dr. Michael Dix said, “I can’t even tell you how many physical exams we’ve done on Bonita in the last six months.” Between the blood work, the x-rays, and the physicals, she was no stranger to the clinic. Yet aside from the fact her weight never really increased, she proved healthy in all the exams and blood work.”
Now, if he had said they did check but then it went bad, then this would be a he-said/she-said. However, they went too far as usual. Either he is lying about those last six months, or else this dog got a lot of care while another one dying in pain was being ignored. That other dog lost one-half her body weight, and they ignored it. I know of other cases, including a ripped claw that had to wait days for treatment because the vet doesn’t do anesthesia when working on a holliday. (No, of course that makes no sense, but it’s BF.)
And, of course, the BF Staff Cheerleaders responded to start off the “nice” comments.
People are running around at Best Friends Animal Society today. First BF tried to hide the death of Bonita, one of the Vicktory Pits there who wasn’t screened for anesthesia reaction before dental work. When this appeared on several forums, BF explained all in an article including all the blood tests that she’s had in the past. But, people noticed there was nothing about an anesthesia panel said then, or later.
Many of the comments are from the BF Staff Cheerleaders, but a few are from “real” people and other donors have started taking notice.
Enough calls started coming in that BF had to pull some people off other duties to answer them all. And they prepared “scripts” with exactly how to answer the questions. To just say there were “blood tests” but no more details and no direct answers. BF staff were warned to say nothing to nobody unless it’s in a script.
Sadly, this is only the latest and not the worst such story.