Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Running for Cover in Waukegan

Now technically the Wags 2 Wishes Animal "Rescue" isn't actually in Waukegan, Illinois.  But the story that brings them to front page news is centered there so Waukegan gets the glory.   Yeah, Waukegan!   The story started off with the news media including CBS and NBC reporting that a former Marine had been arrested for having a litter of puppies.  The day before the Christmas Holiday.  Can anything get more Scrooge-like than that?   The Lake County News-Sun alone has 127 comments to their article and going.  You can read them here.   Given the massive public outcry against the puppies being seized away from their family and given away to an animal resale group, I decided to cover the story as well.  My first story, When Christmas Puppies bring Jail Time, has gone viral too.   Together the media reporting on this story touched a nerve and the American public has revealed that they are getting pretty sick and tired of these pet flipping groups going after dog breeders.  

After I published my first article, many readers pointed out that Wags 2 Wishes wasn't quite all that and a bucket of peanuts either.  They sent me many screen captures and pieces of information about Illinois law and the Wags 2 Wishes legal standing.  I then published my second article on the situation focusing on Wags 2 Wishes and the fact that they were listed as being in "not good standing" with the State of Illinois.  That is a fact.  Here is the screen capture yet again to prove it.

As the story was going viral around social media, I published a third story to point out the legal aspects of this case.  That story, A Loss of Justice in Waukegan, Illinois can be viewed here.   But I wasn't the only one covering this story.   Didi Culp covered the story for the Examiner in her story called Civil Forfeiture includes Dogs.   The National Animal Interest Alliance covered the story which they called (Puppy) Theft Under Color of Law.  In addition to massive media coverage, a Wisconsin law firm called, Animal Legal Resources, LLC., has posted about the story.  Here is a wonderful post by them in which they go into the unconstitutionality of Waukegan's actions in this case.  

Now as of today, Wags 2 Wishes is doing damage control.  They posted that they filed their annual report and got themselves back in good standing with the State of Illinois, and all information is now going through their lawyer.   For the sake of journalist integrity, here is their posting.  

Again, this doesn't mean they are a legal charity. Here is their actual business license. It says that they are legally an animal shelter that is located at: 1006 Kelly Ave, Joliet, IL 60435. This is public information that is not only in the public domain, but Wags 2 Wishes also publicly posted it themselves.

1006 Kelly Ave is a very small residential home. I wonder what her neighbors think about an animal shelter being run out of a small house like this?  Is this property properly zoned to run a business out of? 

Now one of their supporters by the name of Kelly Morgan (a vegan animal rights activist) has hinting that I have "defamed" Wags 2 Wishes by reporting about this situation.  

I say, bring it on.  As an author, I have every right to cover any situations of public interest I so choose.  

Here's an issue of public interest that I am going to focus on.  Money.   Wags 2 Wishes may have now gotten their agricultural license back in order but they are still not a legal charity.  Anyone who gives them money cannot legally deduct it on their taxes.  Any money that Wags 2 Wishes makes, they must pay taxes on that.   Can Wags 2 Wishes prove to me that they have paid their full Illinois taxes?  It is Wags 2 Wishes who has boasted that since May of 2013, they have sold 400 animals (out of that house above?).  It's not defamation for me to ask, Did you pay your taxes on that income?  

Here's a post from December showing them selling off dogs for $300 each.  I have several screen captures of this but here's just one:  

Let's do the math.  If they charge a base minimum of $300 per animal and they have sold 400 animals, they have grossed a profit of $120,000 in about 18 months on animal sales alone.  Is Terri Crotty paying herself a salary out of these funds?  If so, has she paid her payroll taxes? 

Just in December 2014 alone they are fund raising like crazy asking for additional "donations" above and beyond their animal sales.  Have they paid their taxes on every single bit of those funds?  

Terry Crotty also sells merchandise including hoodies and t-shirts.   Was any of the required Illinois' taxes collected on those sales?  Here's one example of the products she has for sale.

Check this one out!  Terri Crotty, the owner of Wags 2 Wishes posted that Bill Lucas has given her a WV Beetle and that she sold it on December 9th, 2014 for the full asking price.  Did she pay her taxes on that sale?  

Again, Wags 2 Wishes wants everyone to think they are 100% on the up and up but they are not a registered 501c3 with the IRS and they do not have their Board of Directors publicly listed and their incorporation papers and tax returns made available to the public.   Just a short peak into their operation shows that Terri Crotty is pulling in a lot of money.  It isn't defamation for members of the public to want to know where all the money is going.

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