*EARS tells the Community that they are a volunteer based rescue.

* EARS tells the Community: All proceeds from their Thrift Shop goes directly to help the animals.
* EARS tells the Community: We survive soley on donations and adoption fees.
* EARS tells the Community: Every dollar that comes in to EARS goes to help the cats and dogs we have rescued and keep them safe, healthy and loved until we are able to find their "forever homes"                            ( * From EARS Web Site )


* In 2011 78% of All Funds Donated

Went Into The Pockets of Board Members

In 2013 Total Revenue  $97,146
Executive compensation: $39,730

 40% of All Funds Went Into

The Pockets of Board Members



Wake Up. Stop Drinking The Kool- Aid.

The Shocking Truth of EARS Animal Rescue Sanctuary's True Nature.



Feral cat fight has animal activists feuding
Monday From The Sarasota Herald Tribune
Posted Feb 28, 2011 at 12:20 PM

The saga has triggered accusations that include grand theft, animal cruelty and animal hoarding.

By Chris HawesCorrespondent

They were seized from their home in September, kept caged in a warehouse until January, shipped off in the dark of night to a Hardee County farmhouse, then scooped up in nets by sheriff's deputies.

Now, the so-called "Fishville cats" are said to be living comfortably on a horse ranch somewhere in Southwest Florida.

But the saga of the estimated 47 cats, among more than 70 seized in September from the outdoor Fishermen's Village shopping mall in Punta Gorda, has had far-reaching impact.

It has left animal welfare activists throughout Southwest Florida feuding, and triggered accusations that include grand theft, animal cruelty and animal hoarding.

What is a "feral" cat?Feral cats are born to domestic cats that are abandoned and left to reproduce up to four times a year. They tend to be wary of humans because they are either born in the wild or become wild after abandonment.

Some wildlife experts contend their natural predation makes them a threat to birds and other wildlife. They are typically unadoptable, so when captured, many are euthanized.

Some communities approach feral cat problems with a trap-neuter-return policy that saves the cats and prevents more litters.

The TNR plan considered by Charlotte County aims to reduce the amount of taxpayer money spent on euthanization cats by designating county money for veterinarians who agree to spay and neuter ferals at a low cost. TNR is already provided to Sarasota County residents by several animal welfare groups that sponsor monthly free clinics with donated vet services.

"I'd have to say this is among the most complicated cases we've encountered," says Elizabeth Parowski, spokeswoman for Alley Cat Allies, a national feral cat group. "It's been a domino effect of bad decisions."

Fallout from the Fishville cat saga is also endangering what could be a groundbreaking change in how Charlotte County cares for feral cats, says a commissioner who first began working on a trap-neuter-release program for the county seven months ago.

"I was trying to do something good for the county and the cats, and it took me several months to convince the other commissioners to even consider this program," said County Commissioner Bob Starr. "But if this keeps up, I may not have even three commissioners any more who want to do this."

At the center of the controversy are two entities. One is EARS, a struggling animal welfare group in Englewood that volunteered in September to remove more than 70 cats from Fishermen's Village in Punta Gorda. The other is a network of feral cat advocates who have volunteered for years in an effort to manage Charlotte County's exploding feral cat population, estimated to be between 13,000 and 30,000.

EARS leaned on Janet Gould, an experienced feral cat trapper, to care for many of the Fishville cats once they were caged in a Punta Gorda warehouse. Gould cared for the cats for more than four months.

Gould then heard that EARS planned to release some of the remaining cats to an enclosure on a juvenile detention facility in rural Charlotte County. "Troubled boys and feral cats were not a suitable match," Gould says.

So Gould secretly arranged to transport the remaining 47 cats to a farmhouse in Hardee County. The move triggered EARS Director Dee Anne Roberts to report Gould to authorities.

Roberts also said the farmhouse conditions were deplorable, with urine-stained mattresses, discarded furniture and plywood with exposed nails.

"She placed those cats in harm's way," Roberts says. "How anyone in their right mind could think those were better conditions than where they were going is beyond me."

Roberts retrieved the cats with the help of sheriff's deputies from Charlotte and Hardee counties, who accompanied her to the farmhouse late one January night and scooped up the cats with nets and carriers.

In the week after the cats were seized, complaints of animal hoarding were filed but investigators ruled them unfounded, sheriff's Lt. Brian Jones said.

Roberts has also been feuding with Patricia Stoppiello, a longtime feral cat activist from North Port.

Stoppiello has repeatedly asked to see the captured cats; meanwhile Roberts dismissing Stoppiello as a troublemaker.

Stoppiello says EARS' lack of respect for her and other activists will make it impossible for EARS to recruit the much-needed help of feral cat trappers for an organized TNR program.

"There is no way would I ever work with EARS," Stoppiello says.

EARS failed to have a relocation site lined up for the Fishville cats before trapping them, Parowski says, and then created suspicion among the former caretakers by being secretive and uncooperative about their warehousing.

The feral cat advocates have also used poor judgment, Parowski says. The juvenile detention camp Gould objected to could have worked, she said. Alley Cat Allies knows of numerous situations where prisoners care for feral cat colonies, she said.

And the Hardee County farmhouse did not appear to be a suitable location for housing the cats, she says, because of its clutter and poor ventilation.

But with those lessons of the past, Alley Cat Allies is focusing on the future by negotiating with Roberts to ensure a neutral third-party examines the relocated cats and their new confidential home. Alley Cat Allies is also concerned about the cats still at Fishermen's Village.

"There are still cats remaining at Fishermen's Village, and we think it's the most responsible thing to keep those remaining cats there, ensure they are all neutered and spayed, and let them live out their lives there," Parowski said.

Animal-shelter opponents say, 'Not in my back yard'
The proposed Englewood Animal Rescue Sanctuary would be a no-kill facility spread out over 10 acres.

Published: Saturday, October 4, 2003 at 3:03 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 4, 2003 at 8:04 a.m.

Page 2 of 3

Egoville responded that he attended a one-week training session at Best Friends animal sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. The EARS shelter is modeled after Best Friends. A spokeswoman at the Utah site confirmed that they offer a course titled "How to start a sanctuary."

A handful of people spoke in favor of the shelter at Thursday's meeting, citing the need for more shelter room in the area. Egoville said more than 6,000 animals are euthanized in Sarasota County each year.

The Suncoast Humane Society shelter, just a few miles south of the proposed EARS site, last year took in 4,000 animals. Executive director Debra Parsons-Drake said there is certainly room for a no-kill facility.

"As much capacity as you can build, it will get filled," she said. "There are always more animals that we would like to see saved."

The Suncoast facility shelters about 125 dogs and 175 cats on an average day, she said.

Although many residents agreed that animal care is a worthy goal, they continued to question whether their neighborhood was the right spot.

Shirley Wojciak, who lives around the corner from the project site, said she is concerned about people dropping off animals at the shelter's gate, leaving them to roam her street.

"People do that kind of thing when they don't want to face up to leaving the animal. They will just drop it off," Wojciak said.

"I support the animal groups, but I have two small children and I have to be concerned with their safety."

Residents also expressed concern about a decline in property values, the odor of animal waste, and possible feces contamination in water runoff into the neighborhood.

EARS supporters and residents will have many more opportunities to face off over the issue. The animal rescue group will need a special-exception permit in order to build and operate the shelter.





Eleven of the cats found in the home were adopted from EARS, according to the SCSO report.


End of Story


Suspected Animal Cruelty Prompts Livestock To Be Removed From Property
One Horse Dead; Others Taken From Boarding Facility7:43 AM, Sep 28, 2006
Suspected animal cruelty prompted 11 horses, a miniature donkey and a miniature goat to be taken from a boarding facility north of Longmont Thursday by Boulder County sheriff's deputies.

Cmdr. Phil West said an animal cruelty investigation was launched after they received a complaint earlier this month that the horses in the facility were not being adequately fed and cared for.

Animal control specialists and the Colorado Bureau of Animal Protection determined that the horses were not being fed enough food and were underweight. West said Marion Wilce, 43, was cited on Sept. 14 for failing to provide proper care for the animals.

The property is located about four miles north of Longmont on US Highway 287 in unincorporated Boulder County.

West said the investigation generated a good deal of media interest as well as citizen complaints. Deputies were told that a horse died, allegedly from starvation. West said Wilce initially told animal control specialists that no horse died, but they later determined that a pony did die around Sept. 11. It had been removed from the property and buried. The cause of the pony's death is not yet known.

Animal control continued to check on the animals but said that no improvement had been made. Authorities then decided it was in the animals' best interest to impound them.

The animals were impounded with the help of volunteers from Colorado Horse Rescue, a private nonprofit organization. West said the horses will be boarded at Colorado Horse Rescue’s facility until a disposition can be reached on criminal charges or until they are claimed by an owner.

A veterinarian from the Colorado state veterinarian’s office was scheduled to examine the animals late Thursday afternoon. Two other horses were released to private owners.

Wilce faces a class 1 misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals.

Copyright 2006 by TheDenverChannel.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Deva Bal­lan­tyne Board Member 2011-2014



2009 -2011

There never were cap­i­tal funds avail­able” to build a sanc­tu­ary, North said in an inter­view Fri­day. “All the money we spent was bud­geted, and the bud­get was to build aware­ness and to get per­mits to build a sanctuary.”

He also said that expen­di­tures on the ani­mals increased in the period fol­low­ing the years cov­ered in the report.

“In 2008, we spent $80,000 on the pets,” he said, includ­ing food, vet­eri­nary care and costs asso­ci­ated with get­ting the ani­mals adopted. He also said that, as the econ­omy eroded in 2008, EARS helped peo­ple keep their pets by help­ing out with their pet care expenses.

“Peo­ple wanted to retain their ani­mals. We helped with expenses, includ­ing vet bills,” he said.

North and his wife were ter­mi­nated by EARS on May 15 of this year — with­out cause, North insists.

“We were then made the focus of accu­sa­tions that oth­ers con­tinue to nur­ture,” he said.

On May 17, an EARS offi­cial filed a report with the Sara­sota County Sheriff’s Office over what she said were miss­ing funds, an action that was reported by NBC2 in Fort Myers (http://www.nbc-2.com/Global/story.asp?S=11320950). The report filed at the Sheriff’s Office was not accom­pa­nied by any doc­u­men­ta­tion. How­ever, on Thurs­day, Nov. 19,  Sheriff’s Office spokes­woman Wendy Rose said the office recently received finan­cial doc­u­ments and that the inves­ti­ga­tion is ongoing.

While North was exec­u­tive direc­tor of EARS, Roberts was brought on board as pro­gram direc­tor, “mostly fundraiser,” she said.

She stayed “three or four months,” she said.

North would not give her access to infor­ma­tion she said she needed to do her job, she said.

“I wasn’t privvy to the donors list,” she said. “I wasn’t allowed to use the phone in the office. I wasn’t allowed to take any speak­ing engage­ments unless he OK’d them. There were too many bound­aries I was not able to cross to do the job I was hired to do.”

North said none of that is true.

“Every­thing is false,” he insisted. “She was charged with rais­ing funds. There was no prob­lem with the donors list. It could be it wasn’t on her com­puter at that time. She came to us with a list of her own contacts.”

Roberts left EARS and was hired by the Ani­mal Wel­fare League.

Roberts said EARS board mem­bers had refused to believe her when she told them there were prob­lems with the oper­a­tions. And she said it must have been dif­fi­cult for them to call and offer her the top job now.

“I have to give the board credit,” she said. “They were big enough. They called me and said ‘I’m sorry.’”

[Dee Ann Roberts]

Dee Ann Roberts

Now, Roberts said, the group’s first order of busi­ness is to try to rebuild the organization’s rep­u­ta­tion and trust within the community.

“We’re try­ing to redeem our­selves. We’re like a Phoenix, ris­ing from the ashes,” she said. “The donors believed in us, now they feel they were being used. We need to get the donors to believe in us again. We need to tell them, ‘It was wrong. We’re sorry.’”

She intends to make a run­ning account­ing of all dona­tions and expenses avail­able to the pub­lic at all times, she said, to make the orga­ni­za­tion as trans­par­ent as possible.

She also wants to get the lead­ers of all the area ani­mal groups together for a sum­mit meet­ing to dis­cuss how they can work together.

“Like the ‘heads of the fam­i­lies’ in the Mafia,” she joked. “I’d like to see what we can do for the wel­fare of the animals.”

Roberts also wants to find a shel­ter so EARS can take in ani­mals that need to be housed. Cur­rently, the group finds fos­ter fam­i­lies for pets – mostly cats right now – or tries to arrange for other orga­ni­za­tions to take them.

“We need to find a place, tem­po­rary or per­ma­nent, to house ani­mals,” she said. “With all the empty indus­trial build­ings and empty ware­houses around Engle­wood, maybe there is some­one who would rent us a build­ing for $20 a month. Then they could write the rest off on their taxes.. We need a place for peo­ple to come in and drop ani­mals and pick up animals.

North, who said he has retained an attor­ney, said he has not made up his mind about a poten­tial law­suit for dam­ages to his rep­u­ta­tion, but he said he does want EARS to pay him money he claims is due him: $8,000.

“They owe us money,” he said. “They dam­aged my wife. She’s had rheuma­toid arthri­tis for 25 years, and they lapsed her insur­ance. There are some damages.

“We’d really like to just get on with the rest of our lives,” he said. “We want them to pay us what they owe us, and set­tle pub
­licly the allegations.”

Click Box On The Left

To See Ruby's fb page.

This E-mail was received by us on
Wednesday, August 12, 2009 4:03 PM
Subject: A message from the Board of EARS


We know you have been waiting for a statement from the Board of Directors concerning changes within EARS, particularly the termination of Jim and Carol North. 

While we have been extremely busy behind the scenes to uncover facts and reconstruct our business, we have been reluctant to make a public statement without proper substantiation of the facts.

We apologize for keeping you wondering and recognize the confusion these past ten weeks have caused our supporters, volunteers, and fosters and friends.  We now offer our statement:

On March 26, Jim North, EARS Executive Director, notified the Board of Directors that there were not sufficient funds in the EARS bank accounts to cover the employee payroll the following day.

When questioned about the financial status of EARS and asked why we had not been notified of the shortfall sooner, the Board was told by Jim that there were funds coming in to cover expenses and this was just a temporary liquidity management issue, and all other bills were paid in full.

The President of the Board wrote a personal check to EARS to cover payroll. The Treasurer asked for detailed reports outlining EARS expenses and even a cursory review of the information provided indicated that drastic cuts needed to be made immediately.
On May 9, the Executive Committee comprised of Mary Skaggs, Nancy Colby and Jaxzann Riggs, met to discuss salary expenses and the financial status of EARS.

The primary responsibility of the Executive Director has always been the procurement of funding and the management of financial matters for EARS.

 Unfortunately Jim had failed to make some of the very difficult decisions that needed to be made in order to keep EARS financially viable.

 The committee decided to reduce expenses by eliminating one position and modifying the Executive Directors compensation to be based upon revenue generating results.

On May 12, the Executive Committee met with Jim. He was notified that the board was eliminating two positions because we could no longer afford them.

The positions eliminated were Jim’s consultant position and Carol’s employee position.  Jim was told that the elimination of the positions would be effective May 15.

At that time, Jim was also offered a commission-only sales position to develop business partner relationships for EARS.  He declined to make a decision at that time.
On May 15, by the close of business that day, and upon learning that the EARS bank account was overdrawn, the offer for Jim to continue his relationship with EARS was reconsidered.  The board requested that all financial records and EARS property be returned to the EARS office immediately.
The Executive Committee quickly began to uncover excessive spending by the Executive Director and abuses of EARS funds for personal expenses, meals, mileage and purchases of unauthorized office and computer equipment, phones and software.

 It came to our attention that EARS had unpaid bills totaling over $15,000.  The bank accounts were overdrawn or near an overdraft condition, as verified by the banking institution.

 A police report was filed, an accounting firm was secured and legal advice was obtained, all at no cost to EARS. 

While the Executive Committee worked with authorities to unravel discrepancies, the staff remained loyal and hard working for our animals and we tried to continue business as normal as possible.

 In order for EARS to maintain the healthcare of the animals, pay the debt left from unpaid bills and pay staff and building costs, personal donations were made to EARS by board member Jaxzann Riggs on May 17 in the amount of $5,000 and on May 21 in the amount of $15,000.
No doubt you’ve heard rumors and untruths concerning the termination of the North’s. 

We offer these facts:

·         Beginning in 2008, the Board repeatedly requested detailed financial information from Jim North concerning the expenses of EARS.  The requests were met with non-compliance and the typical promise that “the information would be available soon”.

 When the Board authorized the opening of PawZazz, it was made very clear to Jim that the Board expected separate financial statements and accounting for the two entities.

Month after month, the board was told that a break out of information was not currently available but it would be forthcoming. We have since discovered that separate accounting records did in fact exist, though there are still questions about their accuracy.
·          Unfortunately, The Board allowed Jim too much latitude, and not enough supervision.  While we had growing doubts concerning his reports to the board, we responded much too late, and did not begin to uncover the extent of excess spending until after his dismissal.
·         Expense reports for both Jim and Carol North contained expenses for meals and mileage (including mileage to and from the office on almost a daily basis) that would not have been authorized by the Board had the expenses been reported in a more transparent fashion. 

Examples of personal spending that would have been disallowed were the payment of Jim and Carol’s Direct TV bill, the cost of a pair of specialty shoes ($245) and meals purchased in Tennessee during the week of 5/22/08 (Jim North was never authorized to conduct EARS business of any sort in Tennessee), and groceries purchased for a holiday party at the North’s home.

While several Board members attended the holiday event, they were appalled to learn that EARS funds had apparently paid for the meal.  While the sum of these examples may not be large, they are indicative of a general attitude toward EARS spending by the North’s that is totally unacceptable.
·         Our Budget Committee made very specific recommendations in November 2008 to reduce both general operating and personnel expenses.  The Budget Committee recommendations were not instituted by Jim North.
·         Board Member Jaxzann Riggs gave Jim North a personal check in November 2008 to pay the taxes on the EARS DeSoto county property.  In May 2009, the Executive Committee became aware that the check was not used to pay the taxes when the land was listed in the newspaper on the Desoto County delinquent tax roll.

 Jim did not disclose that he had diverted funds earmarked specifically for taxes to other expenses at the December, January, February, March or April Board meetings. His financial reports to the Board made no mention of either EARS inability to cover $15,000 worth of past due debts or the property taxes that the Board assumed had been paid. A second check had to be written by Jaxzann Riggs to bring the taxes current.
·         Prior to their termination and while receiving approximately $7,410.00 combined income from EARS on a monthly basis, the North’s formed a new corporation with a name that was similar to that used by our retail sister company PawZazz. The formation of the company was never mentioned to the EARS Board.
The Board had full confidence in Jim’s reporting and our relationship with him.  We are greatly disappointed that the trust we put in him was misplaced and abused.  This will not happen in the future.  The Board has put procedures in place and will continue to monitor the daily activities and all finances of both EARS and PawZazz for Pets.

In the 10 weeks since our first discovery of the financial mismanagement of EARS by Jim North, as well as Carol North, and their subsequent termination, we have made great strides for the animals in our care:

·         Dr. and Dixie Lott are donating their time and knowledge and providing expert healthcare at only the cost of medication. In spite of the turmoil surrounding the past 2.5 months, EARS has adopted 108 animals year-to-date and we are currently caring for 80 in our foster homes. In the last several weeks, as we have begun to regain control of our operation, our adoption rates have increased dramatically.
·         Our dedicated staff members, Michelle Adams and Petra Sheehan-Kurpeski, have taken on additional responsibilities and are performing above and beyond all expectations.
·         A new group of volunteers and fosters have joined our existing volunteers and fosters to get everything done and to provide for our animals.
·         Our Board has taken on an active roll in the day to day operation to insure our commitment to the community and to our animals is met within the guidelines of our organization, with all of our time and funding donated to animals, with no expense incurred by EARS.
·         The staff, volunteers, fosters and Board all work without any type of expense reimbursement, which was not the case with Jim and Carol North.  The elimination of their positions has saved EARS an average of nearly $2,000.00 per month in expenses plus their salaries of approximately $7410.00.
·         PawZazz for Pets, our retail adoption facility now under the expert management of Chey Soares, has done more business, created more friends and adopted more cats in the past 10 weeks than ever before.  It continues to grow in leaps and bounds.
·         The newsletter, previously done by salaried Carol North is now being written by a wonderful volunteer, Roy Van Horn.  You will be able to view the newsletter on the EARS web site and you’ll see the first printed issue on October 1.  Roy’s suggestion that the newsletter be made available to those who might enjoy it online will result in a substantial savings to EARS. We are thankful for his management of this most important communication tool.
·         We currently have three employees: Michelle Adams and Petra Sheehan-Kurpeski, who are paid by EARS and Chey Soares who is paid by PawZazz for Pets.  In addition to taking on extra responsibilities when Jim and Carol were terminated, our employees work hours far in excess of their salary and joyfully participate in all of our events, donating time and energy for the benefit of our animals.
·         The day to day operation of EARS is being overseen by the Executive Committee members, Mary Skaggs and Nancy Colby, with support from the remainder of the Board, with absolutely no reimbursement or expense.
·         Jaxzann Riggs continues to personally donate funds to EARS, to the sum of $8,000.00.  She has also given EARS an interest free loan in the sum of $40,000.00. 

Jaxzann has also very generously purchased the DeSoto county land back from EARS in order to give us operating cash and to insure EARS succeeds. 

We could not build our sanctuary there, but the land was an asset.  The Board voted unanimously on August 3 to allow Jaxzann to purchase it so it could remain in the hand of an EARS supporter for future evaluation and consideration after the market value increases. 

In the meantime, the purchase insures that EARS can remain financially viable during reorganization.
The Board, the staff and our volunteers are working around the clock to restore the community’s confidence in us, to develop new relationships and to put this all behind us. 

While we have a lot of work ahead of us, we look brightly to the future.

Our animals are happy and healthy and EARS remains strong.   It is our goal to always operate in a completely transparent fashion and to be responsible stewards of funds donated for the care of our animals.

 If you would like to personally review the documentation that supports this statement, an Executive Committee member will be available to meet with you.

.It is our hope that after you have read this statement and understand the facts, you will consider helping us even more than you have in the past.

We understand why you may have been hesitant to donate to us while we were in turmoil but we can assure you now, that we are headed solidly in an honest and steady direction towards a new and improved EARS Animals Rescue Sanctuary

We need you now!
We need your support, both financially and as volunteers and fosters.
Please let us know you’re still with EARS, you still believe in EARS and you will support us.
Thank you.
Very sincerely,
The Board of Directors
EARS Animal Rescue Sanctuary

2015 Taxes

EARS has never publicly address these findings. You will be shocked !

This very special analysis on EARS Animal Rescue Sanctuary's Federal Tax Returns, was obtained thru DeSota County just by requesting it. It was prepared by Administrative Services director Jan Brewer of DeSoto County who oversees the activities of the Finance Department .

She prepared the following report on EARS Animal Rescue Sanctuary for the DeSota County Commissioners for review prior to the special exception permit hearing EARS request, in order to build their Sanctuary in DeSoto County.

As you know on Monday, June 23, 2008, the DeSoto County Commissioners turned down EARS request.

You may contact Jan Brewer at the DeSoto County Administration Building - 201 East Oak Street- Arcadia, Florida 34266 - Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. - Monday through Friday - Telephone: 863 - 993 - 4800

Analysis of Englewood Animal Rescue Sanctuary
Tax Returns for 2003, 2004 .2005 & 2006
Prepared by Jan Brewer


Based upon reviews of the 2003 , 2004. 2005 & 2006 tax returns the
following conclusions can be drawn.

The funds spend on the “animals” is extremely minimal

2003 - $ 225 out of $31,263 = .71% of expenses
2004 - $ 505 out of $30,504 = 1.60% of expenses
2005 - $ 802 out of $26,955 = 2.20% of expenses

Compensation has occurred for a “ director ” or “ officer” but no names has been provided within the tax returns

2003 - $ 38,700
2004 - $ 15,100
2005 - $ 23,262
2006 - $ 9,416

In 2006 they have deducted $2,511 in payroll taxes which is a salary of approx $33,000. They must be listing this within their consultants which list at $63,683

Most expenses are spent on management and travel

Very little business seems conducted on animals.

However they are telling the IRS they are focus on fund-raising for the purpose of constructing a no-kill animal shelter ,which is sub purpose for the care of animals.

They spent $143,933 for this purpose in 2006 and $77,889 for management for 2006. The total expense for the year was $221,822.
Again only $1,477 went to the animals directly

" Some small adoption groups choose to act as brokers, by taking small adoptable dogs, often purebred from shelters in other areas of the state or even the entire country,and actually selling or adopting them for exorbitant fees."

Phil Snyder, Executive Director: Suncoast Humane Society

*Pet Advice 

Rescuer or Dog Flipper

There are a number of wonderfully caring and perfectly respectable dog rescue organizations out there, but unfortunately not all of them are what they seem. The newest scam is for supposed rescuers to search shelters, Craigslist, The Penny Saver, One Man’s Junk, etc., to locate dogs which are in high demand and easy to sell. These con-artists will then obtain the dog, often seeking out purebred or family dogs, and then sell them. They will refer to this charge as an adoption or rehoming fee, and will turn around and make a pretty serious profit.

This is a horrible internet trend called “dog flipping”.  Pet owners that are desperate to place a family pet, for whatever reason, will trust these people.  They really make you feel that they want the pet as a new family member and you can “rest assured” they will always love and care for him just as you have.  These are lies.  Within days, these pets will be listed on the internet sites for a fee. Most don’t even try to cover up their deceitful acts. They list them with the same names and history.  They don’t expect the original pet owner to be looking at the internet sites so why try to hide anything.

The scammers will tell you that included in your re-homing fee is spay/neuter and shots, while in reality the animals received these services from where ever the alleged ‘rescuer’ got the dog. Or, the dogs may have had no veterinarian work and the rescuer will ask you to “trust” them that the dog is current on everything even though they have no paperwork.  They may even go on to tell you that they have to recover the costs of rescuing the dog from horrible conditions, but this is usually not the case.  Most of the dogs are “flipped” within a few days after they have obtained them.  

Some of these people actually con the shelters into waving or reducing fees. And the people who “dog flip” are incredibly crafty, often devising sob stories to win over the empathy of the dog owners. Shelters/rescues are being warned to watch out for any potential “dog flippers”.  These dog flippers, under the guise of being a friend to animals, make a $200-$400 profit for each dog they obtain from the shelters, Craigslist, One Man’s Junk, local classifieds, etc. They do this a couple times a week and they can make a pretty good living at it.

Be careful of anyone posing as rescuers when checking out an adoptable dog.  Ask detailed questions, ask about their non-profit status, ask details about the animal – it’s origin, temperament, how long it has been with them, and be sure to visit the dog in person before agreeing to any money being exchanged.  If they tell you they are affiliated with a known rescue group, contact the rescue to make sure the person is indeed a volunteer in good standing with the group.  Tri-County Animal Rescue has had to deal with this exact situation several times.  Tri-County does not advertise on these sites and never will.  Tri-County does not “surf” these sites looking for free pets either.

Shelters typically try to have their dogs spayed or neutered before they leave their premises so they cannot be used as breeders, but it’s not always possible when puppies are very young.  Please don’t “hand out” puppies at yard sales or out of your trunks.  Most of these “give-a-ways” never have the medical care they deserve.

Tri-County Animal Rescue does search the local sites for anyone trying to “rehome” one of our dogs.  Our adopted pets cannot be sold OR rehomed on these sites. It is not allowed per our adoption contract.  

Here are some tips on keeping your pet out of the hands of dog flippers:

– Research potential adopters on the internet. Look at how many times their name and phone number turn up on the web. Dog flippers tend to be on many websites with multiple dogs.

– Watch out for fake rescue organizations. People will claim they are helping dogs when they are really flippers. Ask about their non-profit status/tax id number.

– Listen carefully and be cautious trusting a sob or slick story.  Do not be fooled by the tears.

– Please don’t post your pet on these internet sites…but if you do, take the time to fully check out the potential adopter.

– Finally, be wary of anyone wanting to take more than one animal.

“All of this started because he assumed that it was Marion’s dog that walked into his garage,” Austin said. “This man is a retired cop from Connecticut and he’s got a grudge against the world. I don’t know if he’s got pull with the Sheriff’s Office or what, but we are getting so tired of this harassment.”

Despite the SCSO report listing Lutz as “unemployed,” Austin added that, despite her current legal difficulties, Lutz will retain her paid contract position as shelter director of EARS (she actually is the only paid employee — all the others involved with the organization are volunteers, according to Austin).

“She is the best thing that ever happened to EARS,” she said. “The woman is so dedicated. This whole thing has been blown out of proportion and Marion has borne the brunt of it.”

Lutz has retained counsel and said she is mulling legal action of her own against Maloney.

“This is not OK,” she said. “I did not strike that man first. That man struck me and, in self-defense, I struck back. And now I’m thinking of countersuing him.”

There also have been occasions in the past where complaints have been lodged about dogs getting loose from the EARS site at 145 W. Dearborn St., Englewood. One of the most recent occurred back on Dec. 29, when two Siberian huskies got out and allegedly attacked a 72-year-old woman and her dog, which resulted in two Animal Services citations for EARS for having dogs running at large, the Sun previously reported.

The incident allegedly resulted in bite injuries to both the woman and her dog, but it was unclear which dog involved actually bit the woman.

Lutz maintains the huskies did not bite the woman.

“It was actually her own dog that bit her,” Lutz said. “She admitted that the next day.

“My thing is that I rescue animals,” she went on to say. “And I have done a damned good job for this organization. It’s a labor of love, because you don’t make any money. My job is mostly a volunteer one. We have rescued more animals in the year that I’ve been there than they ever have in the history of EARS.

“I’m not an aggressive person. I’m a caregiver.”

Interim Englewood Sun Editor Marion Putman contributed to this report.

As Published In The Englewood Edge:
Volunteers hope to bring animal rescue group back to life
Story by Mark Chapman on Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

The trou­bled Engle­wood Ani­mal Res­cue Sanc­tu­ary, pro­nounced dead by its own board direc­tors, may be ready to show just what “no kill” means.

A new board of direc­tors com­pris­ing EARS vol­un­teers will try to resus­ci­tate the shel­ter­less shel­ter that has a strict no-kill pol­icy and accepts both cats and dogs.

After the for­mer board announced plans to shut down EARS once and for all, the vol­un­teers drew up a busi­ness plan and bud­get show­ing that, if reor­ga­nized, stream­lined and reen­er­gized, the orga­ni­za­tion will be suc­cess­ful. The plan was pre­sented to the board, which told vol­un­teers that if they felt cer­tain about EARS’ future, the board would not stand in the way of the vol­un­teers recon­sti­tut­ing the board and tak­ing over management.

The new board mem­bers are Deva Bal­lan­tyne, Petra Kurpeski, Bobbi Austin, Susan­Reilly and Sarah Katz.

An open meet­ing will be held at 10 a.m.Wednesday, March 16, at the EARS facil­ity, 145 W. Dear­born St., to dis­cuss how EARS will move for­ward and to get pub­lic input. The meet­ing is open to the public.

EARS has called itself a sanc­tu­ary since it was founded sev­eral years ago by Peggy Haupt­man, who visu­al­ized a sanc­tu­ary based on the Best Friends model in Kanab, Utah. Ani­mals would live com­mu­nally, with­out cages, in a care-for-life set­ting.
But EARS has been a sanc­tu­ary in name only. The group has never had a build­ing despite rais­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars and own­ing land in two coun­ties at dif­fer­ent times.

EARS intended to build on a 10-acre par­cel off Artists Avenue, but the res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood proved unwel­com­ing. EARS sold the prop­erty and bought a 25-acre par­cel in rural DeS­oto County with the inten­tion of build­ing its sanc­tu­ary there. The group held major fundrais­ers and devel­oped a high profile.

But the orga­ni­za­tion ran into prob­lems. Alle­ga­tions that all was not right with the non-profit group’s finances began to per­co­late. And, when the group pre­pared to go before the DeS­oto County Com­mis­sion for a spe­cial exemp­tion per­mit to build its shel­ter, those alle­ga­tions bub­bled to the sur­face rais­ing ques­tions as to why , from 2003 to 2006, only about $2,100 of the approx­i­mately $310,000 taken in went directly to ani­mal care, accord­ing to an analy­sis of EARS’ tax returns for the DeS­oto Board of County Com­mis­sion­ers pre­pared by DeS­oto County Admin­is­tra­tive Ser­vices Direc­tor Jan Brewer.

That was in 2008. In spring 2009, EARS fired its exec­u­tive direc­tor and hired Dee Ann Roberts, who ran the orga­ni­za­tion until its recent deci­sion to fold. Roberts spoke con­tin­u­ally about the dam­age done in the fundrais­ing arena by pre­vi­ous direc­tors, taint­ing the group’s name.

Now a new group will attempt to revive EARS and con­tinue its mis­sion of pro­vid­ing shel­ter and find­ing homes for ani­mals that might oth­er­wise by put down.

Animal-shelter opponents say, 'Not in my back yard'
The proposed Englewood Animal Rescue Sanctuary would be a no-kill facility spread out over 10 acres.

Published: Saturday, October 4, 2003 at 3:03 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 4, 2003 at 8:04 a.m.

Page 3 of 3

The site's zoning designation is Open Use Estates Two, according to Sarasota County growth management planner Ed Wolfe. Although dog kennels are allowed under current zoning, there is no mention of animal shelters or sanctuaries.

A new zoning code, expected to take effect later this year, designates animal shelters as a special-exception use, Wolfe said.

The EARS project will have to gain approval from growth management, the planning commission, and the County Commission. Public input will be sought at each stage, Wolfe said.

Edith Wright, a longtime Englewood activist, said Thursday that the meeting left her with more questions than answers.

"One of my concerns was whether these folks had the knowledge and qualifications to do something like this," Wright said.

"I don't feel like those concerns have been answered."




“This is not the first time this has happened; this has happened many times,” he told the Sun recently. “The animals have been running through the neighborhood — not just my property — for quite some time. I went to her home and complained to her directly about her multiple roaming dogs coming onto my property. She hit me in the face. I left there and I called the police.”

The complaint made its way to the State Attorney’s Office, which decided to pursue charges in the incident, resulting in a capias warrant being issued for Lutz’s arrest on Jan. 21, court records show.

Animal Services citations also were written Dec. 23 and Jan. 26 regarding two of Lutz’s dogs “running at large” in the vicinity of her home on Dec. 19 and Jan. 10, respectively. Another pair of citations were written on Jan. 26, claiming two dogs were “improperly tethered” while the officer was working a follow-up case. Collectively, the citations come with civil penalties of $532, court records show.

Lutz maintained “there is no proof” that the dogs in those citations are hers. As for the improper tethering citations, she said she was not home at that time and the dogs were under her roommate’s care.

“There are other dogs that run around that neighborhood constantly,” she said. “But because of the issues I’ve had with (Maloney), he jumps the gun and says they’re mine. Most of the time, my dogs are at work with me.”

Bobbi Austin, president of the EARS board of directors, said Maloney’s battery complaint has no merit.

Click On The Box Above To Read All About That Fateful Day. Please let the page load, twice.

Peggy Hauptman The Early Years
2000- 2006

Our EARS animals have value. If you can't afford to adopt from EARS you should think whether you can afford a Pet.
From EARS fb page. July 23rd, 2016. Dirty EARS has it screenshot & saved.

Animal-shelter opponents say, 'Not in my back yard'

The proposed Englewood Animal Rescue Sanctuary would be a no-kill facility spread out over 10 acres.

phil.diederich@heraldtribune.com Penny Russell, an EARS supporter, speaks her mind during a meeting Friday about the proposed EARS animal shelter.STAFF PHOTO / PHIL DIEDERICH /

Published: Saturday, October 4, 2003 at 3:03 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 4, 2003 at 8:04 a.m.

ENGLEWOOD -- It's a refrain often heard in opposition to garbage dumps or chemical plants, but some Englewood residents are saying the same about a proposed no-kill animal shelter -- Not In My Back Yard.

"We are not animal haters. We think the shelter is a great project," said resident Gerald Barrett. "Only, it doesn't belong in a residential neighborhood."

The shelter proposed by the Englewood Animal Rescue Sanctuary would be built on 10 acres at Stewart and Elm streets. EARS representatives spoke at a meeting of the Olde Englewood Village Homeowners Association on Thursday, trying to convince residents that the shelter would not harm their neighborhood.

"It is going to be a beautiful park-like setting. I think, eventually, the residents will see it as a point of pride for Englewood," said EARS executive director Ron Egoville.

The conceptual plan for the shelter shows a complex of eight buildings, each surrounded by fenced areas for animals to roam, and an administrative center. Four buildings would house dogs in cageless, dormitory-like rooms.

Egoville said the open environment will keep the animals calm and claimed that would reduce the barking often associated with shelters.

"Happy dogs don't bark," he said.

That comment drew a skeptical reaction from the crowd, and Egoville later mitigated his stance, saying that the dogs would bark but not as much as in a traditional shelter.

In an interview following the meeting, Egoville also said the complex would be surrounded by a berm and sound-damping vegetation.

Residents also questioned whether Egoville was qualified to run a large animal shelter. The facility could house more than 300 cats and nearly 200 dogs.

“ We survive soley on donations and adoption fees ”.
From EARS fb page.


Marion has many aliases A.K.A Marion Wilce.
Marion was charged with  "Animal Cruelty" in 2006 and she was working with animals at EARS.
 The full investigation and Sheriff's report was sent to


20 Dogs x $350 Adoption Fee = $7,000 For One Day Trip

Marion Lutz is EARS former Shelter Director.
 Her Past & Current Arrest Record ARE SHOCKING
Marion Lutz Current Run In's With Animal Control

Are Adding Up According To The Englwood Sun Herald.
She was convicted of battery for striking a retire Police Officer

EARS retrieve dogs from as far away as Miami-Dade,
Hillsborough, Broward and Collier County shelters.
From Their Web Site.


EARS retrieve dogs from as far away as Miami-Dade,
Hillsborough, Broward and Collier County shelters.
From Their Web Site

Other Tax Years

EARS shelter director arrested after dog dispute



ENGLEWOOD — Marion Lutz, shelter director for the EARS Animal Rescue Sanctuary, was arrested Tuesday on a battery charge stemming from a Nov. 22 altercation with her neighbor over an issue with Lutz’s dogs, according to a Sarasota County Sheriff’s report.

Lutz, 52, was released the day of her arrest after posting a $500 cash bond. Her arraignment on the first-degree misdemeanor charge is scheduled for Feb. 18 at the Sarasota County Justice Center in Sarasota. According to the report, her neighbor, James Maloney, 68, who lives on the 700 block of Yale Street in Englewood, claimed Lutz, a nearby resident on the 800 block of Yale, allowed her dogs to come into his backyard. When Maloney walked up to Lutz’s door to confront her about it, she allegedly punched him in the face. The report goes on to state that Lutz said Maloney “slapped her and she punched him in self-defense.”

Lutz maintained she asked Maloney to leave her front doorstep, but he refused.

“He stood there and looked at me and I said again, ‘I’m going to tell you again to leave my property,’ and he hauled off and he smacked me right across the face,” she said. “I don’t even know if they were my dogs. He said he has pictures. He doesn’t.”

Maloney, who said he has lived “for a couple of years” at his current address, contends he does have photos of Lutz’s dogs on his property, and has given them to law enforcement.


In Three Short Years

EARS Made $218,661.00 From Pet Adoptions
* This is a horrible internet trend called “dog flipping”.

In 2015 EARS Reported To The The IRS
They Took In $76,124.00 For Pet Adoptions.

In 2014 EARS Reported To The The IRS
They Took In $91,786.00 For Pet Adoptions.

In 2013 EARS Reported To The The IRS
They Took In $50,751.00 For Pet Adoptions.

EARS director wants a new beginning

Posted by Mark Chapman on November 20th, 2009 at 2:22 pm,
with photos by courtesy of Charlotte County Sheriff's Office; headshot by Nancy Guenther Chapman

[Dee Ann Roberts works with a dog in her former position as executive director of the Animal Welfare League in Charlotte County.]

Dee Ann Roberts works with a dog in her for­mer posi­tion as exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Ani­mal Wel­fare League in Char­lotte County.

Dee Ann Roberts is pas­sion­ate about ani­mals. That is clear early in the conversation.

“We have to teach a new gen­er­a­tion about respon­si­ble pet own­er­ship,” she said Wednes­day morn­ing. “We’re a throw-away soci­ety. We put our old peo­ple in nurs­ing homes, and we put our pets in shelters.”

It both­ers Roberts, the for­mer direc­tor of the Ani­mal Wel­fare League in Char­lotte County who was named this week as the new exec­u­tive direc­tor of Engle­wood Ani­mal Res­cue Sanc­tu­ary, that peo­ple give up their pets “because they don’t like the way they look.”

She told of one per­son who brought a dog in to the Ani­mal Wel­fare League and gave it up, say­ing, “We didn’t know it would look like this when it grew up.”

Roberts also has a hard time with euth­a­niz­ing ani­mals that are not sick or injured.

“If an ani­mal is not in pain, there has to be a place for them to go” she said. “They shouldn’t be put down just because they aren’t young enough or cute enough to be adopted.”

That is what Roberts likes about EARS, although she wants to change the way the group por­trays itself as a “no-kill” sanctuary.

“No Kill is a mis­nomer,” she explained. “You have to euth­a­nize some­times. What are you going to do – a dog gets hit by a car, has exten­sive injuries and is in pain, and you are going to let him suf­fer? No. You have to put some ani­mals down, but you do not have to do it because of over­crowd­ing, because of age, because of breed or length of stay.”

And that’s why Roberts has build­ing a shel­ter high on her to-do list.

EARS has called itself a sanc­tu­ary since it was founded sev­eral years ago by Peggy Haupt­man, who visu­al­ized a sanc­tu­ary based on the Best Friends model in Kanab, Utah. Ani­mals would live com­mu­nally, with­out cages, in a care-for-life set­ting. But EARS has been a sanc­tu­ary in name only. The group has never had a build­ing despite rais­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars and own­ing land in two coun­ties at dif­fer­ent times.

EARS intended to build on a 10-acre par­cel off Artists Avenue, but the res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood proved unwel­com­ing. EARS sold the prop­erty and bought a 25-acre par­cel in rural DeS­oto County with the inten­tion of build­ing its sanc­tu­ary there. The group held major fundrais­ers and devel­oped a high profile.

But the orga­ni­za­tion ran into prob­lems. Alle­ga­tions that all was not right with the non-profit group’s finances began to per­co­late. And, when the group pre­pared to go before the DeS­oto County Com­mis­sion for a spe­cial exemp­tion per­mit to build its shel­ter, those alle­ga­tions bub­bled to the surface.

An analy­sis of EARS’ tax returns for the DeS­oto Board of County Com­mis­sion­ers was pre­pared by DeS­oto County Admin­is­tra­tive Ser­vices Direc­tor Jan Brewer prior to the per­mit hear­ing in 2008.

Here is the text of that report:

“Analy­sis of Engle­wood Ani­mal Res­cue Sanctuary

Tax Returns for 2003, 2004 .2005 & 2006

Pre­pared by Jan Brewer


Based upon reviews of the 2003 , 2004. 2005 & 2006 tax returns the

fol­low­ing con­clu­sions can be drawn.

The funds spend on the “ani­mals” is extremely minimal

2003 — $ 225 out of $31,263 = .71% of expenses

2004 — $ 505 out of $30,504 = 1.60% of expenses

2005 — $ 802 out of $26,955 = 2.20% of expenses

2006 — $1,477 out of $221,822 = .67% of expenses

Com­pen­sa­tion has occurred for a “direc­tor” or “offi­cer” but no names has been pro­vided within the tax returns.

2003 — $ 38,700

2004 — $ 15,100

2005 — $ 23,262

2006 — $ 9,416

In 2006 they have deducted $2,511 in pay­roll taxes which is a salary of approx $33,000. They must be list­ing this within their con­sul­tants which list at $63,683

Most expenses are spent on man­age­ment and travel

Very lit­tle busi­ness seems con­ducted on animals.

How­ever they are telling the IRS they are focus on “fundrais­ing for the pur­pose of con­struct­ing a no-kill ani­mal shel­ter” which is sub pur­pose for the care of animals.

They spent $143,933 for this pur­pose in 2006 and $77,889 for man­age­ment for 2006. The total expense for the year was $221,822. Again only $1,477 went to the ani­mals directly.”

The spe­cial excep­tion per­mit was denied. EARS sold the 25-acre prop­erty in DeS­oto it had planned to use for an ani­mal sanc­tu­ary for $170,000, accord­ing to DeS­oto County records.

Jim North was the EARS exec­u­tive direc­tor from 2006 to 2009. When the finan­cial analy­sis came in from DeS­oto County, mem­bers of the EARS board of direc­tors began to ques­tion where the money had gone. The focus turned to North and his wife, Carol, also on the EARS payroll.