It’s an animal cruelty case CBS 4 has been following for weeks.
Two men and a woman arrested earlier this month after nearly 300 dogs were found in poor conditions in a Los Fresnos warehouse.
Authorities say they operated an animal rescue there and in Missouri called ‘All Accounted For,’ the case revealing that the rescue was fake and has many wondering how you can tell if an organization is legitimate or not.
Local organizations say a key way to find out is to ask plenty of questions.
The Harlingen Humane Society has people bring in lost or stray pets regularly.
“Typically people do call in once they’ve found a lost pet – and there are a few things we like to recommend to them,” Terran Tull, of the organization, says.
Often times, those recommendations include trying to find the animal’s owner, but if that doesn’t work out, the shelter takes them in.
“We know not everyone can add an extra animal to their home, so in that case we would be able to take the animal in. We just need an ID or a copy of a bill showing that you are a Harlingen resident,” Tull says.
In the case of the 300 dogs found in Los Fresnos, people say they thought the men charged with animal cruelty were running a real shelter – something the Better Business Bureau says requires more research than a Facebook page.
“The organization should have a mission statement, should have clearly written policies on what the purpose of the organization is,” Dolores Salinas, of the BBB, says.
Because what those residents didn’t realize was that those animals were being mistreated, and the BBB offers reports on non-profits to determine whether or not they’re reliable.
“If they find there is not a report on that particular organization, non-profit, then it’s even more important that they do more checking, ask more questions…” Salinas says.
Although, that’s not the only way to check a non-profit out.
“What I would recommend just to avoid a situation like that is just to ask to see where the animal will be kept,” Tull says.
Tull adds you should be able to see the kennels for yourself, something the Harlingen Humane Society allows too, and determine whether or not you trust the organization to take a pet in.
“A rescue group should be able to let you do something similar, just to see their facility, where the animals are, and that might be a really good way to make sure they are being cared for appropriately,” she says.
You can look up any non-profit or business on the Better Business Bureau website at https://www.bbb.org/us/category/non-profit-organizations