Imposters posing as humane society members

CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KAIT) - The Caruthersville Humane Society  is warning Bootheel residents to beware of individuals misrepresenting themselves on behalf of CHS.

CHS manager Erma Page said CHS has received calls from people who said individuals claiming to be from the Caruthersville Humane Society have been making unannounced visits and threatening to take away their pets due to neglect.

"That is not the way it works.  No animal welfare agency can take your animal without the assistance of law enforcement and a warrant issued by the court.  If you suspect someone is not who they seem, you should contact your local law enforcement agency to check them out," Page said.

Kelly Rodriguez, who adopted her cat Ozzie from the Caruthersville Humane Society, said no one has come to her home threatening to take any of her three cats.

"Nobody's come to us saying anything about it," she said. "It doesn't make any sense because the Humane Society is all about placing animals in homes, not taking them from homes. I could see if there was an abusive situation or something like that."

Caruthersville Humane Society President Karol Wilcox said even in cases of animal abuse, CHS does not work without assistance from police or permission to go on a person's property.

"People are going to people's houses taking pictures of their animals saying they're neglected and they're going to take their animals, and that first of all isn't the way we work on a complaint, and secondly, we would identify ourselves, and if we were going to remove your animals law enforcement would be involved, a judge would be involved," Wilcox said.

"You would know that we have been working with you. We don't just come on your property and take your animals. That's not even legal."

The questionable house calls are not the only complaints they've gotten about people misrepresenting the Caruthersville Humane Society.  According to Wilcox, someone falsely claiming to be affiliated with CHS has been soliciting donations.

"We have heard that there's some people representing themselves as collecting for the Humane Society. We don't go door-to-door. You can mail it to us, use PayPal, or pay us personally (with) a check, but I say don't give money to anybody until you identify them. If there's any questions call your law enforcement. Call us."

In addition, Wilcox said people have come to the CHS office to return animals that were not originally adopted from CHS.

"People are coming wanting their money back, or telling us they have problems with the animals, or wanting to return the animal, and it's not us adopting them. If you adopt from us we have a series of paperwork. You would see us, and you would come in our building and you would adopt the animals. So, if somebody's adopting off the street and saying they're us, it's not us."

Wilcox believes people are attempting to take advantage of the transition the organization is making into a new facility in Hayti.

"Even with our move impending and our need for donations, we just don't want it to go into the wrong hands."

The Caruthersville Humane Society and volunteers are working to complete renovations on the new facility in downtown Hayti and relocate nearly 40 animals from the Cupples Rubber building in Caruthersville by November 5.

"To help facilitate the process, we are working on lowering our cat population," said Page. "We are having a relocation explosion adoption promotion for the next two weeks with ten cats available for a waived adoption fee," said Page.

For more information about adoption, click here to visit the CHS web site, or here to visit the CHS Facebook page.

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