On September 13, 2016, a person calling herself Sonnia using email address alleykattz5[at]aol.com sent me an email stating that six (persumably) JFK cats needs fund. She proceeded to mention that a certain person named “Dave” from Pets4Luv took one cat and another rescue (requested not to be named) took another, but the rest haven’t got any luck yet. She gave her PayPal address (above) and she was urgently soliciting money.
Majority of my friends and supporters are in USA, so I assume JFK is John F. Kennedy Airport or surrounding area in New York. I am sure there are other JFKs around USA, but that’s the one I think of at that moment.
Less than an hour, she forwarded the same email, and repetitively done so afterward for about two days.
At the same time, a self styled animal rescuer; a Serbian by the name of Micky Serban rose to fame when she was raided and people found that all her rescues were beyond neglected and in an extremely devastated state. Some have to be put down. Micky Serban allegedly use donation money for her and her girlfriend (very) comfortable lives (in Serbia’s standard) while neglecting her rescues.
A few months before the email from Sonnia, another woman start following Whiskers’ Syndicate. On second day, she shared Whiskers’ Syndicate’s story on her own page with additional comment on top “This goes the same with me, please donate to [email address]” She did this several times to the post that has the most view.
Soon enough I start receiving angry emails because people who thought they had donated to me, sent their money to her email address instead. People thought she was soliciting on my behalf.
This woman will not stop with polite request and was even treating Lori rudely until she was threatened with lawsuit.
These two incidents, aside from Sonnia’s, were enough to warn me to be careful in soliciting donation, as well as giving money to someone else. I contacted the two rescue groups she mentioned and asked if they have any relation with her or can testify about her activity.
“Dave” from Pets4Luv did not reply, but the other rescue did. They said Sonnia is a trapper, but she does not have any relation to them whatsoever. They only took one of her kittens in the past but that’s it.
So, as far as I can see it, Sonnia trap cats, and then she demand that existing rescue group take the cats in no matter what.
I kind of knit my eyebrow on that sort of practice. Usually people will trap, neuter, and return, and take care of the cats on the street. One set. I have never known someone who trap and throw the cat to someone else to handle; as if those rescue group didn’t have enough problem by themselves.
However, I gave her the benefit of the doubt, and let it go.
I shared about her publicly on my personal page, and those who read gave their own opinion. Everyone felt the shade, all see the shroud. No one knows her. I checked on her facebook page and like other friend said, she is nothing but being pissy because no one take her cat and no one send money. All the while those who foster for her, as per comments, felt the burden of having to take care of numerous feral and semi feral for a long time in ever declining USA economy.
I was busy enough so I no longer follow what she wrote in her email or facebook and instead mind my own business. Whiskers’ Syndicate’s life is in its most precarious financial situation in its history and I should rather spend my time and energy for it.
On October 26 she again send email with capital letters and sentences asking for money.
Between that time, some other person send me email with flyers for Sonnia’s cat and she is ignorant enough to leave her digital signature in it.
Again I share them publicly and ask my friends, or friends of a friend if anyone ever connected us in some way. None.
The digital signature leads to the website of a PR firm.
So a PR firm obtain my email address in somewhat legally questionable way and send me flyers without my consent.
In November Sonnia sent more email than ever and in the past two days, with such urgency that can drive people to panic and throw their opened wallet toward her. In one of it she stated [copy and pasted, as it is]:
BUT NOW WE NEED TO RAISE THE INTAKE FEE AND FOR VETTING…WE NEED $879… RAISED $571…. TOTAL….$1450.00…
Well, you need 879 and raised 571. Then you should only need around 300. How come the total is 1450?
Within five hours, another email [copy and pasted in full]:
UPDATE::: WE NEED $695…. PLEASE DONATE… Neighbors are trashing their food bowls and NOT A SAFE PLACE… RAISED $755.. WE STILL NEED HELP.. One cat is trapped .. Rescuer reached out to me for help.. I contacted the sanctuary and was told yes but FUNDS ARE NEEDED.. If funds are not raised she will release the cat with the others. I am trying to help in between my own rescues.. Please donate SEND TO MY paypal https://www.paypal.com/ alleykattz5[at]aol.com or PM me if you want to send a check…thank you !!
I am not good in math. If I have to challenge a common American high school student, I’d lost. No, seriously, her advanced level math made my brain hurt.
Besides, if the rescuer would release the cats with the other if money is not raised, why not? If other rescues can and willing to take the cats, why it should be her?
For one last time, I posted her email on my personal page, warning people to please read before going into panic mode and throwing money blindly.
This morning, Sonnia sent me three broken emails, without subject, without proper introduction (as always) and thrown a hissy fit at me for calling her money soliciting “cheeky”
She also, to certain effect, accuse me for being suspicious because I am not in her contact, yet I can get her emails and she would warn her “Dave” and other rescues for that.
Caveat: she didn’t even realize I am not in USA and I am not even American.
I am not surprised. People like her tend to think that the whole world is made of America and inhabited by American. I must be the green Martian.
And in all funkiness she think I’ll shrink in the face of her backwards “suspicious” threat.
I took the time stitching up her emails and reply to her. I hope it will settle it down. Her antics had cost me the whole morning, on which time I should have allocate to blog and fund raise. In Martian language: she is wasting my time, and I am not happy about it.
Still, I need to warnall of the Sonnia’s kind of people. Use proper language and proper ways of communicating when dealing with others. No one will be happy if some stranger just barge through their door asking money. Decent people won’t do that, robbers do.
I need to warn Sonnia’s kind of people, put your brain to work and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you blabber and gloat about your self righteousness and entitlement. Look at yourself in the mirror before you accuse someone of being suspicious.
I need to warn Sonnia’s kind of people, be careful with your words, and be careful how you treat people. If you keep your nose up while walking you would never know when you crashed to some wall. If you keep raising your chin up while walking, you would never know when you step on a grenade and you can die because of it.
At last, to all of these Sonnia’s kind of people: we animal welfare workers are the most tolerant people in the world. Whether we are in America, or UK, or Africa, or Ukraine, or Turkey, we work with many restrictions, mind gazillion of rules, and under threat from many haters. We put our family on the line, our jobs on the line, our social world on the line. We put our credit and finances on the line. We deprive ourselves of many. We are scrutinized more than you scrutinize the butt slit of Kim Kardashian. We endure all that and many more for the sake of animals. None of us said “We do A LOT!” We always feel we need to do more and we strive for it.
That doesn’t mean we are meek, soft and squishy kind of people. We don’t like being slandered. We fight back. I fight back. So next time you seek to harm my rescue or my cats, next time you try to intimidate others, next time you’re about to play your supremacy card, remember this: tigers sleep, and tigers bite, especially if you kick them while they are sleeping.