FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Al’s Angels Animal Rescue has been on a mission since the beginning of fall to get Mater, a basset hound mix, walking. This required fundraising efforts from Al’s Angels in order to pay for surgery and other medical expenses.
However, in this process conflict arose between four board members and one who ended up resigning over where the funding went.
Newswatch spoke with Michelle Riser, the former board member who was in charge of fundraising. She’s the one who recently resigned saying she did not agree with Mater’s treatment plan or the way funds were being used. Specifically, she questioned whether all of the money was going to Mater as advertised.
We also spoke with Fallyn Wakefield, the founder of Al’s Angels, and Krista Moore, the vice president, in response.
“There were fundraisers specifically for Mater. All of that money is absolutely going towards Mater,” Moore said. “There were also things that were, money coming in, that was for the rescue such as grants. That money was going to the rescue for other animals. Mater is not the only animal that we have, obviously, so we have to care for all of the animals that we have taken in.”
Al’s Angels raised enough money to send Mater to Virginia Tech for a consult that resulted in an amputation surgery from a local vet back in October. Then, when it came time for physical therapy, the remaining members on the board said they made a decision to do home therapy rather than at Virginia Tech to save money. That’s where Riser disagreed saying Mater would get the best possible care at Virginia Tech.
“We were all excited. That was one reason why we decided to go ahead and do the surgery cheaper with a local vet, so we would have all this extra money so we could give him the physical therapy he needed, so then I was told that they canceled his physical therapy appointment after he came out of surgery, and I questioned it,” Riser said. “They said that they didn’t think that it was worth it that they could do physical therapy at home, and I said, ‘Well you’re not physical therapists, you’re not doctors.’ This was the whole point was to raise money for his surgery and his care and that’s when we had our argument, and I ended up resigning so that was our difference was over the fact that we needed to spend that money on Mater because we had collected the funds.”
Riser claims that Al’s Angels raised $8,000 all together rather than the $5,000 they put out on social media saying that the $3,000 leftover could pay for physical therapy at Virginia Tech. However, those with Al’s Angels say that in total, they did raise around $8,000 but that they only count the money they physically have which leaves out a GoFundMe account that hasn’t been drained yet and another fundraiser check they have not received which is what would put them at $8,000 total.
Both parties had a message for the public and community members who have donated
“My message to them right now is thank you,” Moore said. “Thank you very very much. Mater would not be where he is today without the donations. That is the main thing I would like to say. Number two: the money that you have donated to Mater is going to Mater. His care has not stopped because he had a leg removed. His care is going to be ongoing for the rest of his life.”
“I’m so sorry that this happened. It happened to me too. My heart was completely in this. I raised funds. I gave money. I fostered animals, and I was hurt too,” Riser said.
According to receipts and records provided by Al’s Angels, there is currently $1,288 left in the Mater fund. Excluding the GoFundMe and the check they have not received, donations and fundraisers brought in $6,366 for Mater. The costs they have subtracted from that total are as follows:
Vet bills for Mater: $3, 838
Other expenses: $500
Loss on fundraisers: $700
Pet sitter: $40