Fish4Dogs has helped a rescue charity that was fleeced of its finances by a bogus ‘volunteer’ who was subsequently jailed for six years.
K9 Crusaders, based near Truro, in Cornwall, had between £88,000 and £200,000 stolen from its funds by a career criminal. The charity’s founder, Sue Smith, appeared on Channel 5’s ‘Do The Right Thing’ to tell her story and warn other charities of the dangers.
She was moved to tears during the live show, which was aired on Sunday (January 6), when it was revealed how kind-hearted businesses had chipped in to help her charity recover. They donated two sheds, packed with dog food including a selection of dry food, treats and canned wet food.
During the consumer show, fronted by Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, Sue told how she was befriended on an online dogs’forum by the trickster, who claimed to be a qualified accountant and offered to help her run the charity’s finances.
Sue was particularly vulnerable at the time. Her husband, Peter, with whom she had founded K9 Crusaders in 2002, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and dementia. Following his death, she found the strength to continue working, discovered the financial irregularities and reported them to the police.
In 2015, the fraudster was found guilty of 29 counts of theft totalling more than £500,000 from a number of organisations – but K9 Crusaders was unable to recover a single penny.
The charity with its mission to ‘rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome needy dogs’ has cared for more than 3,000 animals over the years.
Programme makers Goowoo Media contacted Fish4Dogs for help. Executive producer Richard Woolfe said: “The Do The Right Thing team cannot thank Fish4Dogs enough. It really is very kind indeed and will be much appreciated by K9 Crusaders.”
Sue, who appeared on the programme with her German shepherd rescue dog, Tara, had the surprise donation revealed to her by guest Faye Tozer.
Faye, formerly of pop group Steps, told her: “What an inspirational woman you are. To go what you have gone through and still be standing.”