Just be warned this is one of those stories that creates more questions than it does answers…
Heart Bandits is the national Eskimo rescue. Heart Bandits is also the rescue that stole two of my dogs Huka and Watsi.
Watsi is prounced Watch-ee it means Watcher, protector, defender, he guards his little brother Huka with his life & soul, they are a bonded pair & after everything that they’ve been through in thier short lives the last thing they need is to have the other ripped away from them Huka is the little guy in the back, his name in Lakota means “I am not afraid” but he is sometimes very afraid so he hides behind his big brother Watsi (Watchee) When we got Huka he was at death’s door, I had to give him IV fluids & fluids under his skin & give him regular baths to bring his body temp down & Watsi NEVER left his side, I made the mistake of closing the bathroom door once & he sat outside the door screaming & had real tears coming out of his eyes, not once did he leave his side, even at feeding time he would grab a mouthful of food & bring it back to Huka;s side & he wouldn’t even leave long enough to get water so I had to bring it to him. All of these guys have such incredible little souls but those two are stand outs. No I will not separate them.
So as you may have guessed I don’t have much love loss for them at all.
Now as some of you know I actually started working with them again because of a man there named Michael Thurber, he ended up taking Reynolds the Kennewick Eskimo that was returned to me, and then it was found out that he had issues with his eyes. So he then started a fundraiser which netted $3585. Reynolds ended up going to one of the best homes he could possibly have gotten and I thought everything was fine. Well come to find out it wasn’t fine. The new owners got stuck with the entire bill for 3300.00 for the doctors.
So what happened to the money?
Now at first when I heard vague rumors, I didn’t believe them and I came straight to Michael’s defense, he could do nothing wrong in my eyes. Then I found out who it was about and what it was about. So you know me then I have to start investigating, it turns out that Michael Thurber has had 4 different fundraising events for dogs just in the past few months totaling $6346. I myself donated 150.00 to Reynolds care. I know the foster home that he went to and I know they’re not going to make up anything, and right now the husband is very ill and I don’t think that $3300 on your credit card is a good thing. I don’t really think they can afford that right now. So again where did the money go? What about this other money? I started asking questions. All I got was more confused.
Perhaps the most confusing part was the Heart Bandits reaction to the situation. Instead of doing damage control basically what they did is throw Mr. Thurber under the bus saying that he is not a representative and he is not authorized take money. There was an earlier posting that said he is no longer able to take money but I don’t know where that went.
I started doing screenshots and what’s happening is on the Heart Bandit’s Facebook page because they are starting to erase all of the postings have anything to do with him or dogs what they’re saying is that he’s not the national rescue director but there’s many posts in there where they’re telling people to refer to him because he is:
You guessed it! The national rescue director. WTH?
So that gets me to thinking some more and that’s always dangerous, maybe just for me but it’s still dangerous. I start investigating a little bit more and I find out that their main server there IP domain is registered to him with a California address.
During the fundraising for Reynolds there were several posts that if you didn’t use PayPal you could send a check to an address in California presumably Heart Bandit’s address so the fundraiser showed that there was this amount of money that was raised, plus there were checks that were being sent so instead of Heart Bandit saying to the foster/adoptive parents “Hey we got this much checks we’re going to send them to you right away” all they’re doing is blaming and trying to play hot potato with with who is the national rescue director.
So instead of simply saying there was an issue with accounting & that they were working quietly to fix the problem, taking the foster parents to the side (yes there is more then 1 set of foster parents who did not get reimbursed) & trying to work things out. They turned this into a bash Michael campaign. A virtual “It wasn’t me” fest.
Worse yet: whether it is true or not remains to be seen but the folks from Facebook were telling another rescuer that he was talking trash about them: The problem with that is the rescuer in question: Talking bad about her or bad mouthing her is like trash talking the Pope! No one with 1/2 a brain cell would believe anything bad about her.
Many many many of the people involved in Heart Bandits are incredible caring honest people, my issue is with the Seattle & California chapters
So in essence we have no answers, there is no clue where the money went, & no one is taking accountablilty for anything yet. For all we know they may have gotten the money, & only God (& them) knows how much they took in via checks & credit card payments.
I recently had a volunteer steal from me, instead of saying oh it was all her fault cause she was a bad bad lady, I told the folks who were impacted, let them know what happened, I got everyone’s items to them & reimbursed the other people ~myself~ no problem, it was my fault for trusting her & I made it right with the people who were affected. That is just good business. Oddly enough it also seemed to have foster a greater climate of trust with those people which I am eternally grateful for.
So when is Heart Bandits going to cough up the Foster’s monies? I don’t know. Where did all the other money go? They are not saying. What they are saying is just enough to infer that Michael is a thief without actually saying it. I have seen the way they operate, I know how sneaky & shady they are.
Yes Michael did admit to me that he helped those people steal my dogs because he didn’t know the whole story… Kind of ironic that those same lying women are now turning on him, but very predictable. The only comfort I can take in all of this is he did say they are well cared for, & in my heart I know that they would never abuse a dog, & at least now I know what happened to them: Oh but getting back to that & this, kind of funny that he tells me about Huka & Watsi & a week later he is now “no longer allowed to receive funds for HB”
At this point I’d say if you are going to donate to Heart Bandits ONLY donate to that specific Chapter/Rescue so that they can continue their good works & I would also venture to say that before you go on a bashing campaign against Mr Thurber that you DEMAND some answers & facts for yourself. I have this bad feeling in my stomach about this whole thing & I can promise you it is not what it seems to be. I will keep you updated if I learn any new true facts, at this point is is just a bunch of fingers pointing.
I do have a suggestion for HB though. I had the world’s best volunteer named Angel Merritt, when I was having the hardest time while HB, Sherry Meyers (Wa HB Chapter) & Teri Cole were all going on the attack at me, honestly SHE should’ve been running my rescue, she is now down at the Ca HB, if they have a lick of sense they will hand everything over to her, let her straighten it out & streamline it. She is the one who wrote my adoption application & contract that we still use to this day. She also has a heart & doesn’t get into the politics.