Dogs on the Lam: Rogue Worker Saves 8 Bound for Death

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March 29, 2011; Source: York Daily Record | Jamie Robin Collins is apparently someone who likes to take matters into her own hands. Last August, acting as a representative of the Tipton, Penn.-based nonprofit group, Dogs Deserve Better, Collins took it upon herself to save eight dogs from a Georgia shelter where they were scheduled to be killed.

Collins’ heart was in the right place, but unfortunately she has not been able to pay for the more than $3,500 worth of fees incurred on her rogue journey. Now Collins is facing theft charges according to court papers.

"To stick them in boarding facilities between Georgia and Pennsylvania, and assume we're going to pick up the bill without approval, is unacceptable," said Marie Belanger, the national area representative coordinator for Dogs Deserve Better.

Collins originally thought she’d be saving four dogs, but then another four needed saving so she made arrangements for them too. According to her lawyer all eight dogs have been safely adopted.

There is a metaphor somewhere in this story. Haven’t we all been stretched beyond capacity? And haven’t we all said ‘yes’ when we know our budgets couldn’t handle the extra load? If being too compassionate is a crime, well then, Collins is guilty. On the other hand – and I don’t know Collins personally – but her act has a certain heroic quality doesn’t it?

$3,500 doesn’t seem like a lot of money to raise to help with these charges does it?—Aaron Lester

  • LindaS

    For most local organizations in animal welfare today, actually $3500 would be a reach, I think. Yes, it’s important for groups to reach, and it is also important to be true to your mission. It is certainly possible to be too fiscally prudent and take insensitive positions. OTOH, there are lots of questions raised by this — did the GA shelter have a working relationship strong enough to be sure when they released animals to Collins, that she was authorized by the rescue? Rescues can be maneuvered into untenable positions – most of the power here was in the shelter’s hands. Collins may have been a convenient “pawn” to present a demand for assistance, that the Dogs Deserve Better org couldn’t reasonably reject.

    What if an animal welfare charity agreed to every request for shouldering an “extra load?” And what if it put the group under, and the group had to close its doors? I don’t know about DDB, but I do know that most small local groups I hear from are in real serious straits. Most of their donors and volunteers are strapped, middle-class or below, people with big hearts.

    Yes Collins and DDB and all such groups are, indeed, heroic. My concern is whether they can possibly sustain that heroism without more serious public concern and support.

    For my part, I volunteer hours a week, donate every month, advocate as consistently as I can. I hope everyone does so!

  • Angie

    Typical of Dogs Deserve Better. Taking in thousands of dollars in donations but not coming through when the money is needed. Shame on you Dogs Deserve Better. Bet this person gets a paycheck, but to hell with volunteers when they need help.