INDIANAPOLIS - The Humane Society of Indianapolis has a warning out for homeowners to be careful who you donate to.
An organization that calls itself the “Battered Animals Agency” is going door-to-door asking for donations, and that has some raising red flags.
The organization hands out slips of paper that say they are not running a shelter.
“We only strive to keep pets in their home,” read the paper. “We are also trying to work with prisons in an effort to get more offenders approved to take in a dog or cat. Please give to our representative today.”
The organization has a website, but its phone number and email address are not currently working, Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney reported.
The website also claims it is setting up an account at the Eastside Animal Hospital, but a veterinarian with the hospital told RTV6 that is not accurate.
The Battered Animals Agency does not appear to be a 501(c)(3).
“It is not necessarily a red flag if a nonprofit is not registered as a 501(c)(3), however the designation does give a level of legitimacy to the organization and donors have the ability to write off the contribution,” Erin Reece, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s office, wrote in an email to RTV6. “It is a red flag if you cannot reach a nonprofit you plan on donating to or have already made a donation to.”
The Humane Society said it has not been able to verify the Battered Animals Agency is helping animals directly.
“We’ve been getting a lot of calls and emails asking if this is legit or not,” said Christine Jeschke, Chief Operating Office for the Humane Society of Indianapolis. “I would not give money to someone going door-to-door asking for it. I would ask for the public to research all the charities for Indianapolis.”
The Humane Society said it does not go door-to-door asking for money.
“I’m not aware of any of our partners that go door-to-door, and if they did I’d think they’d have paperwork, correct ID, legitimate paperwork and websites,” Jeschke said.
The Call 6 Investigators were unable to reach anyone with the Battered Animals Agency for a response.
“Effective, efficient nonprofits usually have sufficient and stable infrastructure in place and are transparent about things such as their location, specifically how contributions are used, board of directors, impact, etc.,” wrote Adriene Davis Kalugyer, public affairs manager for the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “If donors want to support efforts to help animals, the elderly, or efforts to pair or keep animals with elderly owners, there are many well-established, effective and transparent organizations already in existence that serve such purposes, so donors might be better assured that their gifts will be well-used if they choose to support such organizations instead.”
For tips on charitable giving, visit the state attorney general's website.