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And the next installment – Pepsi mess

  • It’s no secret that I have Lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack itself. The fun part of lupus is it flares during times of extreme stress.

    Guess who woke up this morning running a fever and sick? Me! Me!

    Luck Fupus.

    Anyway, I am in severe hibernation mode so rather than get myself even more stressed by trying to refute anything Animals For Autism says, I’ll let them refute themselves. It just seems easier that way. Post from Animals for Autism Facebook page today below. Letter to the Attorney General below that. We can make a game of it! Post any inconsistencies you find in the comments.

    Greetings to everyone, and thank you for the welcome back after our 5+ month wait for internet installation. Thank you also for understanding my being away during the holiday season. There is a great deal I would like to share with everyone, so I’ll get right to it. This page was unavailable for a few days as I awaited further directions from my grant administrator. I am pleased to be able to restore the page for your use in the exchange of accurate information and for my use to inform you of important happenings, progress and details about the animals in training. First of all, absolutely no grant funds are missing, have disappeared or been misappropriated. In fact, program expenses to date exceed the grant revenues received, and I have paid many expenses out of pocket. The funds are being used for the purposes stated in the grant agreement, and all expeditures are monitored and reviewed by the grant admninistrator. Although the line items on the project budget have changed from my original program proposal, the result remains the same. The grant is being used for the placement of service animals with eligible families who applied and elected to participate. The grant status has always been and remains in good standing, and I am moving forward accordingly. Now, I would like to clarify some critical misinformation being shared. First of all, please know that I can empathize with you. I understand how confused some of you must feel, as I am extremely confused, as well, and I want to clear up concerns that have been raised. I would like to remind everyone again that I applied for this grant as an individual – NOT as an organization, and I am required to remain an individual throughout the entire program grant period. As such, all participants are being served by me – not by an organization. I care deeply about the safety and quality of life of those with autism and other disabilities, and my desire to share the wonderful difference animals can have drove me to apply for this grant for the benefit of families who indicated a need for and a desire to obtain a service animal. However, I am only human and cannot respond immediately to every question I receive. The dynamics have changed from months ago when the pups were very young and learning basic skills. This means even longer training hours for me. Regarding the photos of the animals, all pictures, including those in the above montage, were taken in 2011, and they are photos of the actual animals who entered and continue to be trained in the Pepsi Refresh Grant program. The most recent pictures posted are also of the actual animals, and they are not random dogs. However, because the pups were not individually kenneled when the photos were taken, so I hesitate to say with 100% certainty who is who. I know everyone would like a picture of and information about their individual dog. To fulfill the request, one animal will be featured in detail each week on this page until everyone has had their time in the spotlight. I will also take time each week to answer general questions submitted via email. If you have urgent concerns, please call to let me know a question has been sent, and I will make every effort to reply the same day. All Q & A topics will be addressed on this page to make certain everyone receives the same information. I hope this information has been helpful in alleviating any concerns you may have. Thank you again for your understanding.



    {{Note – every email that she claims is contact, was her reply email to us AFTER we emailed HER}}


    RE: 2011-CONSC-00312808

    Dear Ms. Boyle,

    I am writing in response to the inquiry received on behalf of Mr. James Creighton regarding Animals for Autism. This actually involves two separate programs, and I will explain. After more than 25 years training dozens of service animals for multiple disabilities, show and other specialties as a courtesy to friends, family and others, and after having a child with autism who was nearly lost to wandering in a port in Mexico, Animals for Autism was conceived. It is being organized as a 501(c)3, and has received Tax ill # 45-2454885. We also have a parent member ofour board.

    Mr. and Mrs. Creighton applied to that program, and on April 18, 2011, their daughter was matched with a puppy, and a training program commenced. They were enrolled in a program with training fees of $8,400, with a 15% military discount applied for final training fees in the amount of $7,140, of which $2250 was donated by the Creightons in $750 installments in April, May and June, 2011, and training fees were paid as they were incurred. Other families were also enrolled prior to the development of the Pepsi grant opportunity, which is explained in more detail below.

    In May, I applied, as an individual to the Pepsi Refresh Program for a grant to place animals free of charge with other families across the United States. Mr. and Mrs. Creighton, along with over one thousand other people, voted for us during the voting period in May. In June, I learned that the idea finished in the top 10 and was eligible for possible funding. Throughout the month of June, I completed due diligence with Global Giving, and was informed that funding would be forthcoming in July. During this time, the Creighton family asked if their account balance might be considered for grant funding from the Pepsi program, and it was allowed, thus, their balance was to be covered by the grant funding I received as an individual. The grant was for $50,000, to be divided among ten (l0) families across the United States.

    When originally applied for, I asked that the grant cover training fees only, as our puppies were with volunteer puppy-raisers. However, during the moderation phase of the grant finalization process, I was told by Global Giving that the preferred method of distribution was in the form of a debit card that could be used “at places like Lowe’s.” We had formerly used donated space for the training ofpuppies, however, we were presented with the opportunity to purchase a training facility and did so – after the grant was applied for, but prior to the distribution. I agreed to change the request to cover kennel needs, supplies, runs, etc., and the funds were then approved. In exchange, I continue to train the animals as originally proposed.

    As you might imagine, the work load required is immense, and I have only intermittent internet access at this time. However, I made this clear on the social network page for our families, and I encouraged phone calls as the best method by which to contact me during this time. In addition, a personal letter from the Creighton puppy was sent to the child to help ease the anxiety and anticipation of eventually welcoming a new member into their home. I was also told a package would be sent to the puppy containing one o f the child’s personal items so the animal could become familiar with the scent oftbe child. This never arrived.

    On August 3,2011, I received an email requesting a visit from the family. On August 5, I replied that, as they knew, we were quite constrained by time, but would welcome a visit as soon as possible. Then on August 12, I received notification that the family was withdrawing from the program due to a lack of compatibility with the particular breed of animal we were training. In the mean time, emails and phone calls began arriving from other families indicating they had been contacted by Mrs. Creighton, informing us thatourprogram was a “scam,” and that “nopuppies existed,” despite thefact that every family received a picture oftheir puppy at the time the matches were made.

    After a flurry of on the social networking sight, I finally received a personal phone call from Mr. Creighton, on 2011, in which he suggested he receive a refund and that the puppy be placed with an alternate family. Unfortunately, that cannot be done, as their puppy was trained to assist in the removal of clothing ~ something most parents of autistic children certainly do not want, as it can be quite difficult to convince them to remaindressed to begin with. He then suggested un-training the animal. Although this is possible, it is a process which would incur even more training costs. As such, the animal will be placed in a pet home. Other breeds are sometimes used, especially when there is a conflict for reasons of allergy, incompatibility or in other various other instances. However, to do that, we need to be made aware of the conflict. When I asked Mr. Creighton why we had not be contacted regarding the problem, he replied that his wife is not comfortable talking on the phone, and that they have already acquired a new animal that they will take for training locally, and we wish them the best.

    As for the claim of “little contact,” I have documented communications throughout April and May, as well as continued contact on June 25, when they requested to be a part of the grant program, June 30, July 1, 2, July 7, July 11, July 14 and July 19 ~ all to the August 3 request for a visit. Normally, visits are not a part of the program, however, we were more than willing to allow it as soon as time allowed. Ultimately, what started as an effort to provide an invaluable service to many has become somewhat

    marred, however, work is moving forward as promised to Pepsi.

    Had I been aware of a possible conflict between the child and the breed being trained, it would have been suggested that a different breed be used. Unfortunately, we were not given that information or opportunity, and the fees received were applied as the animal, “Bella,” was trained and are unrecoverable. I have been in contact with Pepsi Corporate, Global Giving and Good Corps – all of whom are a part of the program administration to some and it is my utmost desire that everyone be treated fairly and that we fulfill our obligations under the Refresh Program. However, there are other families who also switched from one program to the other, and all ofthem, including the Creightons, were told that we could not issue refunds for amounts paid prior to enrolling in the grant program, and all ofthe interested families agreed.

    I am a member of American Kennel Club, and the Regional Coordinator for the Alaskan Klee Kai National Rescue, and I attached copies of the animals’ birth/registration documents as well as copies of the communications betweenmyself .endrhe Creighton DNA documents and other. substantiating records are available but will take time to gather and copy if needed. One of our daughter’s physicians, Dr. Manisha Punwani, has even asked us (my and me) to address residents at the SID School of Medicine to talk about our service animals and the incredible differences they make in children and adults with autism.

    Should you need further information, or if you have advice about how to move forward, please feel free to contact me at (number removed).

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Elyse January 6, 2012, 7:05 pm

    Oh my gosh! This is just wrong. What is wrong with these people?? Scamming, lying, manipulation, and no heart. I am so sorry you’ve gone through hell.

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