StubbyDog Shame

Recently, I had the pleasure of getting to know an incredible group of women, all of whom are devoted dog owners, pit bull advocates, and community volunteers just like myself.  We all come from different places in the country and different walks of life–attorneys, educators, non-profit directors, animal welfare workers, business managers and more, hailing from California, North Carolina, Illinois, Connecticut, Texas, Utah, and Florida.  And while our professional lives and geographical locations are quite varied, it’s likely our personal experiences, not to mention many of our views and beliefs are even more diverse.  Which is why I focus on what I have in common with all of these women, rather than what I do not. We are all registered therapy dog teams who not only devote our time to volunteering in our communities with our dogs, but who have each invested countless hours, days, months and even years educating ourselves and training and caring for our dogs in order to make this kind of volunteer work possible.

There is something else we also share in common:  This past July, we all were personally recruited into a program known as the “StubbyDog Superheroes.”  A program that promised to finally support, champion and unite the dog-oriented volunteer work that all of us care so deeply about.  Sadly, this program turned out to be a bit of a sham.

For those of you who do follow and support StubbyDog and are familiar with the recently launched “Superheroes” program, here are some key facts you deserve to know:

  • Of the 8 registered therapy dog teams selected for the inaugural “StubbyDog Superhero Squad,” ALL 8 have resigned from the program  (This includes myself and Peaches, who were the first to resign and who are the only names that have been removed from the archived superheroes pages.)
  • Of the 15 “Superheroes-in-Training” teams selected, at least 11 (maybe more) have also resigned from the program.
  • All of the teams who have resigned from this program have specifically requested that their donors money from the original Crowdrise voting campaigns be returned in good faith to their donors.  The Executive Director and Founder of StubbyDog, Landon Pollack, is refusing to honor or acknowledge these requests.
  • Laura Petrolino, the former VP of Operations and “face” of StubbyDog, resigned and walked away from the organization three weeks ago, leaving nearly all of the people she personally recruited into the program in the dark with little to no explanation.
  • Even though the primary members and the majority of the people in this program have resigned, StubbyDog still continues to leave our Crowdrise fundraising pages open and available for donations (In January of 2013, Crowdrise finally deleted these pages when a former Superhero Team Member filed a formal complaint with Crowdrise after an anonymous donor made a donation to her inactive donation page.)
  • Landon Pollack and Laura Petrolino  have been engaged in some sort of personal/professional conflict in relation to the management of StubbyDog for some time.  This conflict was in existence prior to the decision to launch the Superheroes program.  And now, after recruiting all of us into the program, asking us to fundraise and advocate for them, they have left us holding the bag in the middle of their dispute.  Approximately 35 of us in total.
  • We were all told that the funds we raised through our Crowdrise campaign would be used to directly support our work as advocates and therapy dog teams and would be used to contribute to rescue and welfare work in our communities–$11,416 in total.

When we were asked to apply for this program, and interviewed by Laura Petrolino over the phone, we were given the impression that this was a program with resources, with infrastructure, with professional expertise–all of which would be devoted to supporting our work as therapy dog teams.  We were all under the impression that StubbyDog was an established, successful non-profit backed by a noteworthy management and advisory team marked by depth and expertise, and perfectly positioned to successfully implement a program like this.  In reality, the Superheroes program was never anything more than a fun idea in someone’s head.  And rather than providing the infrastructure and support for us, the program was in fact soliciting our personal resources and expertise in an effort to make their idea real.  Apparently someone forgot to tell the person who thought up this fabulous Superheroes concept that ideas are only as good as their execution.

During the application process for this program, we were all told a variety of information and made to believe a number of different things.  For example, the description of the application process stated that our very detailed program applications would be reviewed by a “selection committee”–which many of us naturally assumed would be made up of any number of the fabulous advisors and liaisons listed on StubbyDog’s team page.  Each of us submitted our resumes, personal references, and pages of text and personal information on our applications, which as it turns out appear to have only been read by one person–Laura Petrolino, who is now in possession of piles of personal and professional information on each of us involved in the program–including pretty much everything any of us has ever said or done in relation to pit bull advocacy.

In the wake of Laura’s abrupt and unexplained departure, which was after she spent nearly three rushed and disorganized months using all of us and our dogs to further promote StubbyDog, the majority of our superheroes group was left waiting to hear what would happen next, with nearly a week having gone by before Landon Pollack decided to address the group.  At this point, after months of unbridled enthusiasm and focus on the Superheroes program, everyone had reached varying points of frustration over the lack of communication and leadership, and concern over what exactly was happening with our donors’ money–some of which came from children at schools where we visit and fellow rescue volunteers who would normally donate what little money they have to their own rescue groups.

After more than a week of no answers and no reassurance, Landon Pollack scheduled a conference call for Sunday, Nov 4 for people in the program to ask questions and express their concern over the future of the Superheroes program.  As expected, with 35 people in the program, only 9 or 10 of us were able to make the call.  Several others were out fulfilling their various rescue duties, which is typically the case on Sundays for most welfare volunteers.  Here are some of the highlights from that group phone call, none of which has been misconstrued or exaggerated in anyway:

  • Landon Pollack explained that he has no plan, no information, no details and no knowledge of the Superheroes program.  He confirmed that, as of right now, he does not have the information or resources necessary to support and sustain the program.
  • He confirmed that even though he was the one who came up with the idea of the Superhero program, that he was in no way involved in it and never had any knowledge of what was going on.
  • He did not have a complete roster of our names–no permanent, documented record of those of us recruited into the program (even though his registered non-profit collected donation money in our names).  He took attendance for the call by randomly calling out first names, or in some cases, the names of people’s dogs.
  • He claims to not have a documented list of our donors from Crowdrise.  He said that, should he agree to return the money, we would have to produce a list of the people and amounts.
  • He confirmed that nobody working for StubbyDog was or is getting paid, except for Laura-but also confirmed that Laura was not a salaried employee.
  • He confirmed that Michael Mountain is no longer involved with or associated with StubbyDog and has not been for some time, even though he is still listed as part of the management team.
  • He stated that all of the knowledge of the Superheroes program “resides with Laura” and that he is not someone capable of leading the program.
  • He requested that everyone email him privately/individually with as much information as possible and provide him with a “detailed inventory” of where the program is right now (In other words, he’d like us all to fill in the blanks for him so that he can then pretend to know something about the program.)
  • He indicated that he does not have knowledge of and cannot account for “every penny” of StubbyDog’s donations.
  • He described/confirmed that the Superheroes program was only a grassroots program in its developmental stages with no real infrastructure, even though nearly all of us were specifically told by Laura during interview calls that this was an organized program with resources available to support all of us in our therapy work and advocacy efforts.
  • He confirmed that Laura and he have  had a problematic working relationship since the beginning (our relationship was “a good and bad thing from inception”).
  • He said “short of there being  a legal requirement to return the money to donors” that he will not do so, and yet also said that if the entire group agrees that the program should not continue and that the money should go back to donors, that he would be willing to do that.
  • He told us that if anybody is willing to reach out to Laura to see if she wants the group back (as though we’re commodities to be traded), that would be great (even though she’s resigned and left us all hanging).
  • He said “I would love it if someone would step up” and be the new Laura for the group.
  • He confirmed there is no physical location, office, etc. for StubbyDog or for Ignite Ventures.  Landon confirmed he does not have a professional office or home base for his many professional business ventures that prevented him from maintaining proper oversight of StubbyDog.
  • In response to the group’s repeated concern over the status of their donors’ money, Landon said, “Hey, I’m just in this to help pit bulls, but clearly all you guys care about is the money.”  He said this to a group of women who have devoted their lives and every ounce of their free time to rescuing, fostering, re-homing, advocating for and working with pit bulls.  Do you find that upsetting?  Because I sure do.

After this highly informative and fascinating phone call, the majority of the Superheroes program–including the entire Super Squad (the program’s main focus) and nearly all of the Superheroes-in-Training formally resigned via email to Landon.  In these emails, we listed our various concerns and disappointment with the lack of professionalism and transparency demonstrated by StubbyDog as an organization, and specifically by Landon as its leader, and we requested that our donors’ money be returned to them in good faith and that our names and images be removed from all Superhero-related media.

Landon Pollack has neither acknowledged nor honored those requests, and is now insisting that the Superheroes program will continue–even though the very core of the program and the substance behind it–meaning all of us–have left.

Meanwhile, those of us who were asked to join the original Superheroes campaign have been left with no answers for our many family, friends, donors and supporters asking “what’s next?” for the Superheroes program.

Here are the real take-aways from this disaster of an experience:

  1. The “Superheroes” program does not and never did exist as it was advertised or promised to those of us who were personally asked to apply for the program and raise money for it.
  2. There are some serious questions that need answering surrounding the financial and organizational transparency of the registered non-profit known as StubbyDog.

Here are a number of questions that I would very much like answers to:

  1. Why is it that StubbyDog was founded by the head of a venture capital company and yet it appears that no substantial monetary capital was ever invested in the organization? Why are there no paid employees? Exactly what does StubbyDog spend its money on?  Where did our donors’ money go?
  2. Why is there a laundry list of “liaisons” and “advisers” on StubbyDog’s Team Page when, from what we can tell, only one or two of these people are directly involved with the organization?  Why are Jean Donaldson’s and Ian Dunbar’s names listed as members of “The Team” when they have both personally confirmed with us that they have never been part of the organization and never gave them permission to use their names?  How many other names listed on that team page are bogus?
  3. What exactly does StubbyDog do other than solicit for and collect quality content from volunteers and professionals outside of the organization and feature it on their site?  Does StubbyDog engage in any actual knowledge production of its own?  Other than some great work by one or two ridiculously devoted volunteers, who appear to have come and gone, what is StubbyDog other than a Facebook page and website with lots of followers?  Again, what do they collect money for?  And what do they do exactly?
  4. Why was Michael Mountain voted off of the board of directors early this year by Landon Pollack and his father, Cary Pollack, who appear to be the only remaining and actual “board members” of StubbyDog?
  5. What other substantive fundraising has StubbyDog ever engaged in other than the Superheroes Crowdrise campaign?  Because from what we can tell, we seem to be their first noteworthy fundraisers of any kind, which was not what we signed on for when we applied for the Superheroes program.
  6. Why was the Superheroes program launched in the midst of what is clearly a well-established and unresolved conflict between Landon Pollack and Laura Petrolino?  Why, as the founder and Executive Director of the organization, did Landon not have at least some modicum of oversight in relation to this program? And is it true that Landon really asked Laura to tell all of us in the program to “Friend” him on Facebook so that he could become a Facebook celebrity once he reached 5,000 Friends?  That seems not quite in keeping with the nature of a true professional and non-profit leader.
  7. What exactly were Laura’s professional qualifications when she was hired to lead StubbyDog?  I was under the impression that she was a seasoned and successful marketing and communications professional who ran her own consulting company, and who would be equipped to deal with whatever this conflict was responsibly.  However, since her departure from StubbyDog, Laura has left it up to all of us to untangle this disaster of a situation and get our donors’ money returned.  Why is it that an experienced professional person would recruit 35 people into a program of her design, get them to raise money and advocate for the organization, and then abandon them with an Executive Director who refuses to engage with them in a professional or ethical manner, and who can’t seem to answer a remedial question like, “How is StubbyDog planning on spending the money donated to our Superheroes campaigns?”
  8. Why does Landon Pollack continue to privately email people who dare to ask these questions and threaten them with “attorneys” and claims of “defamation”?
  9. More to the point, why does Landon Pollack–the self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur” and champion for pit bulls–feel that it is acceptable to disrespect and bully a group of hard-working, professional women who are out in their communities every day volunteering their time in the name of the dogs he claims to love so much?
  10. Landon, what specifically have you done for pit bulls and dog welfare? Other than come up with a name, a logo, register a domain name, and then ask everyone else to do the work for you?  Have you ever broken up a dog fight at 10am, and then gone to do a home visit for a potential adopter at noon?  Have you ever worked kennel duty at a rescue or shelter?  Have you ever studied animal behavior, dog training, or animal welfare law?  Have you ever gone into debt while getting a law degree and then taken on pro-bono work to help fight breed discriminatory legislation?  Have you ever sat in a school with struggling readers or on a hospital bed with a kid with cancer with your registered therapy dog?  Have you ever sat on the floor of an emergency hospital at 3am in the morning, ready to shell out every penny you have for your foster dog’s emergency surgery?  Have you ever pulled your car off the road to chase down a dog running down the side of the highway?  Have you ever prepared educational materials and presented your case to a hospital board on why they shouldn’t ban your therapy dog from visiting their patients simply because of its breed?  Have you ever had your fingers freeze while shoveling dog shit in the snow and the dark?  Maybe you have.  I honestly don’t know.  But I’d really love to.  Because those are all of the things that those of us in this program (and the thousands of others out there in the welfare community) have done and continue to do on a regular basis.  What exactly do you do and have you ever done for dogs and pit bulls?  I think this is a fair question for someone who is the head of StubbyDog and who is currently sitting on thousands of dollars of our donors’ money.

This problem could easily be solved by Landon simply acknowledging that the Superheroes program does not exist as it was promised and that the right thing to do is to return the donors’ money and close out the Crowdrise Superheroes campaign.  This would be a sign of some semblance of integrity on his part, and of some legitimacy on the part of StubbyDog as an organization.  And yet, he won’t do it.

Below you will find a small sampling representive of the work done by my colleagues and friends who have been and continue to be wronged by this situation.  These individuals and their dogs ARE pit bull advocacy . . . and I believe Landon Pollack has a lot to learn about real advocacy and animal welfare from all of them.

(Note: Please scroll to the bottom of this post to view the addendum regarding Laura Petrolino.)

Leah Brewer and Elle the Pit Bull, Teresa Harris and Frankie “I’m a lover not a fighter”, and Celene Wasserman with Skyler

Debra Guajardo and Lily

Barbara Boragine Telesmanic and Buddy

Amy Willey and Big Mama Jubilee

Jennifer Spears Bashford and Peaches the Wonder Pit

Callie Cozzolino and Rou

Jen Milner and Stevie the Wonder Dog

Jackie Gunby and Big Sal

Emily Douglas (me) and Peaches

ADDENDUM:  I will no doubt receive considerable grief over my mentions of Laura Petrolino in this post, particularly from her good friends and colleagues, which is certainly fair.  But in light of that, I do feel it necessary to clarify a few things since I could have said much more in this post about Laura’s role in this situation, and yet I chose not to.  The reality is that Laura has profoundly mishandled this situation.  I believe she knows this, but has been hesitant in coming clean about it and taking some responsibility for her role in what has happened to this program and all of us.

When I began communicating some concerns I had regarding Landon Pollack and StubbyDog’s transparency as a non-profit organization, including some major issues regarding their “Team Page,” Laura was honest enough to explain to me the problematic situation with which she was dealing.  I was supportive, patient and understanding.  More importantly, I fully supported her decision to leave the organization.  I frequently said to her multiple times over the last month, “Laura, just walk away and tell everyone the truth.  As long as you do that, everybody will support you.”  Unfortunately, she only took half that advice.  She walked away and then disappeared.  Leaving the majority of our group completely in the dark, many of whom didn’t even know anything was actually wrong to begin with.

Laura has had multiple opportunities to show some leadership and offer guidance for our group.  She has had opportunities to publicly communicate what was happening and rally community support to solve the problem.  But instead she left all of us hanging, and meanwhile seems to be working on a new blog and networking with other people, all the while without this current situation having ever been resolved.  Meanwhile, I’ve spent the last 3 weeks of my life dealing with this mess that she created, and trying to bring everybody in this program together to get our donors’ money returned and expose this situation that Landon has been intent on covering up for so long.

I have no doubt the toll this has all taken on Laura. I’m sure she’s in a very tough position. And not for one second do I mean her any ill will.  But this was a problem that existed between her and Landon and with StubbyDog’s internal management, and up until this July, it had little to no impact on other people’s lives. She willingly decided to launch this program and drag all of us into this knowing how bad things were and how bad they could get.

None of us should have been pulled into the middle of this, but were anyway. She could have made things right by openly communicating with all us and publicly explaining the situation. That is what a mature, professional, responsible person would have done, regardless of how complicated the situation. But she has not done that.  Her inability to recognize what she has put me and several other people through over the last month and the impact that this has had on our lives and our work is an impossible pill to swallow.

About emily douglas

Emily Douglas authors The Unexamined Dog blog and writes regularly about "pit bull" advocacy, humane education and the parallels between the education field and the dog world. Emily and her dog, Peaches volunteer as a registered therapy dog team in the Southeast Michigan area, where their visits are affectionately known as Peach Therapy.
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17 Responses to StubbyDog Shame

  1. Toni Kapudija says:

    I am so sorry that you have had to deal with someone without integrity. I know it can be very frustrating. The most frustrating part is, they don’t know what integrity is because they don’t have it. They will never understand what they have done. They look at it as no big deal.

    God Bless you for the work you and the other women in your group do with these dogs.

  2. THANK you for putting this information out there. I will just say NONE of it is surprising to me, in fact I just recently had come across the Superheroes campaign and saw all the money they were collecting and knew right away that something was wrong. I was one of those “experts” recruited early on (this was several years ago) in StubbyDog’s formation and I knew back then what has only proven increasingly true with time: the list of people “involved” with StubbyDog are just a collection of names, and StubbyDog is JUST a website/PR machine for Pit Bulls using material generated by OTHER people/organizations. I’m so glad I got away from this organization when I did, as I would never want my name or my organization associated with what is seeming more and more fraudulent as time goes on.

  3. Ashlee Bentley says:

    Had to read it three times to encompass te depth of this. Incredibly disappointed in their actions.

  4. Garland says:

    Thank you for standing up for what is right. I help run a bully breed rescue in ALabama and we are in the beginning stages of taking down some other rescues and shelters for unethical practices, and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been accused of not caring about the dogs (when the reality is they are living in filth, stacked in crates) and threatened to be sued, and being defamed myself to try and discredit the information I am bringing forward. I’ve helped shut down two groups before, and while I may be the only one willing to go public (everyone else is scared to take the heat), I know that letting another dog get in the hands is an injustice to those dogs and this breed. From one whistle blower to another, thank you for not being afraid to take the heat.

  5. Kate Neal says:

    I love you and the Peach and you know this. I love the pitties, and these other women and their beautiful dogs and their generous work also deserve to be treated with respect. Get a lawyer, not for just you and the Peach, not for just the other dogs and their companions but for all of the supporters who donated money!

  6. Emily, thank you for having the strength it took to speak out about this “Goliath”. It has been so heartbreaking and sad to watch such a seemingly positive organization (as I was led to believe) crumble before our very eyes. I was and continue to be so proud to be a part of such a large group of amazing individuals willing to fight for the true underdog.

  7. merielread says:

    Hi Emily and followers. As a pittie owner and someone who has followed StubbyDog closely over the years, and knows Laura Petrolino on both a close personal and professional level, I wanted to shed a little light if you’ll allow me to on Laura’s position through this mess. First of all let me say how much I applaud you and other therapy dog and pit bull advocates for the work you do. I truly appreciate all you for these dogs, and for the lives that they touch (mine included).

    I first met Laura about 4 years ago, at a dog park. We became friends after we realized that our dogs had developed quite the obsession with each other and figured they might be on to something in bringing us together. I grew to know Laura both on a personal and professional level (our companies often worked on collaborative projects), and appreciate the fact that both from a personal and professional perspective, I could always count on her level of integrity in any situation. I also watched as she became involved in StubbyDog and witnessed first hand her passion and dedication to this cause in which she truly believed.

    For several years, Laura worked 40+ (emphasis on the “+”) hours per week to build this organization, with minimal (GREAT emphasis on the “minimal”) financial compensation. She did so as she was lead to believe in what many of you were also lead to believe: that she was an integral part of something bigger than herself, something worth sacrificing time and financial stability for.

    I know that you’ve been hurt by the fact that you and others have been “left in the dark” so to speak regarding the turmoil that was in the organization. I will say with 100% conviction that Laura’s abrupt and quiet exit from the organization was not something she chose, but something she had to do for fear of Landon and for her own personal sanity. I’ve watched her fight tooth and nail behind the scenes for the last several months to try and salvage the Super Heroes program and StubbyDog; unfortunately it became more and more clear to her as she was doing so the extent to which SHE had been kept in the dark from Landon’s true intentions. Please know that her silence in the wake of her exit was not for lack of wanting to speak out, but more for fear of legal repercussions from Landon.

    I understand how beyond frustrating it must be to invest your time with an organization like this, only to have it be a waste of your time, resources, and emotional energy. You have every right to be angry at the way things were handled. I don’t think it’s fair however to imply that Laura Petrolino is without integrity. While you may not see what she’s gone through fighting on behalf of the organization and all of you, or the emotional toll it’s taken on her to realize that after all she’s put in, her hands were tied and she had to walk away, I have. So please just try and keep this in mind. If Laura didn’t have integrity or truly care about the fate of the organization or the programs she helped to build, she could have (and probably should have) walked away a long time ago and saved herself countless of unpaid hours, emotional stress, and now being dragged through the mud by both Landon and others who feel the need to blame someone but maybe don’t have the full picture.

    Again, thank you for the work you do. I hope you’ll find great success in your outreach and advocacy efforts, and hope only the best for you and the projects you take on.

    • Hi Merielread-
      I just wanted to say thank you for the sincere and thoughtful comment. Your tact and diplomacy says a great deal about the quality of Laura’s friends, and obviously her as well for keeping such great company. Please understand that I do not believe Laura to be a bad or malicious person, nor do I think she deliberately caused this situation. During the few months that I have interacted with her and with StubbyDog, her devotion to the work has been quite clear and undeniable.

      However, Laura has profoundly mishandled this situation, and she has yet to take ownership of that. After I began expressing concern to her over the nature of StubbyDog’s founder and Executive Director, as well as the legitimacy of their “Team Page”, Laura confided in me and explained the situation that she was in. I was supportive, understanding, and patient. I also must have told her no fewer than 50 times over the last month, “Laura, just walk away and tell everyone the truth. As long as you do that, we’ll all support you.” She did finally walk away, but she did not tell the truth. She decided to pick and choose a handful of people to tell her version of the situation to, and then left everybody else in the program just hanging with no explanation or guidance. And instead of openly communicating with all of us, bringing us all together and leading us as a team to solve this problem, she just walked away and focused on starting a new blog and networking with other contacts. Meanwhile, I’ve spent the last 3 weeks of my life dealing with this mess that she created, and trying to bring everybody in this program together to get our donors’ money returned and expose this situation that Landon has been intent on covering up for so long.

      I have no doubt the toll this has all taken on Laura. I’m sure she’s in a very tough position. But this was a problem that existed between her and Landon and with StubbyDog’s internal management, and up until this July, it had little to no impact on other people’s lives. She willingly decided to launch this program and drag all of us into this knowing how bad things were and how bad they could get. We should never have been pulled into the middle of this, but were anyway. She could have made things right by openly communicating with all us and publicly explaining the situation. That is what a mature, professional, responsible person would have done. But she has not done that. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of grief from lots of people for my representation of Laura in this situation. And everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion and I applaud them wanting to defend and support a friend. But honestly, I was kind to Laura in this post. I could have said a great deal more, and did not. Her inability to recognize what she has put me and several other people through over the last month and the impact that this has had on our lives and our work is inexcusable.

      I have Laura the benefit of the doubt for a very long time. But I just cannot do that anymore after watching what she has done, or failed to do, in this situation. I hope you understand.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment and to support your friend,
      Emily

    • I’ve met Laura, I’ve worked with her during this Superheroes program, I mean her no ill will. I am however, perplexed how her friends posting in her defense seem to know more about this situation that she couldn’t discuss, than those of us who were actually in the program. Not speaking for my fellow ex-superheroes, but the mere fact that you all know far more than we do really only further shows the unprofessional way in which this was handled. If legal issues were actually a concern than how do you know do so much? We’re being threatened too, but we still speak to each other, and help each other through this difficult and humiliating experience. Sorry, but your kind words do nothing but strengthen my opinion on the situation.

  8. sandra phillips says:

    I personally do I personally don’t know these ladies but I share Facebook pages with some of them. I know how hard they work I’ I’m outraged

  9. reedu says:

    I had a hunch that StubbyDog was up to no good. I applied to do copywriting/marketing work in 2010 for them, and if my memory serves me well, I believe I interviewed via telephone with Laura. I didn’t get the paid gig they were offering, but then Landon had the nerve to contact me and ask me to do it pro-bono. He was relentless, too. I eventually had to de-friend him on Facebook. As we all know, the rescue community is small, and in NYC, even smaller. I was eventually alerted to some of Landon’s “best practices” by a friend and felt grateful I never got involved. I had a feeling that a story like this one would emerge some day. I just didn’t know when.

    Sorry you and all those women got snubbed by the douches at StubbyDog. Shame on them. I hope you get your donors’ money back. Keep up the good fight and thanks for writing this piece.

  10. Lucy's Mom says:

    It was shocking and very upsetting to read about the unfortunate state of StubbyDog. As a longtime supporter, donor and friend of a very dedicated volunteer, my disappointment is not with those who have worked from their hearts and souls totally dedicated to the mission of StubbyDog. As a former Executive Director of a fledging non-profit organization, I know what it is like to work for people who believe in a cause but are more invested in enhancing their own egos thru bullying and power plays. These kind of people are expert at hiding details from those who are responsible for day to day operations and from those who are working in the trenches honestly and diligently. It is unfair to judge and/or condemn Laura without having knowledge not only of the facts, but of the traumatizing effect that working in such an environment may have had on her. In all of my dealings with Laura, what was always clear was her dedication, honesty and love for StubbyDog and its mission. It is too soon to know what the final outcome of this situation will be. But I don’t believe for one second that Laura has absolved herself of any responsibility…probably quite the opposite. She has the right to deal with this however she needs to. She deserves the gratitude of the pit bull community not condemnation for her silence.

  11. merielread says:

    Thanks Emily for letting me chime in. Lucy’s Mom is right though, unfortunately. You are not getting the full picture. Often when people are inexplicably silent, it is not of their will. I’m sure Laura would love nothing better than to be able to fully explain herself with all that’s being said and speculated (I know I sure would if I were in her position), but unfortunately she is not able to for legal reasons. This makes the whole situation even more heart wrenching for her. I can also tell you that there is quite a lot more to her fight for the organization than probably anyone on the public side has seen or will be able to see. I know she feels terrible about the fact that, after the relationships she built with you and your amazing dogs and all the collaboration and efforts you all put in, things ended up as they did. But I can assure you she did not intentionally or even implicitly lead you or other superheroes or donors to this project with the knowledge that it would implode; on the contrary, she was being lead to believe until basically the point of her exit that she was in the process of gaining more control over the organization. In reality, she was as in the dark to the true intentions of Landon as you all were.

    I hope this has at least been helpful in shedding some light on the way things went down, at least as they pertain to Laura. It really is unfortunate the level to which one person’s ego and personal issues can affect so many, and disrupt your efforts to do all the good you do. Hopefully if any good is to come of this, it can be a good learning experience for all those involved. And, like you all have to do so often in your animal advocacy efforts, it’s a good opportunity to take something negative and use it to fuel some positive efforts.

  12. Vicki says:

    I am not surprised. I am the Executive Director of Pets on Wheels. A former volunteer wrote an article bashing our therapy pet organization by saying we discriminate against pits. That’s far from the truth. This volunteer was the problem, not her pit. We wrote an article to defend our position.
    This was over a week ago and the article still hasn’t been posted. They say the editiorial staff is reviewing it. That’s funny because no one ever contacted me to see if the original article had any truth behind it.

  13. Steph Mot says:

    I am also not surprised. After the incident with the article mentioned by Vicki above, and in submitting our own article, I have been looking closer at StubbyDog and came upon the SuperHeroes page. Being in rescue for my entire life, and seeing first hand all the good with the bad, I immediately questioned where all that money was going. That is a LOT of money to be so unclear about what it is for. This just confirms my sense that something was not right. This is just so sad. It makes me so angry to see people claiming to do something good, speak out for such a maligned “breed” of dog, and collect well-meaning people’s money who SUPPORT advocacy for these dogs…and use it for their own greed. I do not know these people. I don’t know Laura or the mess she is entangled in, so I cannot speak to that, only to generalities. Landon sounds like a real piece of…work. But, sadly there is so much of this around. It seems that the more these issues surrounding our beloved dogs come to light, the more people come out of the woodwork to take advantage of the situation. We are supposed to be fighting FOR the DOGS, but humans always seem to get in the way of that, and I will never understand why. I sent StubbyDog a message yesterday, questioning again why our article is being ignored. I poured a lot of time, and a lot of myself into that article. I wanted to be heard, and I wanted to know. Why I as a handler of a Therapy Dog (who is a mutt also known as a pit bull) and as someone who devotes 24/7 to rescue and advocacy and currently has 4 pit bull type dogs in her house (my own and fosters), and works with a ton of others…is not also worthy of being heard? I am sorely disappointed in StubbyDog.

  14. Nina Bargiel says:

    I was on the StubbyDog editorial board, but have no been a part of the organization for the past couple of years. I’m saddened to see that this is happening. If the whole point of StubbyDog is to rehab the image of the pit bull terrier, this isn’t exactly helping. Not to mention to NOT support the people who are on the front lines, doing the actual work, is unconscionable.

  15. suzyallman says:

    Hi: I read this with great interest; it’s such a strange story. You know, because StubbyDog is listed as a non-profit, you can always write for a Form 990 to see their financial data, which they are required by law to disclose. It’s free, and it might just answer some lingering questions — or at least fill in the blanks a little. Just request their Form 990 from the IRS:
    Commissioner of Internal Revenue
    Attn: Freedom of Information Reading Room
    1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20224
    (it might be possible to request it online, without having to mail away).

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