SPRINGFIELD – If you’re approached in a parking lot of a shopping area by two women who say they are raising money for Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society
, think twice before you add money to the coffee cup they extend. Leslie Harris, the organization’s executive director, said they are not helping Dakin.
Harris explained to Reminder Publications
that over the past month, the Springfield and Leverett-based animal welfare organization has received a dozen or more reports of the activities of the two unknown women who have been asking for money in Springfield, Holyoke, West Springfield and Westfield. She added the police in those communities have been notified.
“I fear we will never see a dime of the money and they are using it for their own purposes,” Harris said.
A statement released by Dakin noted, “The solicitors are described as women, usually two working together, with small dogs on leashes. They are collecting money in coffee cups, and they tend to approach people as they are entering or leaving their vehicles. Unlike most legitimate solicitors, they don’t collect at or near the doors of these establishments, and they are known to become rude and defensive when their legitimacy has been questioned. Despite their claims to be collecting funds on Dakin’s behalf, we have seen no evidence of this.”
Harris said of the scam, “This is the first time to our knowledge.”
Harris added there is plenty of people who undertake “grassroots” efforts to support Dakin ranging from children raising funds through a lemonade stand to office workers staging a drive for pet food. She suggested that people who are planning such efforts should contact Dakin and let the staff know what they are planning to do.
The statement also read, “For anyone who is planning to collect funds or items to benefit Dakin, we ask that you contact us first at 781-4000 ext. 136. We will ask you to fill out a simple form that will officially register your fundraising effort and allow us to stay apprised of your efforts on our behalf, for which we thank you.”
Harris asked if people are approached by the two women to call Dakin at 781-4000 ext. 122.