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Paw Tipsters in danger of closing

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Paw Tipsters president Yvonne Russell, with volunteer Joel and rescue dog Gary, seeks donations.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Paw Tipsters president Yvonne Russell, with volunteer Joel and rescue dog Gary, seeks donations. Photo Store

ITS mandate is to save abused animals, but now Paw Tipsters itself needs some help.

The non-profit organization, operating since July 2012 to combat animal abuse in partnership with Winnipeg Crime Stoppers, has seen such a steep decline in its donations its future is in jeopardy.

Unless a sponsor or more donors come forward in the next month, president Yvonne Russell said she will have to close Paw Tipsters.

"This is our last hope," Russell said of her public plea for assistance.

"There have been times where I’ve made a plea on Facebook for donations and I’ll get one or two $50 donations, which is very appreciated. But the public and local businesses need to know that we can’t operate as a registered charity under (Canada Revenue Agency) regulations if most of our income doesn’t come from donations."

Last month when Paw Tipsters expanded to Toronto, Russell was hopeful the added media exposure would mean an increase in donations. That did not happen.

"After our launch in Toronto, two people from Ontario donated," Russell said, noting Paw Tipsters was grateful but needs more than that to keep going.

It made her take a hard look at the organization.

"We’ve been around for a year now and it just seems donations keep dwindling," Russell said. "When I came back from Toronto, it was just a gut feeling I had that it was time to do something about this or we’re just going to have to call it."

She said getting a sponsor would be the best scenario for Paw Tipsters.

"We’ve received such great exposure, such good attention, people are so interested and so many people want to volunteer," she said. "But when it comes to donations... " Paw Tipsters works the same way as Winnipeg Crime Stoppers. All tips about animal abuse are investigated by local law enforcement organizations that involve the Winnipeg Humane Society or provincial veterinarian office. If evidence of abuse is uncovered, there is a cash reward. Serious tips can pay $2,000.

Russell said Paw Tipsters has paid out rewards for tips of animal abuse to this point but she said there is no longer sufficient funds to pay any more.

"I think Paw Tipsters had shed more light on situations of animal abuse. If it’s not around, I worry that it will go back to (animal abuse) being reported less."

 

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

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Updated on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 11:35 AM CDT: adds fact box

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