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Thursday, February 9, 2012


WSB-TV in Atlanta reports on an alleged theft:
Channel 2 Action News obtained the arrest warrants for a woman Suwanee police said stole thousands of dollars from a major non-profit while she was executive director.

Cynthia Pike, 47, a Lawrenceville resident, ran the Autism Society of America Georgia Chapter since 2007.

Pike's attorney called her an innocent and honest mother. But police say she is a thief, now charged with 16 felony counts of theft by conversion.

The Chicago Tribune reports on Animals for Autism, an organization that got a grant to provide 10 free service animals to 10 families.  When the group stopped communicating, the families made some disturbing discoveries (video here):

•The nonprofit tax number Kaydus supplied to families for use at fundraisers is invalid. According to the Illinois attorney general's office, Animals for Autism submitted an incomplete application in November and is not a registered nonprofit.
•Although Animals for Autism claimed 25 years of experience in training service dogs, parents could find only one family in possession of such a dog. When the Tribune asked to contact that family, Pepsi Refresh's grant manager, Global Giving, said it couldn't share the information.
•The Pepsi Refresh voting site stated the grant would go to "train and place free service dogs with autistic kids," but the terms of the grant do not require delivery of the dogs. According to Pepsi and Global Giving, the grant money may be spent on items that go "toward realizing the spirit of the grant," such as building kennels, caring for the dogs and buying training tools.
•Siberian Huskies are not ideal service dogs for young children. "They tend to be independent and were bred to pull sleds, not to please people like, for instance, golden retrievers," said Toni Eames, president of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, a consumer advocacy group for people with service dogs.
Autism service dogs provide companionship and can help calm children with autism and prevent them from wandering, a common problem.
Eames said that only about 50 percent of the best-bred and -selected dogs graduate from service dog training. "You cannot possibly take 10 puppies and promise them as service dogs to 10 people," she said. "It doesn't work that way."