Serious allegations have been leveled by volunteer Barbara Valencia against the recently disbanded group No Kill El Paso:
She says a veterinarian told her puppies had been abandoned by [group founder John] Conwell, bills were going unpaid, foster parents couldn’t reach him for reimbursement and dogs were dying. Valencia called an emergency meeting, asking him for answers. That’s when he left the room, then changed his number, then dissolved No Kill.
She claimed she later found out he was transferring donations from the 501c’s account to his personal account and had left them with $10.
Specifically on the allegations of dogs dying, Ms. Valencia told a local news reporter:
Valencia says as a result of not having the resources they need, two puppies have died. “It’s heartbreaking,” said Valencia.
Last Friday KFOX14 met BB, a No Kill lab-mix puppy, sick with parvo. Valencia said BB died Monday morning because the group couldn’t get in contact with Conwell so that the puppy could get the proper treatment. Another dog, Astor, also died last week.
For his part, John Conwell told KFOX14 that he doesn’t have the group’s money but “other individuals” are in possession of the funds. Ms. Valencia claims this is false. Further, there is a question of access to records:
“No other volunteers had access to records he has all of the foster records, adoption records, vet records. He has everything and he refuses to give anything to us,” said Valencia.
Volunteers are reportedly relying on social media pleas to get an accurate count of foster animals and their needs.
I exchanged several messages on Facebook this morning with Mr. Conwell who told me the group never took in significant amounts of cash and limited the number of animals rescued to those whose expenses could be covered with the group’s funds. He said he has receipts for payments made to veterinarians and that the report of the $10 balance in the bank account is accurate. I asked him about the access to records and whether there is any way the remaining fosters could keep in touch and get reimbursed for expenses but he did not reply.
A local group called Animal Rescue League has reportedly offered to help the dogs abandoned by No Kill El Paso.
It is my hope that the animals currently in foster care under the No Kill El Paso banner can be immediately located and have their needs met. There should be no question as to access to records, regardless of the group’s status, since there are pets and people in need. Beyond that, I hope someone with an interest will form a new group to advocate for no kill in El Paso since the need is still there.