Fish4Dogs has helped a rescue charity that was fleeced of its finances by a “bogus volunteer” who was subsequently jailed for six years.
K9 Crusaders, based near Truro, Cornwall, had between £88,000 and £200,000 stolen from its funds by a “career criminal”. The charity’s founder Sue Smith appeared on Channel 5’s Do The Right Thing to tell her story and warn other charities of the dangers.
She was moved to tears during the live show, which was aired this week (6 January), when it was revealed how kind-hearted businesses had chipped in to help her charity recover. Fish4Dogs donated two sheds, packed with dog food including a selection of dry food, treats and canned wet food.
During the show, which is fronted by Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, Smith told how she was befriended by Katrina Jones on an online dog forum who claimed to be a qualified accountant and offered to help her run the charity’s finances.
Smith was particularly vulnerable at the time, as her husband, Peter Smith, with whom she had founded K9 Crusaders in 2002, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and dementia. Following his death, she said she “found the strength” to continue working, discovered the financial irregularities and reported them to the police.
In 2015, Jones was found guilty of 29 counts of theft totalling more than £500,000 from a number of organisations, however K9 Crusaders were unable to recover a single penny. The charity with its mission to “rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome needy dogs” has cared for more than 3,000 animals during its lifetime.
The programme’s executive producer, Richard Woolfe, said: “The Do The Right Thing team, cannot thank Fish4Dogs enough. It really is very kind indeed and will be much appreciated by K9 Crusaders.”
Smith, who appeared on the programme with her German Shepherd rescue dog Tara, had the surprise donation revealed to her by guest Faye Tozer. Tozer, formerly of pop group, Steps, said: “What an inspirational woman you are. To go what you have gone through and still be standing.”