UPDATE: HOURS AFTER THIS POST WENT ONLINE YESTERDAY MIRIAM KELLY REPAID THE $632 DISCOUNT SHE GOT FROM A LOCAL ANIMAL HOSPITAL BY FALSELY PORTRAYING DESIDERATA RESCUE AS A CHARITY.
IRS Revoked Desiderata Rescue’s Charity Status in 2019
Last month, Miriam Kelly of Desiderata Rescue fraudulently claimed the rescue was a charity in order to get a discount of more than $600 for services provided by a Seattle area animal hospital.
The IRS determines whether or not a nonprofit can be classified as a legitimate 501(c)(3) charity. Once the IRS designates an organization as a charity, it does not have to pay federal income tax. Donors can also make tax deductible donations to it.
Charities must file annual tax returns with the IRS. Some must also file state returns. In addition, they must make their last 3 tax returns available to the public.
As I wrote earlier this year, the IRS designated Desiderata Rescue as a 501(c)(3) charity in 2016.
But the IRS revoked its 501(c)(3) status in 2019 for failing to provide tax returns for 3 years.
I also noted that Miriam Kelly fraudulently promoted Desiderata Rescue as a charity after the IRS revoked its 501(c)(3) status.
Seattle Area Veterinarian Taken for $632
Many dog rescues run on shoestring budgets, so some veterinarians and pet stores discount their bills to help them out.
To get this discount, they often require rescues to provide a copy of their 501(c)(3) designation letter from the IRS.
Recently someone from a local animal hospital sent me an email saying Miriam Kelly provided a letter from the IRS designating Desiderata Rescue as a 501(c)(3) charity in order to get a $632 discount on the services it provided for one of the rescue’s dogs.
Later this person discovered that the letter was invalid because the IRS revoked Desiderata Rescue’s charity status in 2019.
Here’s the email they sent:
“I work at a small animal emergency clinic. We recently had Miriam as a client and after arguing about the bill for one of her fostered puppies, gave her a 20% discount provided she showed us a copy of her 501c3, which was dated 2016. This is a $632 discount that we are now out of.”
Operating Illegally is Nothing New for Desiderata Rescue
Miriam Kelly has illegally operated her rescue for years. In addition to fraudulently claiming Desiderata Rescue was a 501(c)(3) charity, she posted fundraisers in Washington without registering with the Secretary of State’s Charity program or meeting Washington’s disclosure requirements for fundraising appeals.
And last July, after moving her unauthorized rescue to Seminole, OK, she sent sick puppies and kittens to Washington adopters.
She also continues to illegally sell dogs and cats in Washington without registering with state.
To the best of my knowledge, Desiderata Rescue isn’t registered to operate Oklahoma either.
Earlier this year, Adopt-a-Pet kicked Desiderata Rescue off its website after Seattle DogSpot reported the rescue for violating its terms of service,
Desiderata Rescue Doesn’t Exist
Legally, Desiderata Rescue doesn’t exist. Ms. Kelly hasn’t registered it to operate or sell animals anywhere.
Adopting a pet from Miriam Kelly is no different than buying one from someone who sells them on the side of a road. She’s just an individual that sells pets for hundreds of dollars.
And because she never submitted annual reports, no one knows how much money the rescue makes or where that money goes.
I plan to report Miriam Kelly’s fraudulent activities to the IRS. It doesn’t look kindly on organizations that falsely present themselves as charities.
Still, despite a few bad actors, responsible people run the vast majority of dog rescues. They operate within the law and ensure their dogs are healthy before anyone can adopt them.
Ms. Kelly’s antics shouldn’t prevent anyone from adopting a dog from a rescue. Just be sure to do your research to ensure it’s a responsible rescue that follows the law.