When animal lover and photographer Maria Sanchez posted the above photo of Dave Thomas weeping next to his impounded pup Buzz Lightyear the internets lit up in a collective need to help the guy out. Thanks to Maria’s diligence, Buzz and Dave were reunited. So what is Dave doing to show his gratitude? Dude is threatening to sue Sanchez, affirming the adage, “no good deed goes unpunished.”
Sanchez has a Facebook page in which she takes the time to post animal pics from the San Bernardido City Animal Shelter in hopes of finding homes and raising awareness. Last week she snapped Thomas giving ol’ Buzz some water when he sat down next to his best friend and started weeping.
Dave had been jailed briefly for failing to appear for traffic violations and in the process his 2-year-old pit bull mix was taken to the pound. When he tried to retrieve Buzz he was unable to do so because of a $400 fee required to get the dog out. Maria followed up by posting the pic and even circulated flyers looking to ID Thomas and to raise the money needed. The money and then some was donated, Thomas was found and he and Buzz were reunited in a beautiful story with a happy ending… Until Maria got this message:
Thomas contacted Sanchez and left the above voicemail threatening to sue over the additional money that Maria got from donations, claiming it all should be his. He said, “You are dead wrong and I will be getting in touch with the lawyer and if you do anything with my money that is slander one, embezzlement two…what’s the other one? Oh grand larceny because it’s over $1,000.” He added that he “was clean” and that’s why the cops let him go.
For her part, Sanchez has promised not to give Thomas “one single penny” and to return all additional money, after the fee and medical costs, back to people who donated it. She wrote on her page:
I just got a phone call from KTLA channel 5. Apparently, Dave has called to inform them that I am keeping the money raised for his dog. I have transferred $842.07 into my bank to reimburse myself for the shelter fees, vet and PetSmart shopping spree that I put onto my personal credit card. I had a discussion regarding the remainder of the donations and how he would like to spend them. I said it would be a good idea to pay off any outstanding tickets so that he will not be taken to jail in the future for having a warrant for unpaid traffic tickets. I asked if he had any bills that were due at the time. I told him that every dime that was donated would go to him and Buzz, but that I would not be giving him the cash. I explained to him that the money that was donated was a blessing for him, I wanted to be sure that we respected that and used the donations responsibly. He sat next to me and nodded his head, Not one response, question or concern.
After I hung up with KTLA channel 5, I tried to call Dave. His wife would not let me speak to him. She screamed at me that I was stealing their dog’s money. She said they have called the news stations and that if I did not give them their money, they were going to call the police.
I am exhausted from this entire experience. This is the last thing I needed or expected. I will not be giving Dave or his wife one single penny, what I will do is refund the money that was donated to Dave. I have had my life and the lives of my children devastated by drug addiction. I will play no part in supporting anyone’s habit. I just can’t.
Photo: Maria Sanchez