Charity Loses Licence Over Gambling Allegations
1 December 2015 at 11:00 am
A South Australian animal charity accused of gambling with donated money has lost its licence.
The Liquor and Gambling Commissioner, Dini Soulio, stepped in following allegations that the management behind cat rescue charity, Help Save the Furry Ones, had been using funds raised for gambling.
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“Consumer and Business Services (CBS) received information alleging that some of the funds raised by the charity for the care of animals were being transferred to a company associated with online casinos,” Soulio said.
“Our investigations also indicate that other accounts associated with the charity have not been audited, as is required under the Collection for Charitable Purposes Act.
“The allegations have been put to the licence holder, but she has failed to respond to any contact from CBS.”
Soulio said CBS was responsible for overseeing charities operating in South Australia, and to ensure funds were managed appropriately.
“In this case, I have made a determination that the funds being raised for a charitable purpose were being mismanaged or misapplied, and the licence was revoked,” he said.
“The operator of Help Save the Furry Ones is no longer allowed to solicit funds, and I would warn South Australians not to donate to this organisation.”
Help Save the Furry Ones was founded by Nicky Hocking in 2011. Hocking is still President of the organisation.
The organisation's website said it operated out of Hocking’s home in an effort to lower the numbers of animals put down by other animal rescue shelters each year.
The charity said in a statement posted on its Facebook page that it would turn to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) to fight the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner’s ruling.
“It has come to our attention that Help Save the Furry Ones has been accused of ALLEGEDLY spending donated money that was raised for our shelter on gambling,” the organisation said.
“Please be assured that all of HSFO’s funds can be accounted for. Our charity licence was revoked three days ago so anyone donating regularly please stop your direct payments.
“All of our paperwork is being handed into the ACNC for investigation and will clear our name of these allegations.”
The charity said it was now struggling to rehome the cats it looked after.
“Unfortunately the damage has already been done and we still have 30+ cats in our care needing homes,” it said.
“Just a reminder for those that believe these allegations that we have in fact cared for and rehomed over 2000 animals over the past few years, needing vet work, medicating, parasite treatments and top quality food which is not cheap.”
The charity is still listed as being registered with the ACNC.
In a video posted to Help Save the Furry Ones website this year it is claimed that almost $33,000 was raised through an online fundraiser to help relocate the charity.