GoFundMe’s money for injured K9 Arlo barely spent
After raising more than $ 73,000 for K9 Arlo care earlier this year, the Thurston County Deputy Sheriff’s Foundation has yet to decide what to do with the bulk of the money.
Law enforcement accidentally shot the K9 after a high-speed chase with a suspect on Interstate 5 on January 13.
After recovering from the gunshots, Arlo was removed from the Thurston County Sheriff’s office over concerns for the dog’s health and he was sold to his former handler, former deputy Tyler Turpin, for $ 1. April 7.
Lt. Carla Carter began fundraising days after the incident. Months later, she tells The Olympian, the foundation, which is an organization separate from the sheriff’s office, still holds over $ 57,000 which Turpin has so far refused to accept.
âIt got really confusing, but I want Arlo to hear from the citizens who donated,â Carter said. “I have no intention of withholding the money or spending it in any other way that is not purely for the intentions of the people who gave it.”
Turpin quit his job in the sheriff’s office on April 25. He then claimed he was kicked out by internal pressure after the sheriff’s office polled his finances on social media in February, the Chronicle reported.
On May 26, Turpin announced via Instagram that he plans to challenge Sheriff John Snaza to his re-election in 2022.
Snaza declined to comment on the reasons for Turpin’s departure, saying he was not free to discuss it. However, he said he plans to run for re-election.
âI have nothing personal against him,â Snaza said. âI wish Tyler (Turpin) the best in whatever he chooses to do, but I plan to be the sheriff for a long time. We’ll see how it goes.
Turpin did not respond to multiple requests from The Olympian for comment on the situation. The Olympian also asked the county to share any public records related to Turpin’s departure.
Arlo medical care
Since the sheriff’s office owned the dog at the time of the shooting, he was billed $ 21,701 for his medical treatment, Snaza said. A draft for the county’s first budget amendment of the year includes this cost.
The county has purchased pet insurance for its K9s, but it must pay medical bills up front before being reimbursed. Arlo needed emergency medical attention at an Oregon State University animal hospital.
Carter said she wrote two checks to the sheriff’s office to cover costs that pet insurance did not cover, totaling $ 13,177.89. This covered two surgeries and subsequent exams, Carter said.
In total, Carter said she used $ 13,780.69 to help Arlo and Turpin. She said that includes medical bills, a hotel Turpin stayed at during Arlo’s surgeries, playpen, padding and medication.
Of the $ 73,705 Carter raised on GoFundMe, she received just over $ 71,409.13 after fees, according to documents shared by Carter. In addition to that, the foundation also directly accepted some donations from people who did not wish to donate through GoFundMe, she said.
Carter says the foundation currently holds $ 57,678.44 that was earmarked for Arlo’s care. When he left the sheriff’s office, Turpin indicated he didn’t want anything to do with the foundation, she said.
What to do with the remaining funds?
On April 22, Turpin shared with his 123,000 Instagram followers that another nonprofit, Project K9 Hero, was helping him cover Arlo’s medical bills. Three days later, he shared a similar post with his 2.6 million followers on TikTok.
âThey contacted me in January and have been there for us during this frustrating time,â Turpin wrote on Instagram. “Knowing that Arlo’s medical bills would be covered by @ projectk9hero was a huge relief and a blessing.”
When Turpin refused to accept funds from the foundation, Carter said she was considering donating the remaining funds to nonprofits that care for service animals. However, she put that plan on hold because she said she felt confused by Turpin’s message about how Arlo would continue to be taken care of.
âI’m not confused,â Carter said. âSo this money is going to stay there until there is a clear path that aligns with the citizen’s intentions to provide care to a service animal that has been injured. ”
Carter said she wasn’t sure why Turpin decided to turn down the foundation’s help, but added that she would be happy to engage with him again.
“If he has changed his mind, I’m happy to change the course,” Carter said. “I just didn’t check out that possibility, and that would never be my intention.”
She said she was open to other creative solutions such as donating the money to the nonprofit that Turpin says covers Arlo’s medical bills.
“I don’t know what that looks like right now, but Tyler (Turpin) has my number and I’m happy to tell him about it.” Carter said.
Reaction to funds
Carter said she felt humbled by the outpouring of support when she launched GoFundMe in January.
âI launched the GoFundMe and it kind of took off,â she said. “I also wanted to provide Tyler’s peace of mind because Arlo will be taken care of and he will have the best service.”
When the fundraiser reached around $ 45,000, Carter said she had closed it. However, she said Turpin had encouraged her to keep it open as the cost of Arlo’s care appeared to rise.
She said she closed it again when they hit the current amount of $ 73,705 because she wanted to see an invoice before continuing to fundraise.
The description on the GoFundMe page loosely calls the incident an “officer shot” and never made it clear that law enforcement fired at Arlo.
At one point, Turpin, one of six officers who opened fire in the incident, also claimed that Arlo was shot by a suspect. This message has been deleted.
Despite the revelation, Carter says she received no criticism of how GoFundMe’s description framed the incident.
“I haven’t received a single phone call saying, ‘We’re frustrated that this hasn’t come to light,'” Carter said. âIt was a tragic situation all around. I think most of the people who donated were just like, “We want Arlo taken care of,” and they also had a big heart for animals. “
Carter said she doesn’t know how to communicate to people who have donated that a large chunk of the funds is just not being used at the moment, as she considers the direction the foundation will take with the funds.