Golfers earn a special reward

According to Dante there is a special place in Hell for thieves.  There is an even better (worse?) place for those who have committed treachery or betrayal.  I am not entirely sure which of these sins would be the appropriate charge, but I trust that it will all get sorted out by those who are in charge when the proper time comes. 


Receiving no money from federal or state sources, Peace River Wildlife Center relies on donations to support our efforts to rescue, rehabilitate and release injured and orphaned wildlife.  The non-releasable animals that are on educational display to the public seven days a week, 365 days a year, help defray some of their own costs by helping us collect entrance donations from the people who come to see them.  A large portion of our expenses however, are incurred by the rehabilitation side of our operation, not the exhibits, and since they are not able to be on display to the public, they are not a source of any appreciable income.


PRWC recently held its 4th Annual Eagle Open Golf Tournament.  It is the only big fundraiser of the year that we put on ourselves.  Held at the beautiful Twin Isles Country Club, the golf outing was a huge success this year.  Although putting on a golf tournament is a great deal of work for the committee (of two!) in charge of it, everyone had a great time and we raised close to $10,000.  We are grateful to all the players and the host site for their support.  Except for one team of players.  They registered by phone and paid with a credit card, which is not unusual.  Punta Gorda is a small community with a relatively low crime rate.  We have never had any trouble with fraudulent charges in the past.  Until this incident.


After the golf tournament, the charges for this team were reversed through their credit card company.  Since all the players were accounted for, we know this team actually played, but we have no way to prove it and no recourse to recover the lost money for the entrance fee and the fine.  It isn’t even the relatively small amount of money we are out.  $325 isn’t going to break the bank, but it does break our hearts that someone would stoop so low as to defraud a non-profit organization.  I’m sure there is a very special place in Hell for those who would steal from a non-profit.


Luckily for us there are so many good souls in this community who understand and support what we do.  A wonderful couple who have been supporters of PRWC for years heard of our plight and donated money to make up for the miscreants who decided not to play and pay.  In the long run, the good people outnumber the bad and make up for the negativity, but wouldn’t it be delightful if everyone lived by a better standard?


So far 2016 is shaping up to be a massive year for PRWC.  Our patient intake is already at over 125% for this time last year, and 2015 was a record breaking year for intakes.  While we are not happy that more animals are getting injured, we are glad to be able to help them.  We are seeing crowds of visitors like never before touring our educational displays.  PRWC is excited to be seeing our sleepy little town growing at such a pace and hope that we can continue to grow with it.  With the help of a supportive community, working together, we can make that happen.

by-Robin Jenkins, DVM