SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KTLA) — The sweet tale of a man re-united with his beloved dog thanks to a viral photo on Facebook has apparently turned sour.
Dave Thomas was pictured tearfully comforting his pit bull, named Buzz Lightyear, at a San Bernardino animal shelter.
Buzz had been taken from Thomas when he was arrested and sent to jail for being a no-show in court on a traffic violation.
Pet advocate Maria Sanchez created a Facebook page to help raise the funds to Buzz out of the shelter, becasue Thomas couldn’t afford the more than $400 in fees.
The picture touched the hearts of many, who opened their pocketbooks, raising even more than the impound fees.
Thomas told KTLA that he was ecstatic about the support, saying, “I gotta kiss the feet of Maria Sanchez,” and calling her “a godsend.”
But now, it appears that all of that may have changed.
KTLA received a call from Thomas claiming that Sanchez was withholding the money raised for Buzz. KTLA then contacted Sanchez about the matter.
Sanchez subsequently posted a video to YouTube of a voicemail, reportedly from Thomas, threatening to sue her for keeping the money.
“After I hung up with KTLA channel 5, I tried to call Dave,” Sanchez writes in a message accompanying the video.
“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.”
In the post, Sanchez explains that she transferred $842.07 to her own account to reimburse the expenses incurred in the mission to rescue Buzz.
She says that she spoke to Thomas about how she wanted him to spend the remainder of the donations.
“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,” she writes.
“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,” she says. “Not one response, question or concern.”
Sanchez says that she now plans to refund the donations.
“The donations will NOT go to Dave after the stunt he has pulled,” she writes, adding, “No good deed goes unpunished, right?”
If you’d like your donation refunded or transferred to help another animal, you can contact Sanchez by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.