George Santos Stole $3,000 Raised for a Homeless Veteran’s Dying Dog
A new report says that Santos’s fake animal charity raised $3,000 on GoFundMe for a veteran’s dying service dog. Santos then took the money and disappeared.
Every day, I wake up and think it can’t get worse for George Santos.
And every day, I’m proven wrong.
In May 2016, Santos allegedly raised $3,000 for a homeless and disabled veteran’s service dog, Sapphire, who was suffering from a life-threatening stomach tumor. After Santos (who went by Anthony Devolder at the time) closed the GoFundMe, he took the $3,000 and was never heard from again.
The revelations come from Rich Osthoff, the swindled veteran, who spoke with Long Island local outlet Patch.
Osthoff had been living in a tent in an abandoned chicken coop on the side of a New Jersey highway, alongside his dog, Sapphire, given to him by a veteran’s charity. After Osthoff visited animal veterinarians and learned about Sapphire’s tumor that would cost $3,000 to operate on, a veterinary technician helped connect him to “a guy who runs a pet charity” who could help.
That supposedly charitable man was Anthony Devolder—one of Santos’s former public identities—and the charity was “Friends of Pet United.”
The “charity” raised some $3,000 through GoFundMe. Osthoff recalled that after the fundraiser began, it became harder and harder to reach Santos. The now congressman had also led Osthoff along. In August, Santos had the vet tech drive Osthoff and Sapphire to a practice in Queens; Santos insisted they couldn’t use the New Jersey vet’s office and he had “credit” with the Queens one.
The veterinarian in Queens said Sapphire’s tumor was inoperable, something the New Jersey vet had not said. After the odd trip, Santos became even harder to reach. Finally, in November, Osthoff begged Santos to let him take Sapphire to another vet. “My dog is going to die because of god knows what,” he texted Santos.
“Sapphire is not a candidate for this surgery the funds are moved to the next animal in need,” Santos wrote back. Santos said he would take Sapphire himself elsewhere for an ultrasound but that Osthoff could not come and that it could not occur at the New Jersey office because they apparently wouldn’t accept the charity’s funding method.
Santos stopped responding after that, and the GoFundMe was gone. After all was said and done, Santos took the money and went with the wind.
A November 2016 Facebook post from Osthoff shows him declaring what happened. “To everyone who helped me and Sapphire raise the money for her surgery, I’m sorry to say that we were scammed by Anthony Devolder,” Osthoff wrote. “Sapphire has NOT received veterinary care, and her growth is 3 to 4 times bigger than it was when the campaign was fulfilled. She is facing euthanasia within months.”
Sapphire died two months later, on January 15, 2017. Osthoff told Patch that, after being out of work with a broken leg for over a year, he couldn’t even afford to euthanize and cremate Sapphire.
“I had to panhandle. It was one of the most degrading things I ever had to do,” he told Patch.
Read more at Patch.