LOXAHATCHEE GROVES, Fla. — The Huffington Post recently reported how a Palm Beach County dog rescue charity spent hundreds of thousands to hold fundraisers at properties owned by former President Donald Trump.
The president of the Big Dog Ranch Rescue said as a result of the story, her donors are leaving, her workers are getting harassing phone calls, and her ability to rescue abandoned dogs has been jeopardized.
“I’m just shocked somebody could stoop so low to do harm to a rescue that did so much work,” said Big Dog Ranch Rescue President Lauree Simmons.
The Huffington Post article posted this weekend shows headlines reading, “The ranch linked to Lara Trump is funneling money into Donald Trump’s pocket,” by holding fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago and two country clubs in Palm Beach County.
Lara Trump is married to Donald Trump’s son, Eric.
After the Huffington Post article ran, staffers at the Big Dog Ranch Rescue fielded threatening calls, and one donor withdrew a sizeable pledge to donate after reading that the charity has been holding events at Trump-owned properties for eight years.
“To cancel our event there, that would be political,” said Simmons.
“They give us amazing discounted rates, they provide a beautiful venue, and have gone out of their way to help us raise money,” she added.
The article in the Huffington Post said it is, “putting money into the pocket of someone (Trump) who tried to overturn the results of an election he lost and whose incitement led to the deaths of three police officers.”
A spokesman for BuzzFeed, which owns the Huffington Post, tells Contact 5, “Ms. Simmons still has not disputed to HuffPost that Big Dog Ranch Rescue has spent as much as $1.9-million at Mar-a-Lago over the last seven years. We stand unequivocally behind (the author’s) reporting.”
Simmons said the numbers are misleading, saying the numbers reflect the overall spending on events at Trump properties, that include outside vendors. She said the Trump properties took in less than a million dollars.
As for her charity, Contact 5 checked with the watchdog group Charity Navigator, which reports 95% of the money raised by Big Dog Ranch is spent on its charitable programs, “For us to carry out our mission of saving 47,000 lives to date,” Simmons added.
She’s considering suing Huffington Post claiming the article is false and has hurt her ability to raise money to help abandoned dogs.