Despicable, it’s a word that seems to roll off the tongue and drips with certain sense of dissatisfaction. Despicable, the sound of the word breeds contempt for something or someone. Despicable is not a word that we often throw around in our house. I think for reference we should give an appropriate definition to the word. Dictionary.com defines despicable as being of quality to deserve contempt. I firmly believe this fits the situation you will read about below.
Unfortunately, despicable is a word that I find myself using more and more to describe the actions of those who have wronged my five year old autistic son. Allow me to take a few moments to give some direct and concrete examples. Here are some of the things that have me saying the word over and over again.
Animals for Autism/ Lea Kaydus
Animals for Autism collected funds on behalf of our son, we have repeatedly requested a financial statement. The first request was in July but still Ms. Kaydus refuses to turn over a statement of what has been raised and who donated on our son’s behalf. Despicable
Communication has all but been non-existent with Ms. Kaydus since July 2011. Claims that they did not have internet service at their new location for over five months are simple absurd. There is such a thing as a telephone, call with updates. Old fashioned snail mail could have worked as well but still nothing. Internet at the local library could have worked but alas nothing happened. What legitimate organization would go without internet for five days let alone five months? Despicable
When we have asked for information about training, updated pictures of the dogs (previous pictures had meta data that gave dates in 2007 to 2009) and current location, (yes they moved to a new location and did not give a new address) we have been ignored. Following our contact with the Illinois Attorney General, Animals for Autism’s webpage disappeared. Despicable
Our family and other families found Service Animals for sale on E-Bay. What happened to the lengthy application process and necessary prep work? There were also pictures of the identical dogs that we were matched with for service animals on puppy sites for sale. If you look at the Animals for Autism Facebook page, you will notice that they claim to be a non-profit organization. We checked with the secretary of State office in Illinois and the IRS. Guess what, they have no non-profit status. I don’t have to say, you’re thinking it for me.
I did some checking with Animal Control in Illinois. Both counties where the Kaydus family lived had no record of any dogs in their name. This means that they have no dogs with rabies vaccinations, would you want to encounter a service dog in public without rabies vaccinations? It is possible that there might be a paperwork problem somewhere but with the track record I have found, what do you think? You’re right despicable.
We contacted the Better Business Bureau and they contacted Ms. Kaydus with our concerns. Did she respond at all? Not one word. The end result was an F rating for the business. If you have nothing to hide why not answer the request? Ms. Kaydus claims that all of the families are being served by her and not the organization. That explains everything away. Oh wait we have a letter from Animals for Autism stating that they would be providing our dog. The letter even states that their team met and felt our son was suitable for a service dog. I’m not sure about you but I have a gut feeling this is despicable.
The families received an odd letter from Ms. Kaydus last week requesting an answer regarding our involvement in the program. After months of absolute silence, she wants a response from each family. Global Giving has demanded an answer from some of the families by the end of this week. They never answer a single question or concern but seem to demand answers from the families involved, nothing but despicable.
Pepsi changed the Refresh grant agreement after the voting was completed. The original agreement was to train ten service dogs and place them with ten families. When the voting was over and the page posted publically, Pepsi changed the agreement. The public grant proposal was never updated but Pepsi started funding a kennel for Ms. Kaydus. I thought the grant was for dogs for the children, I guess I was wrong. Despicable
When I brought up the subject of the pictures being from old dates, I was told to “cut ties” with the people making the statements. We were assured again and again that Animals for Autism was legitimate. You guessed it despicable.
Pepsi suddenly came up with a statement that they would not disclose any information about any of their grant awards. Amazing how they stopped talking with us after the Illnois Attorney General was contacted. I don’t think I need to say it, do I?
We were offered a mediated conversation with Ms. Kaydus but when I raised the issues I wanted clarified, I was told that Global Giving could not help me. When asked about various aspects of the grant and asked for a copy in writing, we were told it was confidential.
Global Giving visited the Animals for Autism site in Illinois. Did they take any pictures of dogs to show families involved? None that we have seen. Nice to know they are so concerned. Absolutely despicable
Following the latest letter from Ms. Kaydus, the families made a united response asking for details to be spelled out in writing. We have been ignored and the organization is making an effort to call certain families involved in this fiasco. Can they not read, we wanted a response in writing? What do you think? I’m with you it’s despicable.
I am tired of being ignored by Pepsi and Global Giving. The behavior from Pepsi, Global Giving and Animals for Autism is nothing short of despicable. These actions are not against parents but against children, special needs children. I for one would not want that on my conscience, nor could I so blatantly disregard the concerns of good people who simple want answers.
The only thing I know to say is that this entire fiasco is absolutely despicable. Maybe you think so as well. Maybe these few moments reading have stirred some righteous indignation within your spirit. I hope so. Euripides once said: “When a good man is hurt, all of those who call themselves good must suffer with them.”
I can tell you that there are good people who have done nothing wrong, except maybe place their trust in the wrong people. These people and their children have been hurt in this mess. Parents of autistic children are looking for some answers and are finding none because no one is willing to give any. Parents who latched on to hope only to have that hope slap them in the face. Such actions should not go unnoticed or unrecognized. The time has come to take action. The time has come to stand up. Will you stand with me as I stand for these families?
When good people do nothing evil prevails – Edmund Burke
If you find this behavior as distasteful as I do, maybe you need to do something about it. Might I make a few suggestions.
1.) Call Pepsi and Global Giving and express your distaste. Here are the phone numbers Pepsi: Consumer Response Team at 800-433-2652 and Global Giving 202-232-5784 e-mail: Linda Shaffer Oatley Senior Manager Pepsi Refresh Project firstname.lastname@example.org (I found this e-mail on the website, it is not private)
2.) Stop purchasing Pepsi products. This week is the Super Bowl, why not celebrate the big game with Coke instead of Pepsi? Frito Lay is also owned by Pepsi. Maybe a different snack food could be just as good if not better. Nothing like the taste of righting a wrong.
3.) Help spread the word.
Please take just a moment to spread the word along to others.
There is nothing more powerful than good people standing together. If you have a family member or friend impacted by autism, stand with me. If you just consider yourself a good person, stand with me. If you hate injustice, stand with me.
Thank you for your time, your consideration and your compassion