Livonia animal rescue in danger of closing after $30,000 in donations turns out to be fraudulent

Donations have been spent on procedures, rent, staff members


LIVONIA, Mich. – An animal rescue center in Livonia might have to close after it learned about $30,000 in donations that have already been spent were fraudulent.

Wayne County Sheriff's Sgt. Lee Smith, who was hit and killed in Hines Park on Aug. 14, supported Tailwaggers in Livonia. His wife, Simone Smith, was at the animal rescue center Wednesday with a donation because she heard about what happened.

"I am hanging in there, taking it day by day," Simone Smith said. "I heard they were in need, and Laura is a very good friend of mine and I want to support her."

Laura Zain spent 30 years building up Tailwaggers into a low-cost pet clinic and free pet food center to help owners take care of their animals.

But 30 years of work unraveled in just 30 days.

Zain decided to switch to a new credit card company to process donations and payments. The donations were flowing in, but the credit card company said close to $30,000 in donations were fraudulent.

"Here we are a month later (and) they were fraudulent," Zain said.

She's working with the company to investigate, but the money that was sent in has been spent on procedures, rent and staff members.

Tailwaggers might have to close its doors.

"I feel violated," Zain said. "We did not deserve that."

Visit Tailwaggers' website to donate.

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