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catmandude

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Review for STARelief and Pet Assistance, Stamford, CT, USA

Rating: 1 stars  

As you may be aware, many websites contain fake reviews made by either members of the organization seeking funds, paid 'reviewers' and/or their friends, family members, etc.

Based upon my recent, ABSOLUTELY AWFUL, first-hand experiences with STARelief and its executive director, Heather (detailed below), ONE MUST SERIOUSLY QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF ANY/ALL POSITIVE REVIEWS re: STARelief on this and/or any/all other websites.

In lieu of any available NEGATIVE star ratings (-5 stars wouldn't be a low enough review for STARelief), I give STARelief THE LOWEST POSSIBLE REVIEW AVAILABLE.

IN SUMMATION:

PLEASE donate your funds to a verifiable, REPUTABLE organization (i.e. NOT STARelief).

My experiences are detailed below re: the absolute hell that I was forced to experience over the course of the past +/- 2 weeks in my failed efforts to obtain ANY assistance - let alone TIMELY help from STARelief.

As a DIRECT result of across-the-board failures and COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE delays by STARelief and executive director, Heather, my beloved 4-years-young cat, Joey, suffered immeasurably and unnecessarily - then had to be euthanized - FAR too prematurely.

If that wasn't bad enough:

Never receiving payment confirmation to the vet clinic of the paltry, belated, $100 ALLEGED grant, I emailed STARelief 12 days after being approved for the ALLEGED grant - simply requesting email confirmation of payment to the vet clinic.

Instead of providing the reasonably requested confirmation - again: 12 DAYS AFTER THE FACT, Heather withdrew her NON-EXISTENT grant, knowing full-well that STARelief WOULD thereby STIFF my ELDERLY (86 & 90 YEAR-OLD) PARENTS out of reimbursement for any of the $266.95 that they were FORCED to place on their credit card - as a DIRECT result of Heather's COMPLETE and UTTER FAILURE to 'step up to the plate' in a TIMELY manner - or, more accurately: AT ALL.

Rather than utilizing any LEGITIMATE criteria - i.e. for no VALID reason, Heather's decision was based upon her ornery disposition and clearly biased attitude - which was quite evident throughout the entire hellish, grueling, time-wasting and ultimately fruitless application process.

Prior to her decision to retract her paltry $100 grant (that, as it turned out, never existed in the first place), it was CLEARLY explained to Heather (via the email grant payment request confirmation) that my elderly parents are on extremely limited fixed income AND that my 90 year-old Dad is suffering from dementia - which will soon require substantial eldercare costs.

Made no difference, whatsoever, to Heather - as she continued her pattern of sheer callousness by first, retracting the paltry, ALLEGED grant - in a most-condescending and patronizing manner, no less - then abruptly told me (via the same email) to never contact her again. Does it GET any better?

It goes without saying that no human being should EVER treat ANY others in such a manner - whether or not under the guise of 'volunteer'. There's simply no rationale - and NO EXCUSE - for such behavior.

As such, I STRONGLY advise that any and all who may consider donating to this - at best: poorly run (dis-)organization, or at worst: complete sham and/or scam to RUN - not walk away - and FAST. Your (and my future) donation(s) will be FAR better utilized in most ANY organization OTHER than this disgracefully botched operation.

And if there's any justice in this world, it will come in the form of ZERO additional donations to this despicable (dis-)organization - as well as a full-scale investigation + shut-down of its sham operation by the state attorney general's office. An appropriate prison term hopefully awaits, as well.

How Heather can even GLANCE at her own reflection and/or sleep at night is beyond comprehension.

For your reference, below is the copied, pasted and edited email sent 9/14/16 to STARelief executive director, Heather - which speaks for itself:

*************************************************************************

After this email, I won’t ‘bother’ you again – as my next email will be via formal complaint to the CT State Attorney General’s office (copied on this email) re: the absolute SHAM / SCAM OPERATION that you’re running in Stamford. I’d refer to STARelief as an utter joke – but it would be far too complimentary and there’s NO humor in taking advantage of ANYONE – let alone those in legitimate need.

Additionally, I will post online reviews and comments reflective of my DISGRACEFULLY POOR experiences with you and STARelief – on every available ratings website – including all non-profit review sites - ensuring that NO ONE else receives such despicably callous, un-empathetic, unsympathetic treatment by you as did I.

Unlike you and/or the dis-organization that you claim to ‘run’ – I’ll be 100% transparent:

You never had ANY intention of helping me – PERIOD...

Instead, you took every opportunity to deny my VERY REASONABLE – AND approvable application for financial aid. As admitted by your webmaster, Andy, your online application is rife with tech (AND procedural) issues. As you’re well-aware, the tech issues wiped out my entire first application – on which I worked for several hours (for ALLEGED EMERGENCY care – no less). In addition – as mentioned, you require documents that in many cases (such as mine) do not exist – AND you require ‘estimates’ for vet care.

While I fully understand the need to qualify and quantify applications on the basis of financial need, NO ONE should be denied simply because he/she doesn’t collect unemployment, food stamps, etc. – that’s absolutely absurd. There are other ways to prove that a need exists – however, your website remains shortsighted in its requests for information that may not exist. And worse – it doesn’t provide the applicant any alternate means to provide such information.

I offered to provide you with legitimate, alternative proof of my hardship – yet you failed to take me up on my offer. You then asked me if I would consider driving to Stamford to visit your ‘discount’ vet – then ‘pulled the plug’ on me for simply – and reasonably - asking to check online reviews for your vet (after just being horrified while reading reviews of my 2 most recent vets – as I LONG-awaited your follow-up).

First of all – note to (your)self – and this just in... (as if you didn’t already know): vets are neither car dealer service shops nor home improvement contractors. As such, vets don’t provide ‘estimates’ – especially for emergency pet care. Get real.

Secondly – your definition of ‘emergency’ is more than a tad ‘off’.

How can you claim to offer financial aid for ‘emergency’ pet care (for ‘emergency’ medical treatment for my bleeding and dying cat, Joey – the circumstances of which you were well-aware at that point), then:

A) require that your ungodly, longwinded application process be completed PRIOR to one even receiving ANY (ALLEGED) consideration for EMERGENCY assistance, then...

B) make me wait several HOURS to speak with your webmaster, then...

C) require that I re-apply to even be considered, then...

D) unfairly deny approval due to documents that don’t exist, then...

E) ask if I’ll consider your discount vet, then...

F) make me wait OVERNIGHT – AS MY BELOVED CAT, JOEY LAYS SUFFERING, then...

G) unfairly deny approval AGAIN – claiming that it wasn’t an emergency because I checked online for vets who handle emergencies – and their reviews – ALL WHILE AWAITING YOUR REPLY, then...

H) you disappear off the face of the map (AND fail to return the detailed voicemail that I left on your cell phone), then...

I) make me wait several MORE HOURS – AS MY BELOVED CAT, JOEY LAYS SUFFERING, then...

J) spinelessly – in your ‘stead’ (or – more accurately: as you hide under your desk) you have Amy email ‘approval’ of a (very lame), ALLEGED $100 grant (coupled with the threat that if I didn’t accept by day’s end, she’d (ALLEGEDLY) give it to someone else, then...

K) after I email Amy (well-before the day’s end) with my acceptance of said (lame) offer, the ALLEGED grant $ is NEVER sent to [the vet], then...

L) only after I email you to request confirmation that the grant was paid to [the vet], as promised, (shockingly!) you reply with a withdrawal of your ALLEGED ‘grant’ – 12 DAYS AFTER THE FACT?

Instead of doing the right thing (including returning the voicemail left on your cell phone), you cowardly had Amy CLAIM that you were ‘on vacation’. Did your cell phone voicemail go on vacation, too?

Do you make a habit of offering such ALLEGED ‘emergency’ pet care aid – stalling the process long enough so that the affected – and beloved – pet suffers needlessly to near-death (especially when you’re well-aware of the circumstances) – unfairly deny the approval (not once – but twice) – then go ‘on vacation’ without notifying the applicant – mid-process – as the pet is, by then, near death?

As Lincoln stated: ‘You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.’

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Shut it down. I've already filed a formal complaint against STARelief with the CT State Attorney General's office. NOBODY deserves to be treated so poorly and callously - especially an innocent, suffering beloved family pet.

Was your donation impactful?

No

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2016

Role:  Donor