A California man reunited with his beloved dog after a photo of the two was posted to Facebook is now allegedly threatening to sue the Good Samaritan who helped him, KTLA reports.
Dave Thomas of San Bernardino, Calif., was briefly jailed earlier this month for failing to appear in court over traffic violations. His dog, a 2-year-old pitbull named Buzz Lightyear, was impounded at a local shelter as a result, but Thomas couldn't afford to pay the $400 to get him out.
Maria Sanchez, a photographer and animal activist at the shelter, took a touching photo of Thomas and his dog while they were at the facility and posted it to Facebook, where it went viral. Donations poured in, exceeding the cost of the impound fee, and Thomas and his dog were reunited.
Thomas called KTLA and claimed that Sanchez was withholding money from him. The photographer apparently did not know about Thomas' plan to sue and took to Facebook and YouTube to tell her side of the story.
From the video's YouTube description:
Apparently, Dave has called to inform them that I am keeping the money raised for his dog. I have transferred $842.07 into my bank to reimburse myself for the shelter fees, vet and PetSmart shopping spree that I put onto my personal credit card. I had a discussion regarding the remainder of the donations and how he would like to spend them. I said it would be a good idea to pay off any outstanding tickets so that he will not be taken to jail in the future for having a warrant for unpaid traffic tickets. I asked if he had any bills that were due at the time. I told him that every dime that was donated would go to him and Buzz, but that I would not be giving him the cash.
In the 40-second YouTube clip posted by Sanchez, a man purported to be Thomas can be heard saying, "You are dead wrong and I will be getting in touch with the lawyer and if you do anything with my money that is slander one, embezzlement two…what’s the other one? Oh, grand larceny because it’s over $1,000."
According to Los Angeles network KABC, Sanchez said Thomas wanted the rest of the cash from the shelter donations in a lump sum, but she refused.
Sanchez is now saying she will refund the remaining money to individual donors at their request.
The twist in this formerly feel-good story caught the attention of others in the Los Angeles area.
"As a response to the alleged sad turn of events in a story that touched so many," writes LAist writer Lauren Lloyd, "we can only hope Thomas and his wife, should they feel any ill-will toward Sanchez, will realize that she was merely trying to help."