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Dogsbite.org breaking the laws and falsely claiming 501(c)

Updated on August 24, 2012

Dogsbite.org

The group Dogsbite.org is an organization led by Colleen Lynn, who suffered from a dog attack a few years ago. She has since taken it upon herself to advocate for victims of dog bites and attacks. However, her focus isn't on victims but on one type of dog, American Pit Bull Terriers. She has put an emphasis on any news that pertains to pit bulls or pit bull "type" dogs, as long as the news is negative.

Several victims of dog attacks have been turned away from the help they supposedly provide to victims because they were attacked or bitten by smaller breed dogs. But even small dogs bite and can cause damage to human flesh resulting in thousands of dollars in reconstructive surgeries. So how can this organization claim to support victims of dog bites and attacks?

The IRS and 501(c)

As with many advocate groups, Dogsbite.org has chosen to claim to be a "not for profit" organization. That in itself is okay, however, they lobby for pit bull bans, aggressive breed bans, fighting breed bans, landlord liability laws and more. They claim to be within the laws and their rights when it comes to claiming their 501(c) status. Lobbying is defined on the IRS website as attempting to influence legislation.

"An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation."

The organization has websites, blogs, Facebook accounts, twitter feeds and more urging people to contact legislators and other government officials to support specific laws. Not only to they state "contact key legislators" but they have also listed contact information of the people they want their followers to contact.

Lobbying is a form of gathering support for laws and legislature that a group agrees with, it is the political equivalent of marketing. Non-profit groups that claim 501(c) are in violation of that by lobbying. Dogsbite.org has attempted to blind people by omitting several phrases from their online pages as of recently. However, their agenda is still very apparent and their followers are still being told to put pressure on political figures. A substantial portion of the time and activities by Dogsbite.org are focused on lobbying for breed specific legislature.

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