Animal shelter seeks to relinquish NPO status

SINGAPORE – Following an outcry over unaccounted donations, the owner of Mdm Wong’s Shelter is now seeking to relinquish its non-profit organisation (NPO) status.

Madam Chaya Koi Kim (picture), affectionately known as Mdm Wong, told MediaCorp yesterday that she had verbally instructed the directors of Mdm Wong’s Shelter to do away with its NPO status, relinquish their duties and to stay away from the shelter’s premises at Pasir Ris Farmway.

The directors, who are also volunteers, face allegations by donors that funds donated to the shelter have not been acknowledged.

Mdm Chaya said she entrusted the directors with raising funds for Mdm Wong’s Shelter but did not foresee that the move would run into concerns of transparency.

“I am worried about the reputation of Mdm Wong’s Shelter,” she told MediaCorp. “After this unpleasant experience, I would rather raise funds on my own.”

Mdm Wong’s Shelter was registered as an NPO last December. Its NPO status permits the shelter to raise funds and be eligible for full tax exemption.

A donor to the shelter and a volunteer, Mr David Brown, said that, while the directors have agreed to stop fund-raising, this facility on the shelter’s website has yet to be removed.

The allegations began in early March, after the euthanisation of Wander – a dog which had suffered serious physical abuse.

After Wander’s death, donors wanted to find out from the shelter’s directors what happened to the S$27,639 collected for the dog’s care.

Donors said the directors met with them in mid-March and produced a brief financial statement, which showed that S$4,152.80 had been used for Wander’s care, but the rest of the funds were not accounted for. The donors found that unsatisfactory.

A promise by the directors to provide donors with a full breakdown in 30 days has yet to be kept.

When contacted by MediaCorp, Mr Ray Yeh, a full-time volunteer who takes care of the fund-raising, confirmed that he had agreed with Mdm Wong last week to get the shelter’s NPO status relinquished.

Mr Yeh said he would produce a full audit of the shelter’s finances but “it will take at least five to six months”, adding that he complied with regulations on the collection of funds.

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