In part two of “When is a Rescue Not a Rescue?“, I detailed how a few French Bulldog fanciers, working together, discovered that Wendy Faith Laymon (or is that Faith Layman? She has so many names on the go, it’s hard to tell) was behind the new “rescue” group, ‘Rescue a French Bulldog‘.
A background search on Wendy turned up some disturbing news – a history of puppy milling, with convictions for poor care of her dogs, licensing violations, and a host of other charges. Even the USDA finally said “enough is enough”, and suspended Wendy’s license until 2012. Considering the kinds of filthy conditions that the USDA doesn’t seem to have a problem with, you’re left fairly staggered when you contemplate just how bad Wendy Laymon’s kennels had to be to piss them off this severely.
I still felt as though something was missing – some essential piece of the puzzle I just didn’t understand. How was Wendy still up and operating, if the USDA had suspended her license? What was the point of Rescue a French Bulldog, other than a way of pimping out her “B” stock French Bulldogs? Until all of this, I was unaware of the way that someone could use a 501(c)3 charity to game the system – but Wendy wasn’t.
Here’s where we introduce Miss B. Miss B was Wendy’s long time web designer, and knew more about Wendy Laymon than almost anyone else alive. She already had a website up and running, detailing Wendy’s numerous cons and scams. When the news about Wendy Laymon and Rescue a French Bulldog broke on Facebook and the various Frenchie mailing lists, Miss B offered up some more information on Wendy – including the story behind just exactly how “Rescue a French Bulldog” operates.
From the BulldogsBeware website:
So why would a breeder want to start a rescue all of the sudden? Well, you see here in Missouri they’ve just passed Proposition B in November, which now regulates large scale breeders and discourages puppy mills. Breeders are not allowed more than 50 breeding females (Wendy Laymon has, last I know, over 60 French bulldogs and around 20 English bulldogs), buildings must be ground level and not stacked (hers are stacked and the bottom level is about 3′ off the ground), dogs must be allowed unfettered access to an exercise area (read the True Stories links on this website) among other things. However, this new law applies only to large scale breeders like Wendy Faith Laymon, not to shelters, kennels, rescues, etc.
Here’s the magic, let’s say I’m a licensed breeder and I have 75 breeding females. I also have a licensed rescue, along with nonprofit status. Obviously 75 females is too many for the new law, not to mention under the new law I may only breed any one female twice in any 18 month period, that really limits the optimum number of litters I’m able to produce. What do I do now? I know, 50 of these dogs are in the rescue! Now I only have 25 breeding females. More magic! If I breed a female twice, I just put her in the rescue, pull another one out of the rescue and throw it into my breeding program. I can now breed this other dog twice! This way I never go over the allowed number of dogs, don’t have to upgrade ALL of my now illegal dog houses and can still breed to the maximum number of litters! (Especially if I were to have my own progesterone machine to boost efficiency, like Wendy Laymon has.)
Running her business as a rescue does more than just allow Wendy Laymon to game the local and USDA licensing laws (and circumvent that pesky ruling banning her from having a USDA license until 2012). Being a 501(c)3 Charity also allows Wendy Laymon and “Rescue a French Bulldog” to rake in money, tax free.
Where to begin. Let’s start with the obvious, let’s have a look into the actual nonprofit filing with the state, which you can find at this address:
Notice anything strange? I do and that is that Wendy Laymon’s name is nowhere to be seen. Luther Kemp is an attorney specializing in business law, as far as I know he is not the person running Rescue A French Bulldog. What do you imagine the benefit would be from doing this? I can think of a couple of reasons:
1. Her name is tarnished. Googling her name returns a healthy collection of complaints, which somebody is doing a hilariously novice job of covering up with cute little essays about how great Wendy Faith Laymon’s breeding program is, tips for raising dogs and other stories glorifying her name. Well, if her name is on the nonprofit paperwork, it would take about 2 seconds to connect the dots. Instead, it took the French bulldog community about 2 days.
2. The most interesting for those of you who find her rescue disturbing.. You see, with a 501(c)3/nonprofit, you cannot pay your board of directors, such as the president, vice president, etc. However, you can pay service providers, employees, etc. So let’s say Wendy Faith Laymon vaccinates the dogs herself, poof, she’s a veterinarian. Say she does some paperwork, poof, she’s a secretary. The contributions and adoption fees to Rescue A French Bulldog can now go toward “administrative costs.”
In other words, running “Rescue a French Bulldog” as a 501(c)3 charity allows Wendy to game not only the USDA, but also the IRS. She no longer has to declare income from ‘selling’ French Bulldogs – instead, she’s merely an employee of the rescue, entitled to fees or a salary for “caring for” the very dogs she herself bred. Pretty slick, huh? Not only that, but Wendy can now solicit “donations” for the care of these dogs (her dogs), which she can then pocket in the form of ‘fees’ for the services she provides to her own dogs.
In layman’s terms, this is like you or I setting up a donation box to “help the poor doggies”, and then using the money to pay yourself a salary every time you walk your own dogs or buy them a sack of kibble – and you can write it all off, because *poof!* – you’re a charity.
Personally, this is what I find most galling. While the real rescues out there are struggling just to keep their heads above water, and beginning to see a future where the doors will be shut to the Frenchies who have the most serious (and expensive) health needs, Wendy “Faith” Laymon is sucking up donation dollars from well meaning Frenchie fanciers, and putting those donations into her own pockets. If that doesn’t piss you off, Wendy is doing all of this while touting her Christianity (hey, she’s so religious she gave her self “Faith” as a middle name – or was that just to try and distance herself from all the criminal charges?). Why is it that every time some dog breeder tells me how much they love Jesus (and how mutual the feeling is), I inevitably start looking for the rabbit hutch full of starving dogs?
Of course, this hubris is what has ultimately been Wendy’s downfall.
Bad breeders? None of us like them, but we’ve learned to pretty much shrug and ignore them as best we can. But imitating a rescue – at a time when the real French Bulldog rescues are full to the brim with dogs who came from ‘breeders’ just like Wendy Laymon?
Uh uh. No way. There’s a certain line in the sand that you just don’t cross – and Wendy Laymon crossed it. When she did, she found the eyes of our entire community trained on her, and on her operations. We’re on to you, Wendy – and we won’t stop until everyone knows just what you are, and what you’re doing.
Wendy Laymon and Rescue a French Bulldog – “When is a Rescue Not a Rescue?”