The story of a Groves family who turned to friends and strangers to help their diabetic son live a better life has taken an unexpected turn. The saga began when Ryan and Tara McLeod heard about service dogs who could detect if their young son Racer, who has Type 1 Diabetes, has blood sugar that’s too high or too low.
In a wonderful example of charity beginning at home, the community rallied around Racer and collectively donated more than $60,000 to the family, enough to purchase the dog for $20,000 and also establish a fund to help offset the expense of the boy’s long-term care. So far, so good, right? Not quite.
An attorney for Dan Warren, president of Guardian Angels Service Dogs Inc., is demanding that the extra money made by the McLeods’ fundraising efforts go to him. His theory is that because the McLeods promoted the event “as being tax deductible to the donors and for the benefit of Guardian Angel,” Warren and his company are entitled to the excess money raised by the McLeods.
This is wrong on so many levels that it boggles the mind.
Exactly how Warren decided he was entitled to receive $60,000 for a $20,000 dog is not clear, but it does not appear to be a legal claim. The McLeods aren’t taking any chances and beat Warren to the courthouse door, seeking a declaration that they not be required to pay more than the $20,000 already paid for the dog.
To add insult to injury, the dog delivered by Warren does not function as advertised. “We were told we’d be able to sleep through the night and if the dog noticed Racer’s blood sugar change, he’d come and alert us,” said Ryan McLeod. “My wife and I would’ve never gone with this company if we’d known we were going to have to train the dog ourselves.”
Two things need to happen. The McLeods need a dog to monitor Racer at night as promised. Research shows such service animals can be effective when trained for that purpose. That’s why the family wanted the dog in the first place. And Warren and his attorney need to back way off. Any legal claim they think they have to that money – a questionable prospect at best – pales beside the moral imperative of the McLeods’ need to care for their son.
Finally, the Southeast Texas community that rallied to this boy’s side should take heart in their good deeds and not let the actions of this greedy dog merchant sully their actions.