Over the last year, thousands of people followed Obie the Dachshund’s inspiring journey as he lost over 50 pounds with the help of his owner, Nora Vanatta.
Nora Vanatta saw Obie’s story in 2012 on the Facebook page Oregon Dachshund Rescue, Inc. A relative posted a plea stating that Obie’s caretakers could not keep up with the health issues of the 7 year old, 77 pound dog. Vanatta decided to apply her degree in animal science from Colorado State University and her 12 years experience as a veterinary technician to develop a diet regimen for Obie to bring him to a healthy weight.
Over the last year Vanatta documented Obie’s transformation on a Facebook page, which currently has nearly 339,000 likes. Through the page, Obie’s supporters have donated an estimated $75,000 toward his special food, skin surgeries, merchandise, and eventually Vanatta’s legal bills which accumulated from a custody battle over Obie.
After Obie began receiving extensive media attention, Oregon Dachshund Rescue attempted to sue Vanatta for custody of Obie through the Washington County Circuit Court, citing that Vanatta had misused the donations she received for Obie.
Although Vanatta was quickly granted full custody of Obie, an investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice’s Charitable Activities Section began in January to determine how Vanatta spent the generated funds.
Reflecting upon the investigation, Vanatta admitted, “I thought this would be really easy to take care of.” She thought the investigation was the result of a misunderstanding and could be resolved within a brief meeting.
However, after nine months and more than $11,000 in attorney fees, the case finally came to a close October 21 when Vanatta signed an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance through the Multnomah Circuit Court.
The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance stated that Vanatta denies the allegations made by the Department of Justice and “specifically denies that (she) has violated the Charitable Solicitations Act and the Unlawful Trade Practices Act.”
By signing the Compliance statement, Vanatta also agreed to comply with new terms in regards to the donation money. Among other conditions, she agreed to cease receiving any and all donations for Obie, to not say or imply that funds are needed for Obie’s care, and to not say that the Department of Justice approved of any past activities.
Furthermore, all remaining funds, totaling approximately $13,000, will be immediately donated to charities including Fences for Fido, Husker’s Hope, Portland Animal Welfare Team, Lovers Not Fighters Pit Bull Rescue, and DREAM Dachshund Rescue.