After carefully reviewing 9 years worth of Gentle Giants IRS 990 Tax Returns for the years 2003 - 2011 (download 990 Forms
below) , here are some of my thoughts:
If you read or hear any of the media that Burt Ward publicizes about GGR, he is constantly bragging about how many dogs they
adopt out each year. At one point, he had stated that they adopt out 1,000 dogs per year. To back up this claim, a lawsuit
complaint was filed in the County of Riverside against one of the adopters claiming that they have adopted over 10,000 dogs in the
past 14 years. Assuming that GGR was not adopting out that large of a quantity when they first started, over the years the quantity
has increased, it averages out to approximately 1,000 dogs per year. This would actually make Burt Ward's claims to be close to
the truth. And since it IS filed with the County Courts, it MUST be true.
They are now boasting (as of Sept. 2013) to have adopted out 14,000 dogs over the past 10 years. Gee, I guess that averages
1400 dogs per year. So ... I'm going to use that number in my averages.
HOWEVER, based on the 2004 to 2011 returns, they are claiming to have adopted out 200 to 500 dogs year. So which is it?
1,400 adoptions per year, or an average of 350 dogs per year? These numbers aren't even close.
The next observation I made, and having in my possession a number of adoption contracts over the above referenced years, the
average adoption fees for the year 2004 were between $400.00 to $650.00 ; average adoption fees for the years 2005 & 2006
were between $650.00 to $900.00, and almost all their adoptions after 2007 were close to $900.00 per dog.
Based on the estimated amount of dogs adopted per year of 1,400 dogs, this is what I calculate for the following years:
2004 (1,400 dogs x $500 per dog) = $700,000.00
2005 & 2006 (1,400 dogs x $700 per dog) = $980,000.00 each year
2007 - 2010 (1,400 dogs x $900.00 per dog) = $1,260,000.00 each year
2011 seems to have been a bad year for them ... at least according to their tax returns.
(I believe my math is correct. Check the math yourself.)
HOWEVER, gross adoption fees reported on the 990 Tax Returns for those years were MUCH lower than that.
2004 = $222,493.00 reported
2005 = $351,359.00 reported
2006 = $337,160.00 reported
2007 = $284,559.00 reported
2008 = $156,868.00 reported
2009 = $112,120.00 reported
2010 = $104,758.00 reported
2011 = $ 40,821.00 reported ... oops, are all the negative reports all throughout the internet affecting them?
I don't know about you ... but these numbers just don't make any sense to me.
Here's a few more thoughts:
Listed in their very limited itemized expenses, here are some expenses that seem a bit questionable.
Feeding/Cleaning (this is NOT Food) & Food (Food is a separate item)
2004 Feeding & Cleaning (not food) = $31,902 (who are they paying this too?) Food = $9,489
2005 Feeding & Cleaning (not food) = $33,886 (who are they paying this too?) Food = $No data
2006 Feeding & Cleaning (not food) = $35,352 (who are they paying this too?) Food = $27,359
2007 Feeding & Cleaning (not food) = $35,867 (who are they paying this too?) Food = $43,525
2008 (no data)
2009 Feeding & Cleaning (not food) = $515 (what happened?) Food = $41,700
2010 Feeding & Cleaning (not food) = $9,883 (who are they paying this too?) Food = $$15,352
2011 Feeding & Cleaning (not food) = $4,581 (who are they paying this too?) Food = $5,676
Questions that come to mind:
1. Who are they paying to feed & clean? They ONLY have volunteers ... very few, and most of them quit after a few months. They
DO NOT hire anyone.
2. They receive free dog food from manufacturers when they are "stale dated", are often seen at food banks to get free dog food,
AND 2007 & prior, they required the adopter to donate a bag of dog food when they adopted a dog. So, why are they paying so
much for food when they get it for free?
IF they were in compliance with the City of Norco Conditional Use Permit (which according to the City ... they are) then they are
allowed to have a maximum of 55 animals on their premises at all times. So, based on that quantity, they are only feeding 55 dogs
each day. IF they paid full retail price for each bag of food (averages at $20.00 per bag for the food they feed ... I personally have
witnessed Burt feeding their "herd" Pedrigree dog food), and 1 bag will feed 1 dog for 30 days, they would need to purchase 55
bags of food per month for their dogs. IF they actually did buy the food, then the approximate amount they would be spending is
$13,200.00 per year, not $32,000 to $36,000 as claimed in their 990s. However, that is not the case. Most of the food is donated
to them by manufactures that have stale food and can’t sell in retail stores.
Vet Care per dog (based on 1,000 dogs per year):
2004: $44,564 = $44.56 per dog
2005: $57,690 = $57.69 per dog
2006: $51,816 = $51.82 per dog
2007: $71,279 = $71.28 per dog
2008: No data
2009: $30,843 = $30.84 per dog
2010: $37,761 = $37.76 per dog
2011: $27,366 = $27.37 per dog
YEP ... that sounds about right. At least one thing on their tax returns looks correct.
I guess after 2007 they stopped training their dogs.
But wait ......... Burt and Tracy Ward provide their own training, don't they? In fact, they even sell a "Training and Wellness
Program" Here is a quote from THEIR website:
“We offer our "Gentle Giants Training And Total Wellness Program" semi-annually for $495.00, which provides you with the
following services and benefits for your adopted dog every six (6) months . . .”
They are charging for this service, yet the income from this service is NOT reported in any of their tax returns. Instead they have
Training Fees listed in the expense itemization. So who did they pay for Training in 2005 - $30,159.00 and 2006 - $16,165.00?
2008: No data
2010: $ 5,225
2011: $ 5,675
When dogs are relinquished to GGR, the owner of the dog MUST deliver the dog themselves. There are other occasions that
volunteers will pick up dogs at animal shelters, these volunteers are NOT paid or reimbursed for their time or gas. This is a
volunteer service. So again I ask ... who are they paying for this service?
2004: nothing reported
2008: No data
2009: $ 8,130
2010: $ 4,390
2011: $ 1,648
Burt Ward is a website guru. He maintains his own website. Is he paying himself to maintain his website