Randolph County officials are warning residents to be alert to a scam involving tickets to a non-existent charity dinner.
According to reports, two youths in the area have been selling tickets for a chicken dinner supposedly benefiting the Randolph County Humane Society. However, the RCHS is not promoting any such dinner and the two youths are not affiliated in any way with RCHS.
On Thursday at 3:54 p.m., the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management released the following alert: "Please do not purchase any tickets for a chicken dinner that is for the Randolph County Humane Society. This is a scam! Please contact the Elkins Police Department if any subjects are in your neighborhood or business trying to sell these tickets."
According to a post on the RCHS Facebook page, the two young men sold tickets to a local resident. The tickets had no name or organization listed. The youths said that information was "private." The tickets aroused suspicions, and the Elkins City police were notified.
Lt. S.D. Richards of the Elkins City Police Department explained Thursday that, while some suspects have been identified, the matter is still under investigation.
"If you encounter these individuals, you should keep interaction to a minimum," Richards said. "Report any suspicious behavior to the police immediately."
RCHS officials said they are disappointed that con artists are trying to make money from the community's support for their agency.
"It saddens all of us who donate to the shelter that individuals would take advantage of the good nature of those who try to help homeless animals," said Mary Ann McDonald, the president of the RCHS. "We feel confident that law enforcement will handle this matter appropriately and those involved in this scam will be punished.
"If you purchased tickets or have any knowledge pertaining to this incident, please contact the Elkins City Police Department" at 304-636-0678, she said.
Even though the RCHS is not affiliated with the scam in any way and will not under any circumstances receive funds collected in a fraudulent manner, the shelter is currently above capacity and in need of some financial support from the community. Any donations of cash, dog or cat food, litter, blankets, toys or treats can be made directly to the shelter.
For more information about the Humane Society, check out the shelter's Facebook page, or the official website at www.rchs-pets.org/adoptions.aspx.
Anyone interested in being a member of the Humane Society, and helping provide ongoing health care for dogs, puppies, cats and kittens in the area, can fill out the membership form online and mail it to P.O. Box 785, Elkins, WV, 26241.
Contact Chad Clem by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.