Judith Gardner, the president and CEO of the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA, released the following statement on Thursday:
We have had a few inquiries from those who would like more information on AAWL's relationship with Eric Wolfe and Project 22. Our involvement with Eric and his program, Project 22, began in October, 2015 and ended mid-March, 2016.
As many of you know, Eric presented himself as an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who suffered from PTSD and a brain injury due to an IED (roadside bomb) explosion when he was with a military canine training program. He also stated in interviews that he had received a bronze star.
This week it was revealed that Eric Wolfe never served in the military. According to news reports, Eric used falsified documents (from another veteran) to obtain a veteran's drivers' license and license plates. He was arrested on 3 counts of forgery on June 7th. There is apparently an ongoing investigation concerning additional fraud charges.
AAWL is a victim of this deception and considers it a reprehensible act of the worst kind. We have nothing but the highest regard and utmost respect for the honorable men and women (and dogs) that serve, or have served, in our military. Our intention in providing support to Project 22 was to help veterans who could benefit from a companion animal at no cost to them. During our involvement, there were only 4 veterans involved in the program.
After we determined that the veterans, and the dogs chosen for the program, were not being well served, and Eric Wolfe was not living up to our written agreement in providing high quality services to them, we parted company on March 14, 2016. Shortly thereafter, Eric announced that Project 22 had moved on to One Love Pit Bull Rescue. That organization has also broken all ties to Mr. Wolfe.
All donations received for Project 22 during this time frame -- October 2015 through March, 2016 - were devoted to that program. We provided a final profit and loss statement to Eric as we parted company, showing that we had spent all donations that were designated to Project 22 on that program, and we had a negative balance of more than $3,000.00 in that account.
Any monies that might have been given or sent directly to Eric without our knowledge would not have gone through our accounting system, and should be reported to authorities at 602-712-6291 or, anonymously, at 602-277-5684.
President and CEO
June 9, 2016