As everyone knows, we here at Gofraudme have a special place in our heart for the plight of shelter animals. We’re also pretty irritated about how animals can be used and abused by GoFundMe scammers to milk hard-earned cash from well-meaning animal lovers. That’s why we’re really excited to tell you about a Buffalo startup just for pets!

According to their About page, Pawraiser is an animal-only, crowdfunding platform created to complement the fundraising efforts of animal shelters, rescue groups and individuals.

Buffalo Business First reports on what makes this concept so unique:

About 7.3 million dogs and cats enter shelters across the U.S. every year and about half of them never make it out – due in large part to the cost of their medical care, said Mark Branden, a local startup advocate who founded Pawraiser. Branden works at Seneca Holdings, the investment arm of the Seneca Nation of Indians.

Animal operations are among the most popular campaigns posted on generalized crowdfunding platforms, but websites like Indiegogo and GoFundMe are not optimized for animal-oriented campaigns and are also conducive to fraud, Branden said. The initial version of Pawraiser’s platform will have specialized features — such as buttons for people wishing to volunteer at local shelters — and it will also work to minimize fraud by verifying each shelter that wants to run a campaign.

Individuals may eventually be able to post campaigns, but that is not currently allowed.

Unlike other platforms, Pawraiser currently only works with select groups, and those groups must be verified 501(c)(3) non-profit. Although the non-profit status does provide an additional layer of confidence for donors, it’s worth pointing out (being the Debbie Downer that we are, natch) that 501(c)(3) status does not automatically mean a group is completely incapable of mismanagement of funds or outright fraud. That said, it is definitely a step up from donating to individuals.

The site is still new but it is up and running, starting with a campaign for a little French bulldog named Rick James.

Rick James

The Friends of the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter group is trying to raise $3000 on his behalf so Mr James can get the soft palate surgery he so desperately requires. This is fairly common for brachycephalic breeds like Frenchies; its too bad a bill can’t be sent to every breeder in Mr James’ line who contributed to his poorly-built airways. But I digress!

What I like about the Pawraiser approach in particular is that it includes a mission statement of sorts from the organization doing the fundraising:

Friends of the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter

We’re definitely interested to see how this pans out for shelter animals. If it saves even a few more lives, then I think it’s well worth it.