Tuesday, September 4, 2012
South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond announced last week that his office has filed a petition for injunctive relief against the Berkeley County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a charitable organization based in Moncks Corner.
Berkeley County SPCA conducts business under the name Doc Williams SPCA.
The petition filed with the South Carolina Administrative Law Court alleges that Doc Williams SPCA is operating in violation of the South Carolina Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act.
According to the petition, Doc Williams SPCA was fined $8,000 in 2011 for failure to maintain its registration with the Secretary of State’s Division of Public Charities and for failure to file annual financial reports dating back to 2007.
The petition alleges that Doc Williams SPCA entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) in which it agreed to comply with the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act and to file all required reports; however, according to the petition, Doc Williams SPCA has not filed financial reports for fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011, and is currently suspended from soliciting funds in South Carolina.
“The Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act protects charitable donors by requiring charities to file annual financial reports with the Secretary of State’s Office,” said Secretary Hammond. “This transparency aids the public in knowing how its charitable dollars are used.
“When a charity fails to file financial reports for three consecutive years, this office has no choice but to seek an injunction to require its compliance with the law.”
The petition for injunctive relief seeks to enjoin Doc Williams SPCA from soliciting charitable contributions until all delinquent financial reports are filed and until the organization is properly registered with the Secretary of State. The petition also seeks the payment of all outstanding fines, which presently exceed $4,500.00.
Secretary Hammond encourages South Carolinians to verify the registration status of all organizations soliciting charitable contributions, and to review a charity’s financial disclosures before making a donation.
This information may be found on the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.sc.gov, under “Charity Search.”
Citizens may also obtain information about charitable organizations soliciting in this state by contacting the Division of Public Charities at 1-888-CHARITI (1-888-242-7484).