JOHN STOSSEL INVESTIGATES COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE SPCA � DOES THE ANIMAL RIGHTS ORGANIZATION SOMETIMES GO TOO FAR BY CONFISCATING ANIMALS THAT AREN�T IN TROUBLE AND RUINING PEOPLE�S LIVES?, ON�20/20,� FRIDAY, JUNE 3 ON ABC
And: Barbara Walters Interviews an Aspiring Pop Star with a Family Name
That�s a Major Handicap � bin Laden;
Plus: Elizabeth Vargas Reports on Model Maggie Rizer, Whose Fortune
Was Stolen by a Most Unlikely Thief
The SPCA is known for their good work in rescuing animals from abusive people. But during a year-long �20/20� investigation, many people told �20/20� that, when they had gotten overextended in caring for their animals, the SPCA, instead of helping them, accused them of neglect, confiscated their animals and sold them within days, keeping the money. One veterinarian, posing as an ABC News cameraman, goes along on an SPCA animal seizure to see how a raid works. John Stossel�s eye-opening report into SPCA�s animal rescues airs on �20/20,� FRIDAY, JUNE 3 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
Dave Garcia, who has confiscated thousands of animals in several states, now heads the Dallas SPCA, one of the biggest in America. On local TV Garcia is often portrayed as a savior, and he has saved a lot of animals from abusive people. But some animal breeders told �20/20� that Garcia has also taken animals unfairly. Ultimately, under his leadership, the Dallas SPCA�s penalties against animal owners have quadrupled. The televised raids have a big effect -- people make big donations after watching such a raid; six million dollars were raised last year. But are all of the raids necessary? Garcia allowed �20/20� to accompany him on a raid last year to a dog kennel he said did not provide adequate food, water and shelter. Will the undercover vet have a different story to tell?
�20/20� investigated numerous cases, including the raid by Garcia of Lynda Williams� animal sanctuary � a rescue shelter for old and sick dogs. She had been warned to clean up her shelter or face animal neglect charges. She says she was nearly done when, with a warrant in hand, the SPCA trucks and TV cameras appeared. All her animals were confiscated � cats, dogs, horses and sheep. �She did not deserve to have her animals seized from her,� says Lynda�s vet, Dr. Robert Wright, who�d done work for the SPCA and had been at the shelter the day before the raid. �There was not any animals being neglected of food. There was not animals being neglected of shelter.� A justice of the peace disagreed and her animals were given to the SPCA, which sold them and kept the money. Williams says she will never get over what the SPCA did to her and complains, �they just steal your stuff and sell your animals.� Garcia says: �I�m not stealing no one�s animals � It�s not about money. It�s about the welfare of an animal.� He also says most complaints are dismissed without a confiscation. SPCAs are separate independent operations located in towns across America.
Plus: Barbara Walters joins �20/20� to report on an aspiring singer with a monumental handicap � having the last name of bin Laden. In an exclusive interview, Wafah Dufour, who was Wafah bin Laden until recently, tells Walters what life is like as the niece of Osama bin Laden and the pressures of baring that family name, especially now as she embarks on a professional singing career.
�My mom is often frightened� she says that some fundamentalists would come and say �Who is that infidel? Who does she think she is?� But at the end of the day I can�t hide. I can�t live in fear of doing what I want to do.� Although she believes her name will work against her, she says that �talent is the most important thing.� And does she have talent? Viewers can judge for themselves in the ultimate audition, as she sings for �20/20.�
Also: In an exclusive televised interview, top model Maggie Rizer talks candidly about how her modeling millions mysteriously vanished. Rizer tells Elizabeth Vargas why she took time off from modeling and how she is handling her comeback. �Life is not easy, and it wasn�t meant to be easy� we�re meant to learn lessons� when someone beats you down, just stand up taller and prouder and keep pushing forward.�
�20/20� is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel. David Sloan is the executive producer.