Good samaritan clears tax bill for Sarpy County animal shelter

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 6:35 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A story sure to touch your heart. It’s about an animal shelter that is rescued through a miracle of timing.

Paws R Us is a sanctuary for unwanted cats.

Betsy Newman with Paws R Us said, “We’ve probably saved hundreds.”

That’s given Betsy Newman another life of caring after almost losing hers.

“It exploded and the door and everything that’s when I got on fire,” said Newman.

It happened five years ago when Betsy turned on a propane pool heater.

Her long and painful recovery isn’t done.

“There are scars over my eyes that were all burnt. There were a lot of forms to read and we overlooked a portion of it that said a certain form had to be filled out every year,” said Newman.

That cost the animal shelter its $14,000 tax exemption for last year and Betsy appealed to the Sarpy County Board by showing her story.

Jim Warrant, Sarpy County Commissioner said, “It was a pretty touching presentation when you look at what they have been through and this is all by a clerical error. They just did not get it in in time.”

But Betsy was told the law doesn’t allow the county board to forgive the shelter’s tax bill of $14,000.

But then this sanctuary that specializes in saving animals had a savior. Another taxpayer sitting and waiting their turn to protest a small tax issue, heard Betsy’s story and made a major announcement.

“How much does Paws R Us owe? I’m going to take care of it for you and I’m going to take care of your attorney fees.”

Jay Smith with Paws R Us Animal Shelter said, “It was just like this angel came along and I’m going to help this. I think they saw Betsy’s passion and love she has for animals.”

The woman who put up the money for the shelter’s tax bill asked not to be identified but I called her for Betsy.

“I am so grateful and thankful for you; you are a miracle to me.”

Betsy will always remember the good Samaritan taxpayer who saved the animal shelter from tax debt.

Laurie Dillon, the Paws R Us manager said, “This woman just happened to be on the same date they had their hearing, it’s just amazing.”

And shelter manager Laurie Dillon won’t let Betsy forget the deadline for a yearly exemption.

Sarpy County commissioner Jim Warren says the filing by non-profits for a yearly tax exemption is unnecessary paperwork. He says the animal shelter’s tax bill is on hold until the board can research state law for an appeal. The attorney for Paws R Us says the donated money is in a trustee account awaiting the outcome.

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