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      Volunteer group seeks missing donation

      After the Lucas County Pit Crew helped Kirby, a pit bull who needed surgery after being hit with a gun shot to the chest, the volunteer group looked to the community to help pay his medical bills.

      George Mouratidis has owned the Ideal Hot Dogs franchise on Alexis Road for more than 30 years. He is an animal lover, and wanted to help Kirby after hearing his story.

      In a series of emails exchanged between Ideal Hot Dogs employee Nicole Royce and Jean Keating with the Lucas County Pit Crew, Royce said the restaurant would donate two dollars for every dozen hot dogs sold. A separate email from Royce also said that George, â??Would like to donate $100 dollars towards Kirbyâ??s medical bills.â??

      In a police report dated October 23rd, police responded to an alarm at Ideal Hot Dogs. George Mouratidis affirmed that an unknown suspect gained entry by breaking the glass on the front door and stole the donation jar that was intended for the Lucas County Pit Crew. Mouratidis told WNWO, the tape captured by three security cameras was investigated by police, but did not help to positively identify the suspect.

      However, Keating says she was never contacted about the break-in, and only found out after following up with Royce in an email about how the donation was going.

      â??It just seems that if I was doing a fund-raiser to help an organization, I would want to work with that organization to make it right,â?? explains Keating.

      Keating made her frustrations public on November 10, when she posted to the Lucas County Pit Crew Facebook page, â??I am sorry to report that the Ideal Hot Dog (Alexis Store) fundraiser appears to have been a scam. If you went to the store and donated, you might consider talking to the owner about why the donations were not given to the Lucas County Pit Crew.â??

      Royce has worked with Mouratidis for eleven years, and says he is â??The best person ever.â?? She continued, â??Heâ??d give the shirt off his back for anybody.â??

      Five years ago, Mouratidis helped Royce through a personal issue, raising over $600 for her. Other employees told WNWO of numerous other charitable contributions George has made to the community. Now, George and his employees feel they are being unfairly judged in this situation.

      â??We have to constantly tell customers that weâ??re not scam artists,â?? said Royce. â??We shouldnâ??t have to tell that to anybody.â??

      In light of the burglary, George Mouratidis is still offering the Lucas County Pit Crew a check for $100 to go towards the care of dogs in the future.