Volume 74, Number 47 | March 30 - April 05, 2005

Villager photo by Talisman Brolin

From left, Barbara Ross, holding Mickey, a 9-year-old, blind poodle, and Eddie Sanchez, with Emilinda Narvaez, Earth Angels president, holding Peanut, a 31/2-month-old terrier, at the Union Sq. Petco store.

‘Angel’ hopes to give jackpot to animal rescuers

By Zachary Roy

When possibly thousands of Daily News readers thought they won $100,000 in the newspaper’s Scratch ’n’ Match game two weeks ago, most of them undoubtedly fantasized about new cars or exotic vacations. But 73-year-old Eddie Sanchez’s first thought was how he could help others.

Sanchez immediately took his ticket to the Earth Angels Canine Rescue booth at the Union Sq. Petco store. Earth Angels is an organization that takes abandoned dogs off the South Bronx streets, nurses them back to health, and finds loving homes for them.
Facing mounting debts owed to veterinarians and kennels, the donation was a dream come true for Emilinda Narvaez, founder and president of Earth Angels. But the dream became a nightmare the next day when the Daily News announced that they had printed the wrong winning numbers and therefore would not pay up. The paper blamed the company that runs the contest for sending them the wrong number to publish, but that was no consolation to Sanchez, Narvaez or the other would-be winners.

For Sanchez, his choice of charities was a matter of quid pro quo. “You helped me when I needed help and now I want to help you,” he told Narvaez. A few months ago, Sanchez had been asking people on the streets for money so that he could pay his rent. Narvaez gave him $100. Sanchez, expecting no more than a quarter here or a dollar there, was so touched by her generosity that he began to volunteer at Earth Angels on a regular basis. Narvaez continued her financial assistance and even helped Sanzhez find a more affordable apartment.

When Sanchez brought the ticket to the Earth Angels booth, he handed it to volunteer Barbara Ross, who lives nearby in the East Village. “We sat in the van going through our debts of over $70,000 that we would be able to pay and we sort of broke down,” Ross said. “It was overwhelming.”

She went on to say that their debts are so high that even had the contest results been valid, they might not have been able to pay everyone back. “One of our boarders we owe the most money to has threatened to kick us out,” Ross said. “And the winter months are our slowest in terms of donations, so it makes it really difficult to keep up with the $1,000 a week we owe in veterinary, transportation and boarding expenses.”

As a result, Earth Angels is putting out a special plea for donations to save the dogs that might now be forced back out on the streets if they are unable to pay the kennel bill. Others are rallying to the organization’s aid, like Dr. Daniel Giangola, a veterinarian who has continued to help without pay.

Ross said the last she heard, there will be a redrawing of Scratch ’n’ Match in July for those who had winning numbers on the cards with typos. The whole pot is $1 million.

“We still have the ticket and we’re definitely going to enter it,” Ross said.

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