Donation to animal shelter labelled 'Isis' sparks terrorism alert

PayPal freezes the £2 donation, made for a golden Labrador named after the Egyptian god, and contacts the donor

Isis: not a terrorist
Isis: not a terrorist

A £2 donation to an animal shelter sparked a PayPal terrorism alert because the donor labelled her gift "for Isis" – the name of the dog it was intended to support.

Dunroamin K9 Rescue in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, had appealed for donations to fund medical treatment for the 10-year-old golden Labrador, who had been brought to them when her owner, who has since died, was no longer able to care for her.

A donor responded to the appeal, sending £2 and writing in the note section "for Isis", causing PayPal to freeze the donation and get in touch with the donor to investigate.

Lynda Owens, the founder of the shelter, told Third Sector: "The donor contacted me and said PayPal had been in touch with her and asked her what the connection to Isis was.

"It took a few days for them to unfreeze it and release the funds to us."

Owens, who has been rehoming dogs since 2008, said it had never occurred to her that the dog’s name would cause a problem. Isis was named after the Egyptian goddess and has a brother, also named on a classical theme, called Nero.

The dog’s name has been changed to Alice – but only on paper, Owens said, because it wouldn’t be fair to change her name at her age.

In a statement, PayPal said: "Government regulations require that payments companies, including PayPal, scan all payments for terrorist and other references.

"We do everything we can to eliminate references that have nothing to do with terrorism, such as in addresses and pet names, without compromising our compliance obligations."

Owens said Isis was still looking for a home.

"If this brings attention to the dog, then that’s great," Owens said. "Because ultimately what we want for her is a home."

The rescue centre would be open to rehoming her anywhere in the country, Owens said, but added that Isis would be best suited to a home where she was the only dog, because "she can be a bit of a madam around other dogs".

Anyone interested in offering the dog a home should contact the rescue centre through its website.

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