Pet rescue groups outraged over Amazing Pet Expo’s handling of money

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ST. LOUIS – Pet rescue groups all across the United States are accusing a St. Louis woman of pocketing their money for nothing in return.

They say Sheila Rilenge, who runs Amazing Pet Expo, has been making false promises about conventions. Now the company’s planned convention in St. Charles has just been cancelled.

The Amazing Pet Expo had a convention scheduled in St. Charles for October 28 and 29. It was canceled after about 1 p.m. Thursday for “unforeseen circumstances” involving the St. Louis-based show promoter.

St. Charles now joins Tampa, Chicago, Sacramento, and Portland on a growing list of cities where pet businesses planning to exhibit may be out the money meant for their animals.

Rachel Davis said her Vancouver, Washington non-profit Lily’s Pad Rescue is out a $300 booth fee, plus hundreds more in supplies for the event.

“Everything that we do at Lily’s Pad Rescue is medically fragile, so each dog that we bring in has some sort of surgical need,” Davis said. “I don’t know if you have any dogs, but surgery on dogs is not cheap and we are completely donation based.”

She’d paid for a booth at a Sacramento convention run by a St. Louis woman. Davis said the convention center told her Rilenge’s company never even booked the event.

“I was feeling scammed and then it turned into just sheer disappointment and then anger,” Davis said. “I didn’t find out until October 3 for an event that was supposed to take place on October 15 and it wasn’t even their company that notified me.”

Davis fears she won’t get her money back. Amazing Pet Expo recently vacated their office building on south Hampton, according to neighbors. You can see desks inside and a ‘For Sale’ sign out front.

Problems with their conventions date back to 2014, when our sister station in Sacramento reported Amazing Pet Expo canceled an event because of the story the nation was watching.

A victim who wanted to remain anonymous said, “The president of the company saying the show’s been canceled due to the violence and unrest in Ferguson.”

Court records show a long list of businesses who’ve won judgments against Amazing Pet Expos.

The record lists and $18,562.45 awarded to Texas Exposition Services.

It lists a $30,260.79 judgment payable to AAA Flag and Banner.

It also lists a $173,458.41 judgment due to Telecheck Services.

Fox 2/KPLR 11 tried reaching Sheila Rilenge in person, by phone, and through her attorney. She hasn’t responded. The St. Charles convention is now cancelled with just nine days before it was set to begin.

We’ll expect to hear from many more people with complaints in the coming days.

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