Maria Sanchez says she used about half of the Internet-donated funds to pay for the dog's shots, neutering and kennel fees so the 2-year-old pit bull mix could go home with his owner, Dave Thomas.
But Sanchez says Thomas wanted the rest of the cash in a lump sum and she refused to do that, so she has decided to refund the remaining money to the people who gave it or give them the option of having it donated to help more local animals.
Thomas had no idea the story of losing his dog to a shelter would go viral. It started when he was arrested last Friday for failure to appear in court for two traffic violations. Police called animal control to take his dog, Buzz, to the San Bernardino City Animal Shelter.
Thomas was told he needed to pay $400 in shelter fees to get Buzz back. Thomas could not afford it.
Sanchez, a dog lover and photographer, was at the shelter at the time and snapped a picture of a sad-looking Thomas. She posted the picture on her Facebook page and soon complete strangers were pledging money to help Thomas get his dog back.