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Mitchell not mugged in Philippines as phone email suggests
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Local resident and Paul’s Clinic founder Villa Mitchell is suffering a range of emotions over an email that has people believing she has been mugged and is stranded in the Philippines.
“I’ve had phone calls from people I have not heard from in years,” said Mitchell. “People in Massachusetts and all over Tennessee called me. It is nice to know if I ever was actually in need, so many people would step up to help. I figured they would just say, ‘Leave her there. What do we care.’”
Causing the problems is an email marked “Help Needed Urgently! ...... Villa Mitchell.” The email goes on to tell the recipient Mitchell went to the Philippines, was mugged at gunpoint, and needs $2,700 to return home.
Mitchell says she is unsure how her email address and contacts were obtained.
“I don’t know how this happened except that I’ve received four or five emails in the past few weeks that were also scams. Those emails did not contain messages, only links to click on that would take me to another site. I did not click on the links. I just hit delete.”
Mitchell is the president of Paul’s Clinic, a local pet facility run by volunteers that offers low-cost spaying and neutering to reduce the number of unwanted animals. Its efforts are funded by donation and grants, which allows the clinic to offer vouchers to reduce the cost of the procedure.
Recently, the facility received a combined $3,600 from three grants.
Feeling happy people care about her well-being is mixed with embarrassment.
“I can tell you it is annoying and embarrassing,” she said. “This email was apparently sent to everyone I had ever emailed from this account. I’ve had that account for several years, so a lot of  people got the email. It’s bad enough for it to go out to friends and co-workers, but I hated for it to go to businesses and foundations that issue grants for animal-related work. I’m sure they were not impressed.”
Looking on the brighter side, Mitchell is attempting to turn lemons to lemonade to benefit animals.
“I’ve been telling everyone to go ahead and send the $2,700 I supposedly asked for and it could be used at Paul’s Clinic to spay and neuter pets for people who can’t afford to have their pets fixed,” she said. “I wouldn’t ask for help for myself but I will for the animals. The more pets we fix, the fewer pets will be having unwanted litters and the fewer pets will end up in kill shelters or animal control.”
Paul’s Clinic is located at 3893 Nashville Highway near the airport. For more information about volunteering, vouchers, grants or making a donation, call 668-2702.