1. Colby Nolan
Above: an artist’s rendition of Colby.
“Pennsylvania Attorney General Jerry Pappert isn’t amused, since Colby is a pet cat and a Texas-based online college allegedly gave the feline a degree for $399.
‘I filed this lawsuit to stop a massive illegal spam campaign that not only defrauded consumers and employers, but damaged the reputations of numerous Pennsylvania businesses across 24 counties and a government office,’ Pappert said Monday.
Pappert’s office used the pet cat to investigate an alleged scheme designed to promote and sell bogus online academic degrees.”
“The regulation of hypnotherapists in the UK is so lax that even a cat can become accredited, the BBC has found.
Chris Jackson, presenter of Inside Out in the North East and Cumbria, registered pet George with three industry bodies.
Each one accepted a certificate from the non-existent Society of Certified Advanced Mind Therapists as proof of George’s credentials.”
“Whether or not she truly is prone to sudden unconsciousness, sifting fact from fiction in the biography of Gillian McKeith – whose website optimistically describes her as a ‘World Renowned Holistic Nutritionist’ – can be quite a task.
In 2007, for instance, she dropped the ‘Dr’ from her name, after her distance-learning PhD in holistic nutrition from the American Holistic College of Nutrition was deemed insufficient to warrant the honorific: the aforementioned institution was not accredited by any recognised educational authority. Meanwhile, the journalist Dr Ben Goldacre called into question the merits of her membership of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. He’d paid $60 to acquire identical certification in the name of his dead cat, Henrietta.”
5. Oreo Collins
“Rescued from a ditch when she was no more than a teeny, tiny ball of fluff, Oreo C. Collins, a 2-year-old tuxedo cat from Macon, Ga., may be the very first in her family to obtain a ‘high school diploma’ — online or off. (Of course, we may never know for sure because, as she wrote in her ‘life experience essay’ portion of the test, she’s adopted.) Kelvin Collins, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia and Oreo’s rescuer, encouraged Oreo to seek her “education,” by taking part in the BBB’s ongoing investigation of online diploma mills.”
6. Tobias F. Schaeffer
Above: A cat, who might be Tobias, hittin’ the books.
“When Tobias F. Schaeffer of Providence, R.I., became a member of the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers, it never entered his mind that he would become embroiled in a lawsuit in Federal court for fraud.
Actually, it is his roommate, Roy C. Schaeffer, who is being sued. Tobias, (the F stands for Feline) is an 8-year-old black and grey tabby. He was listed in the group’s directory in 1986 and 1987, says Roy C. Schaeffer, a 55-year-old appraiser who signed Tobias F. Schaeffer up for membership in the group based in Scottsdale, Ariz.
‘We’d received a number of invitations that virtually offered immediate appraisal certification,’ Mr. Schaeffer the appraiser said. ‘To test it out, I sent $85 for Toby, who had no other qualifications. In a couple of weeks he had a gold-embossed certificate. He even got a window sticker which I mounted over his litter box.’”
7. Zoe D. Katze
“You’d think you’d need a license to practice as a therapist. But the fact is, most state laws allow just about anybody to offer counseling services.
Take psychotherapist Zoe D. Katze.
‘You had your cat certified by the American Psychotherapy Association?’ Acosta asked.
‘Correct,’ replied owner Steven Eichel, who is a psychologist.
All it took was an application and a doctored resume. Why the charade? To prove that it’s too easy for amateurs to be certified as psychotherapists. Like one man who was caught flaunting false credentials in an undercover video.”
8. John I. Rocko
“The Fostoria Police Department may have the most educated police dog around.
Documents filed Monday in Seneca County Common Pleas Court show that John I. Rocko, aka Rocko the police dog, received a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice last year. Not only that, it’s the same institution that police Chief John McGuire’s resume said he received a degree from in 2002.
Attorney Gene Murray, in a motion on behalf of his client, Clifford Green, said he wants the dog to be subpoenaed into court as an exhibit for having received the same degree as Chief McGuire and ‘for giving one pause, if not paws, for concern of what it actually takes to achieve and be awarded the concordant degrees of the dog and John McGuire, both cum laude alumni of Concordia College and University.’”
Above: Interpretation of Lulu and her graduating class.
“Mr Galloway claimed that he had obtained an MBA from a college in the British Virgin Islands in 1996 but it emerged during the trial that it had been obtained from the Internet, the judge said.
Mark Howard, QC, BSkyB’s barrister, illustrated the point by presenting the court with an MBA from the same college awarded to his dog, Lulu.
‘Without any difficulty the dog was able to obtain a degree certificate and transcripts which were in identical form to those later produced by Joe Galloway,’ the judge noted, “but with marks which, in fact, were better than those given to him.’”
“What if we told you that your family dog could graduate from school? Not obedience school, but a program that awards high school diplomas. Sound incredible?
It’s what the I-Team discovered can happen at some private schools that critics say are really diploma mills. And a Texas law is actually helping these businesses thrive.”
11. Sassafras Herbert
Above: a cute pink poodle who might have a degree?
“Membership in AANC and its predecessors has been open to anyone. In 1983, Sassafras Herbert (a poodle) became a professional member of AANDC and Charlie Herbert (a cat) secured professional membership in IANC. Both were household pets of Victor Herbert, M.D., J.D., a prominent nutrition scientist.
All Dr. Herbert did was submit their name and address plus $50. Donsbach reacted to this news by claiming that that professional members in IANC were required to have ‘adequate professional background … either a degree in the healing arts or a graduate of Donsbach University.’
The IANC application had asked four questions on professional background, but ‘Charlie’ had left them blank. Despite widespread publicity of the pets’ entry into the world of nutritional consultation, their memberships were not cancelled. After the AANDC membership year was up, Dr. Herbert obtained a new ‘professional membership’ in AANC by sending $50 plus the name and address of another dog.”
Above: A dog at the end of an era, but the start of the rest of its life.
“On its website, Ashwood University offers to sell everything from high school diplomas to PhDs without the applicant ever taking a single class.
‘No need to take admission exams, no need to study. Receive a College Degree for what you already know.’
An Australian satirical TV program recently obtained an Ashwood medical diploma for a dog named Sonny.
In the ‘work experience’ section of the application, the intrepid TV hosts of The Chaser’s War on Everything said Sonny ‘has significant proctology experience sniffing other dogs’ bums.’”
Above: A dog who could be Wally “studying” a movie on Netflix
“In a 2004 scam an individual named Peter Brancato applied to Almeda University by completing an application with information and credentials that led to his being awarded an associate level degree from Almeda University.
Mr. Brancato later reported it was his dog that was awarded the degree and not him. What Mr. Brancato did not report was that the information on his application was completely fabricated with misleading facts and falsified qualifications.
By creating a fictitious application with the sole purpose of trying to discredit Almeda and then certifying that he is at least 18 years of age and all information submitted on the application was ‘true and correct,’ Mr. Brancato committed perjury.”