Indictment of former Rabun County animal director applauded

FOX 5 I-Team investigates

Indictment of former Rabun County animal director applauded

Posted: Updated: Sep 5, 2013 10:03 PM
RABUN COUNTY, Ga. -

People who donated money to save animals in Rabun County applaud a grand jury's decision to charge the former shelter director with theft.

The 60-count indictment for Lowanda "Peanut" Kilby came after a FOX I-Team hidden camera investigation into the shelter's so-called "Lucky Dog" program.

Authorities accuse Kilby of diverting at least $10,000 into her personal PayPal account and wrongly killed at least 28 of the dogs in the program.

One of those was Matt Rains' dog, Lola.  He had to give her up because she kept jumping over his 6-foot high fence.

"All these dogs -- they shouldn't be dead right now," Rains said. "They didn't deserve to be put down. They didn't deserve to be murdered by her. And I'll be honest with you, $140 is what I paid. And she killed an animal for that."

Rabun County District Attorney Brian Rickman said that he and his staff worked hard to come up with a way to also charge Kilby with animal cruelty. But because the dogs and cats were put to sleep and not tortured, he said that Georgia's cruelty statute would not apply.

Rains said, "I don't really understand how it's not animal cruelty. They killed an animal that wasn't supposed to be killed. But just because it was the nice way of killing that animal --  it just doesn't make sense to me.

Kilby surrendered to authorities on Wednesday. She was booked and fingerprinted before being released on $100,000 bond.

Despite a new board, a new director – even a new name – what the FOX 5 I-Team uncovered last year continues to haunt the shelter. Donations are down, but animals are way up.  In fact, they're at 200 percent capacity right now because Rabun Paws 4 Life refuses to put down any animal just for space.

That makes the group a true no-kill operation. They're hoping the criminal case that started in this building will ultimately convince people the luck here has changed for good.

"I think it will go a long way towards letting people know that, hey, some horrible things happened but there's some good people up there now that are making a positive change and are doing things right up there." said Rabun Paws 4 Life director Chris Simmons.

Kilby was the only one indicted in this case. Authorities decided not to prosecute Lynn Cousins, the shelter worker who tipped the I-Team off on the Lucky Dog scam after she says the board president ignored her complaint.

Cousins says she was ordered by Kilby to send letters to donors falsely claiming their dog or cat had been placed into "a wonderful home today."

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