Boggs Mountain Humane Shelter facing closure

FOX 5 I-Team investigates

Boggs Mountain Humane Shelter facing closure

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RABUN COUNTY, Ga. -

Frustrated by a huge drop in donations, the Boggs Mountain board of directors has announced the shelter will close its doors by the end of October.

Board members hoped to turn around the Rabun County shelter after the FOX 5 I-Team caught the former shelter director misleading donors and ordering healthy dogs put to sleep.

The last time FOX 5's Randy Travis visited Boggs Mountain, board members tried to sound the alarm.

"I'm concerned that we'll have to announce in a month or two that we're permanently closed," said board member Kirk Knous.

Two weeks later, their worries have come true. Unless donations take a dramatic turn, the state-of-the art animal shelter in the north Georgia mountains will close its doors October 31, ending what was once considered one of the most successful private no-kill shelters in the state.

"We're one of the best in the state...This is just so upsetting. So upsetting," said Knous. "We want to save the animals"

But the damage was always to the animals. FOX 5's hidden camera investigation exposed how former director Lowanda "Peanut" Kilby collected cash donations from the public, promising the dogs or cats they sponsored would not be euthanized. She had many of those so-called Lucky Dogs and Cats killed anyway -- sometimes with donors even getting a note tricking them into thinking that dead pet was actually in a wonderful home.

Kilby is now the subject of GBI and IRS investigations.

The board fired Kilby last month and volunteers began running Boggs Mountain, caring for the animals left behind. A big adoption event over the weekend found homes for 14 of those dogs, but the board chairman says monetary donations have slowed to a trickle, and they need roughly $30,000 a month to cover the costs for the million dollar facility.

Some blamed the board for not keeping a better eye on what their director was up to.

"I think the board failed in its duty to oversee the day-to-day activities of the shelter, yes. Did it fail in its mission to save animals? No," said board member Danny Benson.

Board members thought they had tight financial controls. Kilby wasn't allowed to write checks or access the PayPal accounts for Boggs Mountain.

"We've authorized two PayPal accounts to be set up and both of those are automatically  deposited into our checking account," said Knous.

But some donors told the FOX 5 I-Team that Kilby directed them to deposit donations into a third PayPal account, using an email address unknown to the board. That development is now part of the GBI's investigation.

Boggs will also be ending its yearly $175,000 contract to manage the county animal services. That means commissioners will have to find someone else to pick up stray animals in the county while Boggs searches for some way to salvage the work of well-meaning people over the sins of the few.

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