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FOX 5 I-Team

Animal shelter allegedly faked pet adoption pictures, letters

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A former Boggs Mountain employee claims this picture was taken to make it appear as if the dog had been adopted. A former Boggs Mountain employee claims this picture was taken to make it appear as if the dog had been adopted.
RABUN COUNTY, Ga. -

A former employee alleges that a supposed no-kill animal shelter staged a picture to make it look like a dog they had put to sleep had actually been adopted.

The board of directors of the Boggs Mountain Humane Shelter suspended the "Lucky Dog" program and put the shelter's director on paid leave after an investigation by FOX 5 I-Team reporter Randy Travis.

The program offered pet owners the chance to pay $100 to guarantee their dog or cat would not be euthanized. However, a FOX 5 I-Team undercover investigation found that not to be the case.

Now, more and more pet owners who thought Boggs Mountain was saving lives are now realizing they donated money only to have their dog or cat killed anyway.

Matt Rains donated his family dog, Lola, a black Australian Shepherd mix, after spending months trying to stop her from repeatedly scratching her way over his six-foot high fence. The Barrow County man drove Lola two hours to Boggs Mountain, thinking she would have a better life.

"Up in the mountains, I figured more people would have more land and there would be more of an opportunity or a chance of her being adopted by a family with a bigger place," said Rains.

He even paid $140 to put Lola in the Lucky Dog program, supposedly guaranteeing she would not be killed and – in fact -- be even more adoptable because all her fees would be pre-paid.

Instead, Lola became one of at least a dozen Lucky Dogs or cats since May who were still euthanized. In fact, according to records FOX 5's I-Team saw, she was killed on the same morning of our undercover visit.

"I would have let them keep the $140. Just give me the dog back. Why kill the dog when I could have taken her and tried again to put her somewhere that she would have lived and lived a long life," said Rains.

"We tell people that they've been adopted to a wonderful home...That's a lie, unless you consider being in heaven that lucky home," said former Boggs Mountain employee Lynne Cousins.

Cousins said that she was ordered to lie to all those Lucky Dog owners and said she stayed as long as she could because she needed the job.

She blames shelter director Lowanda "Peanut" Kilby" for personally choosing which Lucky Dogs should be killed, not because they were terminally ill or vicious, but because they were simply taking up room.

Kilby didn't want Randy Travis to go back to see for himself whether Matt Rain's dog Lola was gone. But Randy did anyway. And both Lola and a second Lucky Dog had disappeared just a few hours after we had seen them alive.

The next day, Lynn Cousins lost her job.

But here's the thing that has people around the world bothered even more: when Matt Rains got home from vacation this weekend, he had a card in the mail. It was from Boggs Mountain Humane Shelter saying, "Dear Mr. Rains. This is to let you know that your Lucky Dog, Lola, was adopted into a wonderful home today."

The letter is dated July 10 – the same day FOX 5 was there.

Over the weekend, the Boggs Mountain Board of directors placed Kilby on indefinite paid administrative leave. They also suspended the Lucky Dog program and closed the shelter until they could do their own investigation. The GBI has already started a criminal probe.

"In the instance of Lola, I have a $140 receipt where I paid to have her put into that program. I have a thank you letter and a letter saying that she had been adopted into a home. And they killed her. To me, that's cut and dry," said Rains.

Matt heard about Boggs Mountain from his neighbor, Susan Ruelle, who always heard great things about the shelter. She's an animal rescuer herself and one time took a beagle up to Boggs Mountain.

The beagle's name was Rosabelle.  Cousins says other Boggs employees took a picture of the dog with the director putting it on the Boggs Mountain Facebook page to make it look like someone had adopted her. But the same day the picture was taken, Cousins says the shelter killed Rosabelle to make room for another dog.

"We've been putting down animals that we've promised people would be alive and be adopted. And we're taking pictures of them in cars as people wave and then we're bringing them in and injecting them with euthasal," said Cousins.

Some Boggs Mountain critics want to know why it took Lynne Cousins two years to finally blow the whistle. She says her daughter was in high school and because of the economy in Rabun County, she had to wait until she graduated this year before risking the loss of her job, as miserable as she says it was. She also said that most of the Lucky Dogs were adopted. She estimated that around 30 percent were killed.

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