Shelby Kibodeaux and Amy Walther: "Animal Rescuers" Lie About Finding a Home for a Dog Who's Already Dead

Categories: Courts

Juno on couch.JPG
Courtesy Lydia Caldwell
You know what wouldn't suck? If this little dude were still alive.
This is a story about a puppy who was needlessly euthanized by people who claim to be big animal rescuers in Houston, who appear to have perpetrated a lie, and who were dumb enough to put the lie in writing.

At center stage, really, is the dog: Juno. A stray pittie, twenty-odd pounds when found, with an unknown skin condition -- possibly allergies. Juno's found by Jeff Caldwell around June 1. He'll die on July 9, but we'll get to that later.

Caldwell and his wife Lydia are referred by a fellow animal rescuer to a woman named Amy Walther. A volunteer with Citizens for Animal Protection. The deal is, Walther will foster Juno, and the Caldwells get a chance to screen any potential adopters. But when Lydia Caldwell says she's ready to take Juno back in early July, Walther surrenders him to CAP, and then tells her buddy Shelby Kibodeaux that Juno is lost.

Kibodeaux, who recently co-chaired a fundraising gala for Citizens for Animal Protection, tells Caldwell the dog was adopted by a woman in New Mexico. Now, Kibodeaux's a big name in animal rescue. He's also a big self-promoter -- the kind of dude who you see a lot of in society pages and websites. He spins a glorious yarn for the Caldwells about how Juno is living it up with Kibodeaux's in-laws in Santa Fe. Or wait, is it Albuquerque? Kibodeaux and Walther can't seem to nail it down. Lydia and Jeff Caldwell express dismay and try to get the dog back. Of course, the dog isn't in New Mexico. He's dead.

Now there's a lawsuit over alleged fraud, and a string of e-mails so mind-blowingly disgraceful, that show how at least two adults participated in a needless death, and a cover-up attempt whose stupidity ascends to the sublime.

Here's the nitty gritty: The Caldwells are suing Walther, Kibodeaux, Kibodeaux's partner Bruce Padilla, and Kibodeaux's relative, Natalie Bustillos, for fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Walther, et al, would have gotten away with their plan, too, if it weren't for the fact that the Caldwells are not four years old, and are also in possession of circulatory systems that allow the flow of blood in order to oxygenate fully functioning brains. And it was because of this absence of hypoxia that they came to realize that something was really, really wrong. They came to realize that Walther and Kibodeaux were totally and utterly full of shit.

For one thing, Kibodeaux already admitted to Hair Balls that he lied to the Caldwells when he told them Juno was in New Mexico. He had to admit it, because he knows he was dumb enough to leave an e-mail trail. But what he does when he admits it to Hair Balls is, he throws his pal Walther under the bus. He says she told him Juno was lost, and he had no reason to believe she was lying, so he makes up the New Mexico story to buy time. In the meantime, he says, he and Padilla scour Walther's neighborhood for more than a week, looking for Juno, figuring he'd turn up eventually.

Here's what Kibodeaux and Padilla don't do: They don't immediately use their vast network of concerned animal rescuers to distribute a photo and description of the dog. They don't post fliers. They don't visit shelters. Pretty much, whatever it is people do when they lose a dog, they don't do it. See, they can't, because they've already spun this cockamamie story about New Mexico, and if the Caldwells find out it's a lie, Kibodeaux and Walther will have egg on their face, and a yolk-covered mug don't look good in society pages. See, they've got airs to maintain, people. Airs that are more important than some dumb stray dog.

If you've made it this far, you can quit after reading a single e-mail, sent by Amy Walther to Lydia Caldwell -- with Kibodeaux copied -- 12 days after Juno was euthanized. It was sent because the Caldwells had desperately been trying to get pictures of Juno in his new home, and then trying to get Juno back after they realized something wasn't right.

Juno has been adopted. THIS IS OVER All contact ends now. Please do not continue to harass Shelby, Bruce, or me.

We are prepared jointly to take legal action against you for harassment and slander

Now how 'bout that?

OK, so now you know what kind of people we're dealing with. But the string of e-mails leading up to that apotheosis of asshole-ishness is an almost equally fascinating journey into mystifying human behavior.

My Voice Nation Help

I'd just like to say there are many and I mean MANY of us in the rescue field that know "Mr. Kibodeaux" for who he really is...A limelight loving drama queen/king. I believe Shelby has the best of intentions in most cases but nearly every word that leaves that well constructed mouth is false. 


Hello, @bgpets  

First of all which year did this situation allegedly happen in and are you absolutely certain you have the right Lydia and/or if you're holding the right person accountable?  The reason I'm asking is because I have ZERO recollection of begging for feral cats in an apartment attic.  It's entirely possible that I cross-posted about such a situation for someone else, but bear in mind that I cross-post THOUSANDS of animal pleas every year, so there's no way I can recall most of them, due to sheer volume.  And, since I do change my e-mail address every 2 - 3 years due to the amazing volume of spam I acquire, it is possible you could have been e-mailing an old e-mail address of mine, which would explain why you didn't get responses.  However, you're also claiming that you are still on my e-mail distribution list, so it doesn't sound as if that's the case.  I can assure you I respond to my e-mails.  I don't hide from or shun anyone who e-mails me. 

Also, the reason I ask if you have the right Lydia or are holding the right person accountable is because I have NEVER had any ties or connections to ANY cat sanctuaries.  So, why would I tell you or anyone that I had a cat sanctuary lined up for these cats????  I'm not a liar.  The only thing I might tell someone is for THEM to "google" cat sanctuaries and see if they can get a cat in somewhere, if that's what they're wanting to do.  Personally, I don't EVER try to get animals into "sanctuaries" because most of them eventually become overwhelmed and go out of control.  The ONLY animal sanctuary I hear is excellent (I have never been there) is BEST FRIENDS in UTAH.  Again, I have ZERO connections with them or any other cat sanctuaries. 

Please do feel free to put me in touch with the lady with the three feral cats.  I would be happy to cross-post them to my contacts.  Frankly, that is about all I can do for them.The only dealings I've ever personally had with feral cats are the feral cats I fed for 4 years at a Wendy's, without any help of any kind from anyone.  When one died and another one disappeared, I decided to place them.  I was able to place 3 of them with a lovely lady in Bellaire and I brought the other 3 home with me (I still have them and LOVE THEM!!)  Other than that, I am mostly involved with dog rescue. 

I do NOT have a "bgpets" on my e-mail address book, so if you're on my address book, it's clearly with another name.  Since you don't seem to like me very much, I would be more than happy to remove you from my e-mail address account, but you will first need to tell me who you are.  And, you don't need to do that on this comment section.  You can simply e-mail me at: 

Again, I'll be happy to cross-post these feral cats you are referring to.  That's pretty much all I can do for them.  I do not know of or, therefore, recommend any cat sanctuaries.  Never have. 

Have a great day! Lydia Caldwell

bgpets 1 Like

I wish Lydia had shown as much interest in recovering the feral cats that I've now had for three years. She begged for help trapping the mother and kittens in the attic of an apartment complex. She also needed a temporary foster. Lydia said she had already made arrangements to place the cats at a feral cat sanctuary. I had some cat traps and some spare time. I assumed all the veterinary expenses for 5 cats. I contacted Lydia when the cats were ready to move but she didn't return a single email. Strange how I can't seem to get off her mailing list to this day. 

Hey, Lydia, if you change your mind about these feral cats, I can put you in touch with the person who has three of them. I'm keeping the other two as a reminder not to trust you animal rescue people.


@bgpets Hi bgpets -- this comment section is meant for responses to stories and is not intended to be used as a soundboard for irrelevant personal squabbles. Please respect that. Thank you.


Seriously, No kill Houston?  They should have refused the (obviously) mentally unstable lady?  CAP is the cream of the crop as far as your "kill shelters" (as you like to call them) go.  Yes, the staff member could have refused to take in the animal, but that isn't the stuff animal rescuers are made of.  Intake is one of the most challenging jobs in the shelter, and you really have to use common sense and your best judgement with each individual animal that is brought in.  If this woman was willing to walk in to the shelter with this dog, lying the entire time about the dog's situation, and if she was in cahoots with the notorious Shelby Kibodeaux, she probably gave off a pretty crazy vibe.  It was explained to her that this dog was NOT adoptable in it's then current condition.  CAP isn't the sort of organization that just takes the animal and doesn't consider the situation or try offer alternatives.  Intake staff, while maintaining the entirely false guise of not hating the idiot that is trying desperately to give up responsibility for an animal, explain thoroughly the likelihood of euthanasia, the lack of foster homes with room for more, especially large puppies with skin conditions, as this is NOT a short term foster.  Skin conditions are tricky.  Is it contagious, genetic, hereditary, contagious?  She probably also threw good old SK's name around, because he tells people that he is a big deal in the animal rescue community.  Truth is, true heroes in the rescue community are unsung.   They feel too much responsibility to these animals to refuse one when somebody is saying that they won't care for it anymore.  When the dog leaves out that door, his fate is out of your hands...but no more certain than when he walked in.  Where does the (already desperate to rid herself of the responsibility) lady take him next?  By accepting the dog into CAP's care, his safety is assured.  You might argue this fact, as dead doesn't necessarily equate safe in your mind.  I assure you, however, that there are fates far worse than a gentle death.  The heroes are sometimes the ones that are compassionate enough to make sure that if it must be done, it is done with dignity and compassion.  Until there are not more homeless animals than there are willing and able homes for them, euthanasia is a sad reality.  There is no such thing as a No Kill Shelter in Houston, Tx.  What there is a lot of is shirking responsibility.  CAP has gained the fine reputation that they have by always trying their best to do the right thing.  The right thing is seldom the easy way out.


@bcauseimthemom Part 1 “By accepting the dog into CAP's care, his safety is assured” That is simply insane. Killing a treatable puppy is not “assuring his safety“. It is killing him. And killing a treatable puppy the day after they take him in is NOT rescue. It is time that we stop calling equating killing with rescue. It is not the same thing. If they knew that the only option that they had for that puppy was to kill him, then YES, they should have refused to take him in. Killing should NEVER be the only option. But you seem to think that it is. Maybe if CAP had refused to take the puppy, then the whackjob woman would have returned him to the Caldwells. CAP gave her an easy way out.“Cream of the crop”? Seriously? They are KILLING at least 52% of all animals that they take in, and they aren’t even an Open Admission “shelter”. The kill rate at the city pound is at 57.8% and they ARE Open Admission and take in a lot more animals than CAP does. Yet, CAP’s KILL rate is only 5% less than the high kill city pound. I hardly call that “cream of the crop”.


@bcauseimthemom Part 2 CAP has kept it “fine reputation” by keeping their kill rate a secret from the public. This is a kill shelter killing thousands of animals every year, but they refuse to be honest with the public about these animals. We’ve asked for the intake/outcome records twice but they refuse to produce them. Citizens should be extremely concerned about a kill shelter that refuses to tell the community exactly how many they are taking in and killing.

This is a kill shelter that has refused to implement the No Kill model of sheltering that is allowing 80 Open Admission shelters, to save 90% to 98% of all animals. Five of those Open Admission, No Kill shelters are right here in Texas. ( If those 80 shelters can stop killing, why are you making excuses for any of the kill shelters in Houston who continue to kill 80,000 or more every year? It’s not like they don’t know about the model. We’ve brought the international No Kill expert to Houston twice to teach everyone how to stop shelter killing. We sent all of the directors of the kill shelters free tickets, but none of them could be bothered to attend.


@bls137 @bcauseimthemom Unless you have spent time working in the shelters, there is NO way to understand the reality of the situation.  No Kill is a lovely philosophy, and nobody WANTS to euthanize any animal ever, but when there are the tens of thousands of animals being euthanized in Houston every year, where would you propose those mass numbers go at the end of every day?   Until spay/neuter is the norm, the supply far outweighs the demand.  It isn't like that, if every animal that came into a shelter each day found a home by the end of that day, that there wouldn't be MORE the next day.  No matter how much you preach no kill, there are still the crazy number of homeless animals to deal with.  Living out life in the confinement of a cage isn't an answer either.  Again, as far as compassion and people that care, CAP excels. 


Does anyone know how much money CAP netted at their annual gala?  Net and gross are two different figures.

lydiacaldwell2010 1 Like

Craig, thank you for your interest in this very tragic, sordid story.I just wanted to add a couple of things. First of all, my husband andI are not primarily suing the Defendants for emotional distress, thatis only one of five categories we are suing them for. The maincategories we are suing them for is for: FRAUD, CIVIL CONSPIRACY,THEFT LIABILITY and CONVERGENCE. THOSE are the reasons that led us toretaining an attorney.

I also wanted to add that Shelby Kibodeaux must have me confused withsomeone else because he and I have literally only met twice in person.I have NEVER, even once, asked him to help me get a job. He, however,in an e-mail, about the time this whole situation with Juno, began,offered to "get me in" with the company he works for, after Imentioned that I hadn't worked a job in several years (BY CHOICE) andcould really use a part-time job (yes, my husband and I are part ofthe struggling middle class.) He never got back to me on that andcertainly never "got me in." So, his comment about trying to help findme a job for the last 6 years is beyond perplexing.

I have many, many more comments I would love to make, but I'm going tozip it because the Petition speaks for itself. Anyone who would liketo see the Petition, may contact me at:

plci2 1 Like

How do we get this on FB so that others may be aware of these so-called "rescurers"?

lydiacaldwell2010 1 Like

One thing you can do is go to the facebook page, Justice for Juno.  This page will keep up with developments on the lawsuit.

nokillhouston 4 Like

It should also be noted that this so-called "shelter" is not an Open Admission shelter, meaning that they can say NO to intakes when they are full. They did NOT have to take Juno and they should not have taken him when they knew full well that they were going to kill him.  There are so many other alternatives that they could have offered, but they didn't. They just killed that puppy the next day and didn't even give the dog a chance at a adoption, foster care or rescue. Just killed him. Obviously, they didn't check to see if the whackjob was the real owner of the puppy either. How much checking could they have done in one day before they got out the needle and poison. It is totally disgusting and this is NOT, NOT, NOT sheltering.

This is the perfect example of why we are trying to change shelter laws in Texas so that the laws PROTECT animals from kill shelters and whackjobs like this. Anyone could turn in an animal and lie about owning it. It should not be legal to kill owner surrendered animals immediately. Owner turn ins should get the same amount of time as strays.... in case vindictive neighbors or crazy whackjobs do something like this.

Laws like Texas CAPA would at least give these animals the same amount of time in "shelters" before being killed so that their true owners would have a shot at finding them. Find out more about Texas CAPA on No Kill Houston's website.

lydiacaldwell2010 1 Like

I completely agree, Bett, this is NOT sheltering.  That is a huge misnomer in most cases.  I think of these places as kill facilities, not even kill "shelters."

You're right.  Laws need to be put in place to protect animals from the way too many whackjobs there are out there!

mjersey4 1 Like

What a sad and very disappointing story.

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault