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

Categories: Courts

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Kibodeaux says he was just trying to help out a friend, only to get sucked into a lawsuit.
Here's an e-mail from Kibodeaux to Lydia Caldwell (with Walther copied):

I did a Vet check and their my in laws so I know their yard is secure and their are no other dogs in the home. I will see Juno for the rest of his life and will have them send pictures as soon as he acclimated into the new home.

Shelby Kibodeaux

ANIMAL WARRIOR

Kibodeaux sent that e-mail on July 11, two days after Juno was put down.

On July 17, eight days after Juno was put down, Kibodeaux e-mailed Jeff Caldwell:

Juno is in a fantastic place BUT with 1 phone call I can have him flown to Houston. I'll pay half to keep my Friendship with y'all. The cost of shipping a dog between ABQ and IAH for $385.00(with crate costs included) $192.50 is half......when shall I have the dog shipped back and y'all can pick him up in cargo port at IAH. Let me know how to move forward

The signature line, as usual, includes "ANIMAL WARRIOR."

It seems that Kibodeaux expected the Caldwells to balk at the money, because after they agreed to pay it, Kibodeaux cut off contact.

But Kibodeaux was pretty chatty with us.

"I lied to Lydia and to her husband to buy time for us to see if we could find that dog," he tells Hair Balls. "That's all we did. That's all I did."

He adds that he truly believed Walther when she said Juno was lost.

"We couldn't find the dog, and then the next thing you know...we're getting sued for emotional distress and all kind of other bullshit," Kibodeaux says, overlooking several weeks worth of desperate e-mails from the Caldwells, begging for information about Juno.

He says of Lydia Caldwell, "She's asked me to help her get jobs over the last...five or six years in the animal community, and I've tried. I've tried to be nice to this chick, and now she's suing us."

He continues: "She's just doing this for money. And you know what else is pretty shitty? She tried to have us all served at the [CAP] gala....It's just ridiculous, and the only reason she's jacking with me is 'cause I'm somebody in the stupid animal rescue, you know? [sic]"

Kibodeaux stopped being chatty after a while, when we started asking questions about why he didn't come clean with the Caldwells before he was contacted by their attorney. Instead of answering questions, he threatened legal action. Because that's what people do.

I will say this and then my conversation with you is finished- whatever you print about me Or bruce better be factual and true because if not, you WILL hear from our Attorney. Feel free to say what you want but make sure you can factually prove it of your gonna print it.

As for Walther, she says she was "instructed" not to talk, but she wouldn't say by whom. And then she said something that made us feel like we'd gone completely through the looking glass; like we'd been sucked into some forlorn corner of the world where logic and basic human decency go to die: She said she no proof that Juno was dead.

"Everything in [the lawsuit] is without merit, and I haven't done anything wrong..." she says.

She urged us to do some fact-checking, because then we'd find out that the real story isn't reflected in the lawsuit. And, as is pretty much rote in these situations, she doesn't indicate where these "facts" can be found.

And then she introduces the Shyamalan Twist: "I do not know if Juno was put down or not. I have never seen a document saying that. I have not spoken with anybody at CAP....According to the state, they can't release that kind of information. So I have not asked...that would be overstepping my boundaries....Hand to the Bible on that one."

But then how does she explain her July 21 e-mail -- the one stating "Juno has been adopted"?

Like this: "I knew he was in a place where adoption takes place. A shelter that I believe in....It was a reputable shelter." Spoiler alert: She wouldn't provide the shelter's name.

Strangely enough, Hair Balls was able to determine that Juno had, in fact, been euthanized -- something we thought that all the defendants would have stipulated to, like the world being round. But we underestimated the depths Walther was willing to go to. Here's an e-mail from CAP's shelter director, Jessica Ellis Marks, to Lydia Caldwell, sent August 26:

On July 8th, 2012, a member of the public surrendered a blue and white Pit bull mix named Juno. At the time of surrender, this person was informed that due to skin conditions which required treatment, we could not place the dog up for adoption and that by surrendering, he was at a high risk for euthanasia. The person completed all of our forms and stated that they would not be able to treat. At that time, we decided it would be best to house the dog overnight in hopes that they would redeem and treat the dog with our assistance. By the end of the day July 9th, we had not been contacted about treating the dog, so members of management made the unfortunate decision to humanely euthanize him.

Now how about that. The person who surrendered Juno was told that they were pretty much sentencing the dog to death, and they just dumped him there anyway. Now that's what we call a real animal lover.

As for Kibodeaux's assertion that the Caldwells filed the lawsuit as a money-grab, the Caldwells' attorney, Christiana Dijkman, points out that suing over a dead dog in Texas might not be the sure-fire get-rich-quick-scheme Kibodeaux apparently thinks it is. For one thing, she says, a dog's value in Texas is perhaps a few hundred bucks. And while there is now case law that allows plaintiffs to sue for emotional damage, the dollar amount, should it go to trial, is entirely up to the jury.

And what of Lydia Caldwell, who never actually met Amy Walther, but spoke with her on the phone. (She says her husband is the one who met with Walther and checked out her home).

"The reason I decided to trust her with Juno is because she told me she had been a volunteer for CAP for six years," Caldwell says. "She was retired from being a business owner for 20 years in the travel agency business. She lives in a good area...she said all the right things. She has dogs of her own. She had fostered before. She sounded completely normal and like someone who I could entrust a puppy to for a little while until I found him a home."

She also tells us, "The last thing I want, really, is to be sued for libel or slander, which is exactly and precisely why we are using the legal system so that we can legally expose these people." She adds that, in the event there is a significant monetary award, she would likely establish a trust in Juno's name, to cover fostering or health care costs for other pups in peril.

She's baffled as to why Kibodeaux didn't immediately get the word out about a lost dog (back when he first allegedly thought Juno was lost) or ultimately come clean after his "buying time" plan didn't work.

"He most certainly didn't think to be honest and just tell me, 'Hey Lydia, I understand that Amy has been fostering for you. I have to tell you, we've been looking for this puppy for the last day or two, and I simply must share with you: it is lost, and we need your help.' Nobody ever came forth to say anything. Nobody."

She says, "We will forever mourn Juno. Because what happened to him [was] tragically unnecessary. We were there for him. We were his backup. I was telling Amy, 'I want to pick him up on the 11th.' She never got back to me with a time....She didn't respond to my calls, she didn't respond to my e-mails. But I told her several times, 'We intend to pick him up on the 11th.' And what does she do on the 8th? She turns him in to a kill shelter, signs off on a piece of paper that says 'We can, and most likely will, euthanize this dog.'"

One last interesting point: Lydia Caldwell needlessly apologized for being "emotional" in her conversation with us. She explained that she is saddened by the loss of Juno.

We didn't get that from Kibodeaux or Walther. We got a lawsuit threat from one, and a suggestion that Juno might actually be alive from the other.

If dogs have friends like these, who needs enemies?

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17 comments
concernedinhouston
concernedinhouston

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. 

lydia4barc
lydia4barc

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: Lydia4barc@yahoo.com 

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
bgpets

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.

bcauseimthemom
bcauseimthemom

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.

mach38331
mach38331

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

lydiacaldwell2010
lydiacaldwell2010

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: Lydia4barc@yahoo.com

plci2
plci2

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

nokillhouston
nokillhouston

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. http://www.nokillhouston.org/legislation/texas-capa/

mjersey4
mjersey4

What a sad and very disappointing story.

craig.malisow
craig.malisow

@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.

bls137
bls137

@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”. http://www.nokillhouston.org/houston-kill-shelters/citizens-for-animal-protection/

lydiacaldwell2010
lydiacaldwell2010

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

lydiacaldwell2010
lydiacaldwell2010

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!

bls137
bls137

@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. (www.NoKillNews.org) 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.

bcauseimthemom
bcauseimthemom

@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. 

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