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The Lucky Dog Rescue Fraud

Last December, we asked whether Lucky Dog Rescue was a scam. After examining the 2012 990-EZ form for the organisation, we are now confident we can answer that question in the affirmative.

To date, Ashley Owen Hill, the co-founder of Pet Pardons, and founder of Lucky Dog Rescue in Meridian, Mississippi, has received no less than $296,329 in donations and grants. (See below for the detailed financial tables.)

While this includes the $100,000 she “won” from the 2012 Chase Community Giving Program, despite very serious allegations (and significant evidence) that she cheated in the contest, most of the donations were likely small, perhaps given in memory of a lost loved one. This appeared in The Meridian Star on August 13, 2013:

MERIDIAN — Services for Steven Michael Johnson will be held today with a 10 a.m. Mass at St Patrick Catholic Church with Father Frank Cosgrove officiating. Robert Barham Family Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Burial will be at Magnolia Cemetery. Mr. Johnson, age 54, died Friday, August 9. Memorials may be made to St Patrick Church/School, 2601 Davis St., or Lucky Dog Rescue, PO Box 3224, Meridian, MS 39303 or a charity of your choice.

These people expected that their money would be used to take care of “lucky dogs,” but unfortunately, it seems that is not the case.

Here’s how the money (or at least, $146,766 of it) has been spent so far:

  • $76,282 on salaries and related payments (Lines 12, 13, plus payroll taxes). The distribution of this money is not disclosed, but it is entirely conceivable that 100% of this money (minus the payroll taxes) went to Ashley Owen Hill, for the 20 hours of work per week that she claims to do.
  • $30,191 on rent (Line 14), which is odd, considering that the address given in these forms appears to be Ms. Hill’s own home address. It certainly appears that Ms. Hill may be, in effect, paying rent to herself, in a city
    with an ordinance that limits the number of dogs per household to three.
  • $26,333 on “supplies” (Schedule O), a rather nebulous term that could conceivably include many things entirely unrelated to dogs.

There are a variety of much smaller expenses listed as well, including Veterinary Fees (Schedule O), at only $5,286 in 2011, and $0 in 2012. You read that correctly. According to its own 2012 990-EZ form, this dog rescue “charity,” which had $99,252 in the bank at the end of 2011, then raised another $73,474 during 2012, and “won” another $100,000 in 2012, spent $0 on veterinary fees in 2012.

Even if you’re feeling generous, and assume 100% of the $7,398 in “professional fees” listed in Line 13 went towards veterinary fees, that still represents only 6% of total expenses in 2012 ($123,163).


Lucky Dog Rescue Revenues and Expenses

2011 2012 2013 Total
Revenue (Line 1) $122,855 $73,474 $100,000* + other donations $296,329

* This is the $100,000 grant from the Chase contest that was “won” in 2012, but awarded in early 2013, and so will (presumably) appear in the 2013 990-EZ form.

Expenses 2011 2012 Total
Salaries, Other Compensation, and Employee Benefits (Line 12) $4,545 $59,839 $64,384
Occupancy, Rent, Utilities and Maintenance (Line 14) $3,940 $26,251 $30,191
Supplies (Schedule O) $8,040 $18,193 $26,233
Professional Fees and Other Payments to Independent Contractors (Line 13) $7,398 $7,398
Veterinary Fees (Schedule O) $5,286 $5,286
Payroll Taxes (Schedule O) $4,500 $4,500
Depreciation (Schedule O) $514 $3,101 $3,615
Insurance (Schedule O) $1,641 $1,641
Fuel (Schedule O) $88 $1,529 $1,617
Printing, Publications, Postage and Shipping (Line 15) $556 $540 $1,096
Organizational Costs (Schedule O) $500 $500
Website Fees (Schedule O) $65 $115 $180
Bank Fees (Schedule O) $69 $35 $104
Meals (Schedule O) $21 $21
Total $23,603 $123,163 $146,766

We have previously asked a number of questions of Ashley Owen Hill, all of which have gone unanswered. But since these questions simply need to be asked, here are a few more:

  • How many dogs did you rescue in 2012?
  • How is it possible that you spent $0 on veterinary fees in 2012?
  • Who received salaries, other compensation, employee benefits, professional fees and other fees in 2012?
  • What property are you renting?

We do not expect answers.

In fact, we don’t expect her to say anything, as she’s largely disappeared from the internet lately.

Her last Facebook post was on September 19, 2013, begging for donations, as usual.

Her last tweet, on August 9, 2013, may provide some insight into her thinking: “You can run. You can hide. But you can’t deny your reality.”

Increasingly it appears the “reality” of Ashley Owen Hill is that she is a fraud artist, just like her associate Jeromie Williams.