The Barefoot K9 Project in Homerville, Georgia is a charitable organization offering service dogs for veterans, disabled adults and children. It all sounds very admirable and philanthropic, however many clients who relied on the project told Action News Jax in Florida that they have all been the victims of a money-making scam that has spanned across Georgia and Alabama.. Now, the organization’s founder Cecil Allen Brown (alias) Moose Brown) and his partner Coleen Miller are allegedly on the run.
Sheila Weaks, a resident of Lacy’s Spring, Alabama knew something was wrong when her son Samuel never got the dog that had been promised him. Sheila heard about The Barefoot K9 on Craigslist and sent an email to them explaining Samuel’s needs and was happy when she received an immediate response. Once an application was filed, she and her son were approved. However, the Barefoot K9 Project then informed Sheila the service dog would cost $30,000.00; quite a daunting amount for a lower middle class family.The Project assured Sheila they would not turn her and Samuel away although they were unable to pay. They set up a GoFundMe and RallyUp accounts to collect donations to cover the cost of the dog.
When the time came to get a dog, and start the training process, Samuel was so excited; all he could talk about was when he would meet his new friend and if he could name him. Unfortunately, Samuel, like many others who placed their trust in The Barefoot K9, would never receive his dog.
Coleen Miller, the former director of The Barefoot K9 Project, issued a very disturbing public statement by way of a Faceboook video In her statement, she claimed the organization’s founder Cecil Allen Brown is unemployed and using the money earned from the nonprofit for his personal gain. She displayed on camera some of the receipts for items purchased by Brown including jewelry, handbags, and a Caribbean vacation. She also showed a statement from the bank indicating the non-profit’s account was $1400.00 overdrawn, yet they have collected over $100,000.00 in donations over the years.
Not only was money allegedly stolen from donors and families of disabled children, but dogs donated by breeders have also gone missing. According to one of the breeders, there were 40 dogs at the facility back in October 2016. As of last week, when Sheriff’s deputies went to the property there were only seven dogs remaining; 33 dogs are assumed missing.
According to Action News Jax, a breeder from Hazelhust, Georgia, said she gave Brown four dogs to be trained as service dogs, but later found two of them for sale on Craigslist. In a Facebook post, a woman alleges she donated a dog to the organization to become a service dog was used for breeding instead. She said one of the puppies ended up dying. In another allegation, a dog named Chipella, belonging to a hearing-impaired girl named Cynthia Walker was sent to The Barefoot K9 Project to train as her service dog. Once at The Barefoot K9 Project, Chipella received no training, never went to a veterinarian and had a litter of puppies that died. Now no one knows where the dog is. A reward has been offered to find Chipella and bring her home. Any information on Chipella can be called in to 910-322-9333 or 910-584-2226.
Law enforcement is conducting investigations in both Alabama and Georgia. Sheila filed a complaint with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama for the $2,000.00 she paid to The Barefoot K9 Project. Other families have reported losses up to $15,000.00 according to Action News Jax.Sheila is currently helping families file their police reports. She is also working with the breeders who donated dogs to track down their missing animals and trying to repay businesses, family, and friends who donated to her and Samuel.
Sheila, in an interview with WAFF 48 stated, “There’s a special place in hell for people who take advantage of special needs kids. And that’s exactly what he did.” Cecil Allen Brown has not responded nor commented and is believed to be residing in Homerville, Georgia.