Thursday, June 16, 2011

LaBelle Animal Rescue - Cabinet Shoppe Foreclosed

Where Will Diane's Dogs And Cats Go?

LABELLE, FL. -- Clewiston's First Bank is foreclosing on two North LaBelle commercial properties housing Animal Rescue of LaBelle, Inc., a "no-kill" dog and cat shelter owned by Diane Sheppard, and next door, Peter Sheppard's cabinet manufacturing shop. 

The animal shelter has dozens of cats and dogs available for foster care or adoption. Mrs. Sheppard has operated in the Hendry-Glades county area for over two decades using her own funds, loans, donations from the community, and help of volunteers to care for the animals. Unlike traditional animal shelters, Mrs. Sheppard does not euthanize the animals, but cares for them until adoption or fostering.

Animal Rescue of LaBelle, Inc was registered with the IRS as a non-profit in 1993. The 2006 IRS form 990 showed assets of $11 and income and expenses of $65,498. In 2007 assets were listed at $10,000 and income of $50,211. In 2009 income was $61.234.

The shelter's IRS filing for 2010 shows $38,856 income, and expenses $39,009. Expenses included $11,490 for salary, $900 for building maintenance, and $26,619 for "other." Assets were $7,722. (See link below for 2010 IRS Tax Forms Filed)

The 2010 "balance sheet" (actually an expense report) filed with the IRS shows the "other" expenses included $5,184 for mortgage, $4,800 for autos, $8,670 for food, $1,668 for utilities, $1,450 for vet, $1,325 for cleaning mat, $1,104 for cell phone, $804 for phone, and $756 for interest and bank charges.

The IRS form says 200 dogs and 110 cats were saved from "certain death" in 2010 by the shelter, and noting not as many as in past years because of dramatically reduced donations due to the recession.

Hendry Circuit Court records reflect Eurotex The Cabinet Shoppe, Inc., a dissolved corporation of Peter Sheppard, obtained a $122,000 first mortgage from First Bank in September, 2008 on the cabinet shop and animal shelter property, and apparently stopped making payments about August 2009 on a remaining principal amount of $121,108.

A lis pendens was filed in November 2009 against the property, at which point the bank filed foreclosure and refused any further payments from Sheppard.

Why Were Mortgage And Auto Expenses On 2010 IRS Filing?

Because Animal Rescue does not own the property, there should be no expenses for a mortgage. If there were no mortgage payments made in 2010 (First Bank had a mortgage against Eurotex, the actual property owner, and Eurotex reportedly made no payments to the bank in 2010), we wonder why Sheppard shows $5,184 for "mortgage expenses" and similarly because Ford Motor Credit has two judgments this year against the shelter, why is $4,800 for "auto" expenses given to the IRS as shelter expenses?

Animal Rescue of LaBelle, Inc. and Peter C. Stockwell have a final judgement against them by Ford Motor Company Credit LLC filed May 11, 2011 for $20,000, and a second final Judgement by Ford filed June 2, 2011 for $7900.

Hendry records indicate Peter Sheppard's company bought the property for the cabinet shop at 703 N. Bridge Street in November, 2004 for $65,000 from Harold P. Curtis. The lot containing the animal shelter was originally purchased by Animal Rescue of LaBelle earlier but deeded to Eurotex Inc. in August 2002.

Since then, interest, late fees and attorney costs have brought the amount owed to the bank to $144,200 as of September 2010. A foreclosure sale was first scheduled for October 22, 2010, and then moved to May 26, 2011 but postponed again.

The sale of the two commercial properties is now scheduled for the Hendry Courthouse at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 29, 2011.

2010 IRS Form 990 Income Tax Filing - Income and Expenses for Labelle's non-profit animal shelter

Update 6/29/2011: The foreclosure sale took place and 1st Bank is the highest bidder. Apparently the defendant filed two appeals to the District Court of Appeals. The certificate of title from the Clerk of the Court should issue to 1st Bank in 10 days, after which the bank will be able to take possession with the assistance of the Sheriff if necessary.


  1. Anonymous1:10 PM

    Wow no big surprise to any one that knows them, Diane ran the shelter on SR80 near Sheriff range that was later taking over by a Palm Beach county entity and was raided and closed in the past year for animal cruelty . Peter had previously bought a lumber yard on Cowboy Way from Roger Denning and defaulted there also. Also they both operated out of their property in Muse but the neighbors and Glades Country finally shut them down.

  2. The cat shelter story about the shelter closing at SR80 near the Sheriff's range was published in November 2009.

  3. Anonymous1:14 PM

    the fact that diane was saving animals from a cruel death is enough for people to see they are great people its rare to find anyone these times to help animals in need and pete helped by helpin his wife with it its not fair and they shouldnt be getting grief and a hard time for what they have done they should be helped out !!