MEDIA RELEASE: Court Disbands Troubling Wayne County Animal Rescue Following Cruelty Allegations

MEDIA RELEASE: Court Disbands Troubling Wayne County Animal Rescue Following Cruelty Allegations

WAYNESBORO, Miss. (November 19, 2021)In Defense of Animals, an international animal advocacy organization that operates the Justice for Animals Campaign and Hope Animal Sanctuary in Carroll County, attended Wayne County Justice Court Thursday in support of volunteers and individuals involved in what is reported to be a poorly managed and unacceptable rescue for animal companions and is pleased with the outcome.

Photos and video of the Wayne County Animal Rescue.

In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Campaign Director, Doll Stanley was contacted by a past board member of Wayne County Animal Rescue (WCAR) in Waynesboro for advice regarding concerns about alleged issues ranging from theft to dog shootings. Stanley met with a group of individuals who had volunteered, been board members and caregivers for the director’s young adult sons. 

The hearing was for Jasmine Felps and Destiny Mcilwain, caregivers who formerly cared for the sons of WCAR director Yvonne Pounds Mills, also known as Kathy Graham Mills. Felps and Mcilwain testified that while in the service of Mills’ sons, Mills requested that they help with WCAR’s rescued animals.

What Felps and Mcilwain witnessed while volunteering their time to help the animals shocked them. They independently documented what they knew to be abuse and neglect of the rescue’s animals. 

Felps and Mcilwain do not stand alone with her concerns for WCAR’s animals. In Defense of Animals has learned that Yvonne Mills’ husband Ryan Mills has been charged with beating and shooting dogs. Yvonne Mills countered the charges of animal cruelty that Felps and Mcilwain filed against her. 

One recent feud is over the disappearance of 34 dogs. Mills has reported that the dogs were transported to another rescue but she will not divulge the details, and the claim has not been substantiated. 

Hub City Humane Society of Hattiesburg has also helped the rescue, recently taking 17 dogs for care and adoption.

In Defense of Animals attended a recent meeting where concerns were voiced regarding land donated to WCAR that may be being misused, and about the placement of WCAR’s adoption center on a separate property to distract people from seeing where the animals are really kept.  

Judge Ralph Smith ordered the rescue disbanded, and required the current animals be surrendered to a regional shelter. He also banned the Mills from possessing animals for 15 years, with an exception for their own animals, which will need to be verified. Ryan Mills was fined $1,000 and given a 30-day suspended sentence.

Counter charges against Felps and Mcilwain were also dismissed.

“We applaud the bravery of those who came forward to help these animals who had no one to speak for them, and thank the judge in this case for ensuring no more will suffer the way they have in the Mills’ supposed rescue,” said Stanley.

In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Campaign has saved thousands of animals, assisting through cruelty investigations, strengthening laws, and enforcing animal cruelty statutes and ordinances in the mid-south for 29 years.


Contact: Doll Stanley,, (662) 809-4483 

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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in California with over 250,000 supporters and a 38-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

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