By Shannon McFarlin WENK/WTPR News Director
Putnam County, Tenn.—The same couple who were arrested in Carroll County in 2018 on some 300 charges of animal cruelty now face the same charges in Putnam County where they also own property.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the Animal Rescue Corps rescued over 40 animals from their Cookeville home Friday.
Litigation has been ongoing against the couple, Tara Neutzler and Donald Schoenthal, in Carroll County after their Atwood home was raided last year. In the Carroll County case, some 150 neglected animals were seized. In the Carroll County case, volunteers with Animal Rescue Corps have been upset with the ruling in Carroll County Circuit Court which reduced the bond which originally was set at $391,994, a large part of which was supposed to care for the rescued animals. The court ruling reduced the bond to $50,000.
State Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, said, “The same people at the center of the Noah’s Ark animal abuse case in Carroll County are back at it again in Putnam County. These people and the Carroll County case prompted me to write and sponsor my TN PAWS Act to correct major problems with our animal laws in Tennessee.”
According to the Animal Rescue Corps, Putnam County deputies were serving a warrant at their home and discovered animals in ‘deplorable conditions’ and asked them for help with a rescue.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office has charged Neutzler with felony theft and TennCare fraud and the sheriff’s office is still investigating the animal neglect charges.
According ARC, the animals rescued on Friday lacked drinkable water, edible food, and were found suffering from a range of medical issues, including dental disease, ear and eye infections, parasites, overgrown nails, untreated skin infections, pyometra, untreated entropion, and corneal ulcers. At Putnam County, 23 dogs and 19 cats were found either without water or without drinkable water.
A long-deceased kitten was also found in a basket on a shelf. The medical costs alone to treat these animals will be significant, and once again, ARC will have to provide care for an undetermined amount of time.
ARC is continuing to care for the animals seized in the Carroll County case. In the Carroll County case, approximately 43 large and medium breed dogs, including puppies, 37 cats, including litters of newborn kittens, 17 rabbits, 10 geese, eight chickens, six ducks, six goats, five sheep, five chinchillas, four ferrets, and two alpacas were found without adequate food or water. Several dead animals were found around the property including a zebra, a cat, a duck, and the remains of rabbits. There were live animals and dead animals in the same cage. Animals were found running loose and in cages around the property, inside a barn, and in the property owner’s house and garage.