The ARC, a national organization that rescues abused and injured animals, gets tips from local law enforcement units, who often get their information from members of the public.
The rescue, which took place near Atwood in Carroll County, was initiated by the local law enforcement and came with photos and documentation about the case.
The rescued animals, in what was named Operation Noah’s Ark, included 43 dogs or puppies, 37 cats or kittens, 17 rabbits, 10 geese, eight chickens, six ducks, six goats, five sheep, five chinchillas, four ferrets and two alpacas – all found without food or water.
The ARC sees all levels of neglect and abuse, including chronic illnesses. Right now, they’re going on their fifth month to care for the animals, which often includes extensive medical treatments. They’ve spent close to $300,000 on the Carroll County rescue alone, said Michael Cunningham, spokesperson for ARC. It costs about $70,000 a month to treat and house the animals, he said.
Major sponsors, monthly sponsors and those who give to the rescue are the primary ways ARC gets its money.
So far, it’s had no major sponsors on the rescue, but it does have monthly sponsors, called ARC Angels.
Those who wish to donate can do so at animalrescuecorps.org or on Facebook.
ARC also seeks volunteers to work 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. shifts or half-day shifts from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. or 1-5 p.m. Volunteers must be 18 years or older. To volunteer, email [email protected]
The ARC is based in Washington, D.C., and has facilities across North America. The closest facility to Atwood is in Lebanon in the former Toshiba location. The facility is more than 20,000 square feet and currently houses “anything with a paw,” according to Michael Cunningham, public information officer with ARC.
The facility in Lebanon houses dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets and chinchillas. There are 148 animals currently at the Lebanon facility. Another rescue group, Redemption Road Rescue, houses animals with wings and hoofs.
Although many tips start with the public, the ARC only works with law enforcement and provides its services for free.
When the shelter is empty, they close down and do not operate again until there are animals for which to care.
“We’re not a continuous shelter,” Cunningham said. “We simply hold the evidence on the criminal case. The two people who owned the rescued animals have 300 charges of animal cruelty, and in addition, child abuse. They’re in a lot of trouble.”
The duo, Tara L. Neuzler and Donald Scott Schoenthal, allegedly bred the animals to sell them. When they were found, there was no food or water on the property, and the ammonia levels in the shed were the highest Cunningham and other ARC members had seen in seven years. The suspects have their trial date set for Aug. 6.
When the animals are cured and the trial is over, or the owners haven’t posted a forfeiture bond to get them back, they are turned over to placement organizations that help find homes for the animals. The ARC is not in the business to take adoption fees for the animals, Cunningham said.