Hundreds of dogs and cats rescued from deplorable conditions get a second chance

Posted at 10:02 PM, May 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 23:17:00-04

LEBANON, Tenn (WTVF) — A couple charged in animal cruelty after nearly 200 animals were seized from their properties entered a plea agreement Wednesday. Donald Schoenthal and Tara Neutzler pleaded guilty in Carroll County court each on one felony and 3 misdemeanors of animal cruelty.

Now the emergency shelter that took the animals are getting them ready for a second chance with new families.

“We've gotten to know each and every one of them that have been in our care,” said Michael Cunningham, shelter director.

But for more than a year it wasn't always waggy tails and cuddles for these dogs, cats, rabbits and even the chinchillas.

“The animals were all either starved or underweight. You got a large number of internal and external parasites,” said Cunningham.

It was back in April of 2018 when Carroll County investigators remove nearly 150 animals from the home of Donald Schoenthal and Tara Neutzler. And while the pet breeders were being investigated for animal cruelty investigators discovered more crimes and another 42 plus animals at another property owned by the couple in Putnam County.
Nearly 200 animals in total now in the care of this emergency shelter who has so far spent a half a million dollars in caring for them.

“I believe justice will be served,” said Cunningham.

Part of their agreement Schoenthal and Neutzler surrendered their animals over to Animal Rescue Corp and they agreed to never own animals for 10 years.

“We're going to place them with their placement partners which are a group of rescues and shelters all around the United States,” Cunningham said.

Where these little ones will get a second chance at a better life. Cunningham says the shelter is in desperate need of donations.

Schoenthal and Neutzler are scheduled back in court for sentencing in July, tonight they're out on bond.