PUTNAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — Over 40 animals have been rescued and two residents of Cookeville have been arrested after Putnam County deputies discovered at their home what they described as an inhumane breeding enterprise.
On May 10, the the warrants division of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) went to the Locust Grove Road home of 44-year-old Tara Neutzler and 53-year-old Donald Schoenthal to serve Neutzler warrants for Tenncare fraud an felony theft.
According to a press release from PCSO, while there, the deputies noticed a number of dogs and cats crammed in cages in the yard. Inside of the residence, there was an odor of urine, feces and decomposition. The warrants deputies made investigators of PCSO aware. PCSO reached out to nonprofit animal rescue organization Animal Rescue Corps (ARC) for assistance in the case.
That evening, the PCSO investigators and ARC responders arrived to check out the home in question, where they found dogs and cats living in inhumane conditions running loose around the property. They also found a putrefied dead kitten in a basket on a shelf. Ammonia levels and fresh diarrhea indicated some dogs had been held in the basement for an extended period of time. When food was present, it was moldy, and some of the animals were without water.
Animals there were suffering from dental disease, matted fur, fur loss or untreated skin infections. They were also covered in fleas and ticks,
23 dogs and 19 cats were found at the home.
ARC took all of the animals to their rescue operations center in Lebanon. There, the dogs and cats received thorough veterinary examinations, when it was found that animals were also suffering from ear and eye infections, internal parasites, overgrown nails, pyometra, untreated entropion and corneal ulcers. The animals all received necessary medical treatment.
ARC staff and volunteers have been caring for the animals, in addition to the animals from Operation Noah's Ark, with help from Redemption Road Rescue and the BISSELL Pet Foundation, who provided emergency grants to help pay for medical care and daily needs.
Neutzler and Schoenthal were arrested yesterday. Their bonds are set at $10,000 each.