Donald Schoenthal and Tara Neutzler

Donald Schoenthal and Tara Neutzler

PUTNAM COUNTY, TN (WSMV) - Investigators in Putnam County have arrested two people on aggravated animal cruelty charges after they rescued 40 animals from a reported inhumane breeding enterprise.

Police say 44-year-old Tara Neutzler and 53-year-old Donald Schoenthal, both of Cookeville and formerly of Atwood, TN were charged with three counts of animal cruelty and one count of aggravated animal cruelty. Both were indicted on July 1.

The investigation of a Locust Grove Road home uncovered numerous dogs and cats crammed into cages in the yard and a distinct odor of urine, feces, and decomposition inside the home. Investigators went to the home to serve Neutzler a warrant on unrelated charges of Tenncare fraud and felony theft when the animals were discovered.

A further investigation uncovered dogs living in inhumane conditions running loose on the property and dogs and cats running loose inside the house. Some of the details were too gruesome for us to report.

A total of 23 dogs and 19 cats were found on the premises along with moldy food and no water. The animals were found suffering with dental disease, matted fur, fur loss, untreated infections, parasites, ulcers, fleas and ticks.

ARC transported all the animals to their facilities in Lebanon where they are currently recovering and receiving medical treatment.

Bonds for Neutzler and Schoenthal are set at $10,000.

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WSMV Digital Content Producer

Joey is an award-winning Digital Content Producer on the WSMV Digital Team! A graduate of the University of South Carolina-Aiken, Joey joined WSMV in September 2018. He's happy to be Working 4 You!

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