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Darlynns Darlins Animal Sanctuary Owners Arrested For Animal Cruelty

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Darlynn's Darlin's2

Polk City, Florida – On Tuesday, August 9, 2016, PCSO Agricultural Crimes detective obtained arrest warrants for a husband and wife, 65-year-old Darlynn Czerner and 61-year-old Clinton “Butch” Martin, owners of the Darlynn’s Darlins, Inc., animal sanctuary (9830 Evans Road, Polk City), charging both of them with three (3) counts of Felony Animal Cruelty (F-3), and 138 counts of Animal Neglect (M-1).


According to their website (darlynnsdarlins.webs.com) “Darlynn’s Darlins Inc., is a not for profit, No Kill, Animal Rescue, Sanctuary, Advocacy and Education organization. The Ranch provides a safe, loving, lifetime home to more than 200 exotic, farm, and domestic animals. We facilitate the adoption of spayed and neutered animals to appropriate and fully screened families. Many animals, due to age, physical issues, or type will remain at Darlynn’s Darlins Ranch for life. We offer help and solutions to animal behavior issues hoping to help animals remain in their homes.”

Of the approximately 200 animals at the sanctuary, the following animals suffered from cruelty and neglect:
135 hogs
Four dogs
One steer
Czerner and Martin were both taken into custody on August 9, 2016, and booked into the Polk County Jail.

According to their affidavits, on May 31, 2016, two representatives from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), began working as volunteers four hours per day, four days per week at the shelter, after receiving information that there were neglect issues at the facility. While there, the PETA members observed and video-recorded severe neglect of animals housed at the facility.

On August 2, 2016, PETA members contacted PCSO, told them of their findings, and gave detectives copies of their video recordings. The witnesses and the videos describe hogs on the property suffering from tumors, hair loss, overgrown hooves, open sores, and ambulatory issues. Additionally, there were dogs, cats, and a steer suffering from neglect.

Click here to view the PETA-produced video

“We consider this ‘bogus’ rescue to instead be a hoarding facility that left sick and injured animals to suffer without even basic veterinary care. Animals were found with open wounds, they starved in plain sight, and many went without water to drink in this summer heat. PETA thanks the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, which swiftly responded to PETA’s evidence of a crime in progress and rescued these long-neglected animals from their living hell.” – Daphna Nachminovitch, Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations for PETA

On Thursday, August 4, 2016, PCSO Detectives and Animal Control Officers arrived at the facility in Polk City, and served a search warrant. They seized the aforementioned neglected animals, and additional animals (2 hogs, 43 chickens, 3 dogs, 7 cats, 2 ducks, a rabbit, and a horse), and brought all except the horse to PCSO Animal Control to be examined by Animal Control Veterinarian. The horse was taken to Hope Equine Rescue.

A total of 197 animals were removed from the scene.

The following are excerpts from the affidavit:

There were 23 hogs that were found to be a body score of a 1-1.5, fifteen were found to be a body score of 2-2.5, and 26 were found to be a body score of 3-3.5 [the body scores indicate animals were from very thin/skeletal frame to underweight]
Three hogs were found to have overgrown hooves that were causing the hogs to have issues walking.
One hog was found to have a broken leg that had healed in an unnatural position.
25 hogs were found to have severe skin conditions to include hair loose and severe sunburn.
11 hogs were found to have tusks that were growing into the side of the hogs’ faces or causing them to have difficulty eating.
Two of the hogs found in the house were very obese, barely able to walk, and were found to be blind.
Located inside the residence were 8 hogs, 7 cats, 1 dog, and 1 rabbit. The hogs located inside the house did not have access to water or feed being confined within the walls of the residence.
Four dogs that were located without food or water were confined inside kennels where they could not leave to obtain food or water.
Two of the hogs found in the house were very obese, barely able to walk, and were found to be blind.
Two hogs were located in the front yard of the residence. One hog was found to be over 50% non-ambulatory and had a severe infection to its back. Dr. DeGroat who responded to the scene recommended the hog be euthanized due to its severe condition. The hog was transported to the Sheriff’s Office Animal Control section and euthanized by Dr. DeGroat.
A small pot-bellied pig was found to be in distress and unable to walk. Dr. DeGroat examined the hog and determined it needed to be euthanized. The hog was euthanized at the Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Section.
Two of the cats were found to have an upper respiratory infection upon examination
Six barrels of vegetable scraps were found in the bed of a black Nissan truck parked beside the residence. The barrels were full and were gathering flies. Located in a small barn near the center of the property were 20 unopened bags of hog feed.
In a pen area between the hogs was a Charolais / Long Horn cross steer. The steer did not have any hay, feed, or grass in the pen to eat.
During the investigation it was determined a large hog named “Buddy” laid on the ground for 14 days in respiratory distress. The hog was non-ambulatory and did not drink or eat for most of the time period. Witnesses observed the hog in that condition, photographed and videotaped the incident. The hog along with the hog located in the front yard suffered a cruel death that could have been avoided by the suspects. Witnesses observed the hog first on 06/01/2016, observed it for 14 days, and then observed it died on 06/14/2016. Witnesses assisted in burying the hog on 06/14/2016.

Through witness statements, evidence at the scene, and post-Miranda statements from the suspects, it was determined that three counts of felony animal cruelty were committed for the three hogs that died (two were euthanized, and one died in June). It was determined that 138 counts of animal neglect were committed on 133 hogs, 4 dogs, and 1 steer, for failure to feed, water, and provide proper medical care.

Click here to see an excerpt video from the PCSO search warrant

PETA has graciously donated feed for the animals. A civil hearing at a later date will determine the custody and disposition of all the animals seized.

 

FROM THE NETWORK

  • Kim Marie

    It is absolutely sickening that anyone would treat another living, thinking and feeling being like this. Thanks to the whistleblower who did the right thing and to PETA for getting this out there.

  • Michael Voight

    So, PETA observed an animal in distress for 2 week and watched it die?
    WTF?

    • SUZANNE M.

      WHY DID PETA WAIT SO LONG?

      • Jennofur OConnor

        Because they had to document systemic abuse and build a case that prosecutors would take seriously. Far too many cruelty to animals cases aren’t even prosecuted.

  • Michael Voight

    Basically PETA knew first hand about abuses for 2 MONTHS (May 31 to Aug 2) before reporting them? Luckily they were not monitoring a child care center

    • Lucy_P

      If PETA hadn’t gathered the evidence of systemic neglect, these animals would still be suffering and dying at this hellhole. Bravo to them for getting the documentation police needed to take legal action to help these animals!

      • SUZANNE M.

        ONE DAY WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH.

        • Jennofur OConnor

          You obviously don’t know how the system works. “One day” would have been dismissed. It takes evidence of entrenched cruelty before authorities will act in animal abuse cases. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is and that’s a fact. I thank PETA for taking this on and getting results.

          • SUZANNE M.

            YOUR RIGHT, I DON’T KNOW HOW THIS SYSTEM WORKS….HOWEVER ALL YOU HAD TO DO IS LOOK AT THE ANIMALS.THEY WERE OBVIOUSLY ABUSED AND NEGLECTED. I ALSO THINK THAT ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS CAN MAKE MONTHLY STOPS AT THESE PLACES TO SEE IN FACT THAT THE ANIMALS ARE CARED FOR PROPERLY. SOMEONE HAS TO KNOW ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON.

  • Craig Shapiro

    After being sure of the evidence, PETA and the Sheriff’s Office moved swiftly and decisively. Kudos to them. This kind of abuse is far too common. Animals should be treated with the compassion and respect they deserve.

    • SUZANNE M.

      THESE DISPICABLE IDIOTS SHOULD GET DONE TO THEM WHAT THEY DID TO THESE HELPLESS ANIMALS. GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT THEY DID TO THEM WHEN NO ONE WAS WATCHING. LAUGHING AT THE PAIN OF THE PIG . I CAN’ T EBEN FIND THE WORDS TO DESCRIBE HOW I FEEL . LOCK THESE ASSHOLES UP. BUT MAKE THEM TAKE A DAY LONG BLEACH SHOWER BEFORE PUTTING THEM WITH THE REST OF THE PRISON POPULATION.

  • FashionFan

    So many places masquerading as “rescues” and “sanctuaries” are really abusive hellholes like this one, Dade City’s Wild Things, Suncoast Primate Sanctuary, etc. That’s why I only donate to vetted animal charities. This is despicable.

    • SUZANNE M.

      NO KILL HUH ? NO THEY JUST LET THEM SUFFER TO DEATH.

  • Jennofur OConnor

    People who care about animals can support rescue operations affiliated with the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). GFAS is an organization that has
    rigorous standards of sanctuary management and animal care. For example, at
    member sanctuaries animals are not bred or used in commercial activities and
    they provide excellent, lifetime care to animals. GFAS and many of its member
    sanctuaries also work diligently to combat the cruelty inherent in the exotic
    pet trade and accredited sanctuaries are required to maintain practices and
    policies that do not promote the notion that keeping exotic animals as pets is
    acceptable.

  • Rose Louise

    I’m so glad this place was exposed and that PETA was able to document these heinous crimes. I hope the owners receive the harshest sentence possible.

  • And PETA did NOTHING for MONTHS to help these animals!!! Million dollar salaries for PETA execs and millions on advertising. Only 2% actually go to helping animals. PETA let the animal languish. And how many here condemning actually volunteer at rescues and sanctuaries??? How many donate to help??? So many throw away their animals. Especially pigs. Tragic situation. Good intentions but the community just let this happen. And NOW you care about the animals??? Where were all of you when the sanctuary needed help??? Sitting behind your computers. That’s where.

    • Lucy_P

      Since Ted posted this same rant on another site that covered this story, I’ll post the same reply: “Did nothing”? PETA gathered the evidence of systemic neglect needed for police to take legal action to get these animals out of this hellhole and hopefully put this couple behind bars, or at least ban them from contact with animals in the future. If not for PETA, there is no doubt that these animals would still be suffering and dying there. As for PETA’s finances, their dedicated staffers make very modest salaries, including the president herself, who made only just over $40,000 last year. See: http://www.peta.org/about-peta/learn-about-peta/financial-report/. More than 82% of PETA’s operating expenses in 2015 went directly to their programs fighting animal exploitation. PETA’s financial reports are all public for anyone to see here: http://features.peta.org/Annual-Review-2015/year.aspx.

    • username

      Who knew the sanctuary “needed help”? On their webpages they talk about being “blessed”; nowhere did they hint that things were so dire, that animals were starving to death, deprived of food and water in the blazing Florida heat.
      By the way, it’s been reported that they had $17,000 in their account from donations.

      • ashisbaby

        $15K was an education grant. It wasn’t free spending money. Also, PETA spent a total of 40 hours on this “investigation.” That is not longterm. They also only spent 4 hours a day there. That means they missed breakfast and dinner feeding. They thank everyone on the facebook page when they get volunteers. They asked for help repeatedly and got very little. So yes, they were blessed when they got help. Again, there is a lot left out of this story.

  • Heather Moore

    How sick! They weren’t rescuing animals, they were tormenting them. I’m glad the animals were rescued from them and they can’t abuse and neglect them any longer.

  • ashisbaby

    This is not the full story. PETA took the low road and instead of helping and older couple find new placement or to get volunteers they waited three months, made a publicity hype video, and then notified authorities. If they were concerned about they animals they would have offered more help or reported things sooner.

    • Lucy_P

      If not for PETA exposing this abuse, the animals would still be suffering and dying in this hellhole. It is vital to document evidence of ongoing, systemic neglect in order to build a strong prosecution and ensure that abusers are not sent off with a slap on the wrist and allowed to acquire (and abuse) more animals in the future. Without a strong sentencing, hoarders almost always return to their cruel ways.

      • ashisbaby

        I have volunteered there and what is shown in the videos does not depict what actually happened at the sanctuary. There were plenty of cleaning supplied to wash those buckets and when I checked last Thursday the buckets, still having water after the animals have been gone a week, where cloudy with a bit of dirt which could easily have been from the mud that pigs wallow in to keep cool and to protect themselves from the sun and insects. The animals were taken to the vet and one of the PETA, Austin Aguirre, actually attended a vet appointment with her. The sebaceous cycst extraction can be painful but does not require a vet visit every time. Most vets can actually train people to do this for animals who are prone to them. The animals were fed regularly, were adopted out to suitable homes (however only one person qualified in the past year), and they stopped taking in animals after sudden health problems occurred last year. This was not a hoarding case. It was a sanctuary that was functioning fine for years. Unfortunately, the owners experienced medical problems and were doing their best and struggling. They asked for help repeatedly and received very little. The video clips were taken over a short period of time and these people were only there for four hours a day for a total of 10 days. These were older animals and not two years old as the video claims.

    • username

      But no, they would not have been “helping an older couple”, they’d have been enabling abusers who were callously, knowingly taking in more animals than they could care for. Peta did the right thing, as difficult as that must have been.

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