With over 150 individual counts apiece levied against both Tara L. Neutzler, 43, and Donald Scott Shoenthal, 52, their case of mass animal cruelty and neglect may very well be an all-time record for the number of charges in any case to come before a Carroll County Circuit Court Judge.
Both Neutzler and Shoenthal appeared before Circuit Judge Donald Parish on Wednesday for a motions hearing.
Back in September, Neutzler and Shoenthal were indicted by the Carroll County Grand Jury on an identical list of charges, including 34 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, 118 counts of cruelty to animals, two counts of aggravated child neglect and endangerment, and two counts of criminal attempt to commit aggravated child neglect and endangerment.
The two were charged in April of this year after deputies with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department followed up on a tip from a concerned citizen and found around 150 animals living in deplorable conditions at a house and surrounding property at 3349 Highway 79 in Atwood.
The remains of several dead animals, including a zebra, were also found on the property.
Neutzler and Shoenthal’s trial date has been set for the week of March 25, 2019.
D.J. Norton of Selmer, attorney for both Neutzler and Shoenthal, made several motion requests during Wednesday’s hearing.
One of Norton’s motions was to require the state to provide the names and addresses of all witnesses for the state that were not included on the indictment.
Judge Parish granted this motion, though District Attorney Matt Stowe and Assistant District Attorney James Webb said they were pretty sure they had already provided a complete list of the 25 to 30 state witnesses to Norton.
Parish also granted a motion requiring the state to provide Norton with a copy of video made on a cell phone by one of the first officers on the scene, as well as a motion to supply the defense with copies of medical records of two minor children identified as victims in the case, so long as those records are kept under seal.
Norton asked for medical records for one of members of the American Rescue Corps, who was hospitalized due to exposure to high levels of ammonia during his involvement with the cleanup operation at the Atwood property.
The judge said these records should be provided only if the prosecution intends to use these records as part of their case.
Norton also brought up the matter that an audio recording of the original preliminary hearing was not provided by the court. He said he knew someone who could produce a written transcript for a sizable fee. Stowe and Webb said they would also be interested in getting a copy of that transcript.
Parish told them to go ahead and try to get a copy of the court recording and also get a transcript made, if it’s not too expensive, by the first week of December.