Court Awards Polk Sheriff Custody of 193 Animals Seized From Purported ‘Rescue’

'Sanctuary' Owners Now Barred From Owning Animals; PETA Assisting Sheriff in Huge Task of Finding Homes for Rescued Animals

For Immediate Release:
September 7, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Bartow, Fla. – Today, the Honorable County Judge Gerald Hill II awarded to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) custody of 193 of the animals it seized on August 4 from Darlynn’s Darlins, Inc., a purported “No Kill Animal Rescue” outside Polk City where PETA documented systemic and sometimes fatal neglect of animals. The court also issued an injunction at today’s custody hearing, prohibiting Darlynn’s Darlins operators Darlynn Czerner and Clinton “Butch” Martin from owning animals.

“Thanks to Polk County officials, these neglected animals will have a second chance at the life that they always deserved,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA urges people everywhere to keep this case in mind and beware of cruel hoarders who masquerade as rescuers.”

PETA presented its findings to members of the PCSO’s Agricultural Crimes Unit, which quickly interviewed the witnesses and obtained a search warrant for the property. After the unit served the search warrant, conducted its investigation, and evaluated the animals, arrest warrants on Czerner and Martin were obtained, charging them with a combined total of 282 counts of cruelty to animals, including six felonies. Authorities took Czerner and Martin into custody on August 9, and the couple remains in the Polk County Jail.

Led by the Agricultural Crimes Unit, PCSO’s 13-hour rescue operation on August 4 removed approximately 135 pigs, 45 birds, seven dogs, seven cats, a steer, a rabbit, and a horse from the property. PCSO representatives have cared for the animals since then, and PETA donated feed for the animals.

Photographs from PETA’s investigation are available, as is PCSO footage of officers rescuing the animals. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind