Owners of Sham ‘Rescue’ Barred From Owning Animals

One 'Sanctuary' Owner Exposed by PETA Pleads Guilty to Cruelty—141 Counts Against the Second Remain Pending Mental-Health Evaluation

For Immediate Release:
March 13, 2018

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Bartow, Fla. – Following a PETA exposé that revealed systemic and sometimes fatal neglect of animals at Darlynn’s Darlins, Inc., a purported “no-kill” animal “rescue” outside Polk City, a total of 282 counts of cruelty to animals against facility owners Darlynn Czerner and Clinton Martin have been resolved. On March 9, Martin pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor cruelty charge and was sentenced to the more than six months behind bars that he served following his arrest. Czerner, who served more than three months in jail, signed a contract yesterday agreeing to enter the Office of the State Attorney’s pre-trial intervention program and must undergo a mental-health evaluation and treatment and pay costs. Czerner and Martin are banned from owning any animals.

In August 2016, PETA presented its findings to the Agricultural Crimes Unit of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), 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. In September 2016, Judge Gerald Hill II awarded custody of the animals it seized from Czerner and Martin to the PCSO.

“Nothing can erase the pain and suffering that these animals endured, but thanks to Polk County officials, these cruel hoarders are forbidden from ever owning animals again,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA urges everyone to beware of people who stockpile and neglect animals and call themselves rescuers.”

PCSO’s rescue operation in August 2016 removed approximately 135 pigs, 45 birds, a steer, and other animals from the property. PCSO representatives cared for the animals, and PETA donated feed for the pigs, more than 100 of whom spent months recovering at Rooterville Animal Sanctuary, as can be seen in this video. The steer—Isaac—found his new home at Farm Sanctuary in New York, as can be seen in this video.

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

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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