Cincinnati area animal rescuers help with ‘horrific’ cruelty case in Kentucky

More than 250 animals were removed from the property, many of which rescuers say are lucky to be alive.
Cincinnati rescuers help with large-scale cruelty case in Kentucky
Cincinnati rescuers help with large-scale cruelty case in Kentucky
Updated: Apr. 22, 2021 at 10:20 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Two people are facing criminal charges, and hundreds of animals are now in the care of several rescues, following an investigation into a Kentucky facility.

Caring About Treasured Strays is described online as an animal-rescue organization, but investigators said when they got to the Jeffersonville, Ky. facility, it was anything but a rescue.

“You have to wear respirators to go into some of these places,” William Coplen with All Dogs Come From Heaven Rescue out of Greater Cincinnati said. “They were terrible conditions. Feces everywhere, animals with urinary tract infections, upper respiratory infections, and they were rampant. It was a critical situation.”

Coplen said his rescue was asked to help Guardians of Rescue remove more than 100 dogs and more than 150 cats from the property.

“[Our] vehicle, ambulance, and all of its medical equipment was on site in order to be utilized for the emergency situations that were unquestionably going to be occurring,” Coplen said.

According to Montgomery County deputies, the animals that did survive lived in “deplorable” conditions. Coplen said even the cats and dogs with medical conditions are lucky to be alive.

“What we really did find is deceased animals stored in freezers full of human food as well,” Coplen said.

Renee Zaharie, 60, and William Zaharie, 65, are now facing animal cruelty charges.

In Coplen’s eyes, it is appalling that the two pretended to be saving animals because he believes all they cared about what turning a profit.

“What they were doing is charging a higher rate for sale of the animals,” Coplen said. “They were making money off the backs of animals that were being harmed.”

Coplen said the hope now is that the rescued animals will recover and eventually be put up for adoption. That could take some time since the case is currently open.

“It’s amazing how much the rescue community will come together to do the right thing when it needs to be done,” Coplen said.

All Dogs Come from Heaven rescuers took in a handful of animals, while Guardians of Rescue and other agencies took the rest.

Those interested in donating, adopting or helping in another way can find out more information on the Guardians of Rescue website or the All Dogs Come From Heaven website.

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