Last Friday The Spokane Spokesman Review reported that a Spokane County Superior Court Judge sentenced the co-founder of Shepherd’s Way Animal Rescue in Springdale, WA to two months in prison for theft.
Army veteran Dustin Hatfield and his wife Elle paid Carrie Aenk a $3000 for horses he wanted to adopt.
They never got the horses.
THE AENKS’ HISTORY OF SHADY AND ILLEGAL ANTICS
Public scrutiny began to focus on Ms. Aenk, her husband Allen, and Shepherd’s Way last summer after the Aenks claimed that the ranch was “the official command center for volunteer fire fighters and collected money from a $10,000 fundraising appeal set up for them by a group in Florida called Lost Pet Found Pet.
The Aenks put pictures of raging fires and a “tent city” on their property in the fundraising appeal.
However, I discovered that the picture of the tents was NOT taken on Shepherd’s Way property. It is a picture from a story from last September about a wildfire in California.
And I found one of the pictures of a giant fire purportedly near their property on several websites, including this article from 2013.
Fortunately only a few hundred dollars had been pledged for the “command center” before the appeal was pulled after several articles questioned its veracity.
Other ethically questionable acts by the Aenks included claiming their “rescue” adopted out former Military Working Dogs, having a man suspected as a domestic terrorist by the FBI living in a trailer on their property to provide “protection and assistance” for them, and allegedly putting down a German Shepherd a day after Ms. Aenk picked it up to supposedly bring it back to the “Rescue.”
“AENK ALTERED CONTRACT”
The Spokesman Review reported that during the trail, Aenk and her attorney said the contract clearly stated “the adoption fees were nonrefundable.”
Aenk claimed she didn’t deliver the horses because “she had concerns the Hatfields did not have adequate facilities.”
Spokane County Superior Court Judge James Triplet torpedoed that claim. He noted copies of the contracts submitted as evidence appear to bolster the Hatfields’ argument…that Carrie Aenk altered the contracts after they signed them.
Aenk’s attorney also tried to convince Judge Triplet that Ms. Lovera’s money didn’t benefit Aenks personally.
The Judge quickly shot that claim. He said, “The evidence is clear that the money went to Mrs. Aenk, not Shepherd’s Way.”
“HISTORY OF FRAUD AND THEFT DATES BACK DECADES”
Judge Triplet ultimately gave Ms. Aenk a 2 year sentence for theft but suspended all except 2 months of it. She will report to prison on February 26.
The Spokesman Review reported that Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Zappone wanted a stiffer sentence “based on Aenk’s criminal history of fraud and theft that dates back decades.”
She added, “The defendant used this nonprofit as a way to exploit the goodwill of others. Essentially, she’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
I’m glad Judge Triplet saw through the Aenk’s scheming and lies. In my opinion, the Aenk’s created Shepherd’s Way as a vehicle for fleecing people out of their money.
To them, potential adopters are just easy marks to exploit. It’s sickening to contemplate how many thousands of dollars they collected while many of the dogs they claimed were adopted disappeared after they were paid for taking them.
I encourage you to click on these links and file complaints with the Washington State Attorney General and the Internal Revenue Service about the Aenk’s antics at Shepherd’s Way.
Those of us that are actually concerned about rescuing animals must make our voices heard about this rogue animal “rescue.”