MAX DISAPPEARS DAY AFTER SHEPARD’S WAY ANIMAL RESCUE PICKED HIM UP
Dog rescuers across the country are asking this question about a German Shepherd named Max that Shepherd’s Way Animal Rescue was supposed to bring back to its facility in Springdale, WA in September.
I wrote about Shepherd’s Way last summer regarding a questionable fundraiser it held to raise $10,000 to host “the official command center for volunteer fire fighters.”
The Emergency Services Director for Stevens County, WA said the fundraising appeal was a fraud.
On September 4 of this year, Carrie Aenk, one of Shepherd’s Way founders, and volunteer Morgan Leighton left the Woodbridge Township Animal Shelter in New Jersey with Max for their trip back to Washington.
However, Max never arrived at Shepherd’s Way. He disappeared the day after Aenk “rescued” him.
Allen Aenk, Shepherd’s Way’s other founder and Carrie’s husband, has claimed his wife dropped Max off somewhere in Pennsylvania. He refused to say why Carrie didn’t bring Max back to Washington. He also didn’t say why Carrie left him in PA.
Here’s the information I’ve been able to piece together about Max’s story:
SHEPHERD’S WAY SOLICITS DONATIONS FOR MAX
Max’s family surrounded him to Woodbridge Animal Shelter on 7/16/2015. They provided a Vaccination/Health Certificate and paid a $100 surrender fee.
On 8/10/15 the Woodbridge Animal Group, which helps find homes for dogs in the Woodbridge shelter, posted Max’s picture with the following message:
“RESCUE NEEDED BY FRIDAY 8/14. 3 yr old, intact male Ger Shep named Max. Owner surrender. Has behaviorissues. Can be corrected with the right, EXPERIENCED rescue ONLY. He cannot be directly adopted from the shelter. We do not know how he is with dogs/cats at this time. If you are a rescue that would like to pull Max, please call the shelter for further details and ask for Heather (732)8550600 x2034. Please share for Max, thank you!”
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Here is the sequence of events that led to Max’s departure with Carrie Aenk and Morgan Lighton on September 4:
- 8/17/15 – Allen Aenk sent a copy of Shepherd’s Way 501c3 approval from the IRS to the Woodbridge Animal Group with the message: “We are trying to make plans to come and get Max if you will allow us to. Our fax machine is broke so this is the next best thing.”
- 8/18/15 – A woman named Kathy Bowles aka Kathleen Tortu-Bowles organized a fundraiser on you caring called “Saving Max” in which she solicited donations for Shepherd’s Way prior to Max’s release. The final total was $220. According to YouCaring, the money collected went directly to Shepherd’s Way PayPal account.
- 8/18/15 – Allen Aenk posted the rescue approved their request to take Max
- 8/19/15 – A woman named Lorraine Zales solicited donations for Max’s rescue by Shepherd’s Way by posting a link on Facebook to the YouCaring fundraiser initiated by Ms. Tortu-Bowles.
- 8/19/15 – Allen Aenk solicited donations for Max in the comment section of Zales’ fundraising page. He asked people to donate through the YouCaring account, which was linked to the Shepherd’s Way PayPal account, or directly to Shepherd Way’s PayPal account. The Aenk’s refuse to say how much money people donated directly to the Shepherd’s Way PayPay account.
- 8/19/15 – Allen Aenk sent this message the Woodbridge Animal Group: “Can you post the fundraising request for Max on your page. I have posted it but it’s not coming up on your page.” Their response: “Yes, we will post it when he is pulled and it’s ‘official’.”
- 9/4/15 Max was released to Carrie Aenk.
Many people have made many claims regarding what happened to Max after he left New Jersey with Carrie Aenk and her volunteer, but the one thing everyone can agree on is this – Max never made it to Washington.
“Max is gone.”
Why Max never arrived in Washington has been subject to debate on numerous conversation threads.
In my opinion, based on the information I’ve seen, I believe Max is dead.
MAX PROBABLY EUTHANIZED IN PENNSYLVANIA
On 10/25/15 A Washington man named Patrick Leighton said that in a conversation threat that Carrie Aenk “put this dog down during the trip back home.”
He said he knew because his sister is Morgan Leighton, the volunteer that went with Aenk from Washington to New Jersey to pick up Max.
The second piece of evidence I have that Max is dead is from someone who works with the rescue that helped Shepherd’s Way get him.
AENK SAYS MAX IS DEAD
Note she says that Allen and Carrie Aenk are trying to cover up where Max is.
The last piece of evidence is from the fingers of Carrie Aenk herself. On September 4 at 2:20 PM, just one day after she picked up Max, Aenk texted the following message:
Max is gone.
2:20 PM MMS
Anek goes on to say that she and Morgan “stopped at a another vet’s office to get another sedative and his heart could not take it. He didn’t come out of it.”
Max got his first sedative from a vet the day before after bit Carrie and apparently was too difficult to control. The next day she told the group:
Both arms pretty chewed up. Max does NOT like potty breaks and once out of the car, he attacks. With 2000 miles left to go, it is going to be a very long trip. I have no arms left to feed him.
9:59 AM MMS
Less than 4 hours later, Carrie said Max was dead.
That night she told the group she had Max’s body with her:
Max is under ice in the back of my car for a decent burial. My friend Todd paid for the vet bill.
9:26 PM MMS
Carrie Aenk’s statements contain no ambiguity that Max died that day.
VET’S IDENTITY HIDDEN
As you can see from these examples of increasingly angry texts the day Max died, once Carrie told the others Max was dead, she refused to tell them either the name or location of the vet that supposedly sedated him. (Lorraine Zales is the “Me” in the conversation).
I’ve been waiting to hear from you…what is going on? I wanted you to call me…I have friends in Ohio who wanted to help…I asked for the vets name…
8:59 PM MMS
What vet did u go to? Where in Ohio? We are all devastated
9:28 PM MMS
Carrie I understand all of these things had to be taken care of, but I’ve asked numerous times which vet u went to because I would like to thank him/her for all they did for Max…what part of Ohio were u in? Where is Max now? Where are u now?
12:43 AM MMS
I’m going to bed…late here…please text name of vet in Ohio…I want to call there and thank them…we haven’t talked all day and I wanted to talk about all of this…not undersranding why we didn’t talk and get “through” this together after all of the weeks of working on Max and all the hard work…this is devastating to say the least…
1:21 AM MMS
I worked for Max and I’m hurt and sad….i only asked for answers to very legitimate questions given the circumstances of what was happening at the time. You said u would call me and that never happened…how do u think I feel…please do not twist this because it’s not warranted… you’re asking me to wait until you drive 2000 more miles to get any answers to my questions that I really deserve to have. I’m sorry but if that had been me at the vet, I would have called u immediately being that WE were so involved in this endeavor..you’re resting now and still no phone call…how would you feel if you were ignored?
3:47 PM MMS
Went silent after the muzzle texts around 1030am. Bottom line Max is dead because he got a lethal shot of something. We can only gather because that is what they told us.
MMS 4:31 PM
USING FAKE PICTURE TO PROVE MAX IS ALIVE?
Not long after Patrick Leighton wrote in a conversation about Max on Facebook on October 25, Allen Aenk responded by saying that, despite his wife’s assertion to the contrary, Max was still alive and well somewhere in Pennsylvania.
Later in the same conversation thread, Alan provided this picture of a dog he says is Max to prove he’s alive and well in Pennsylvania:
However, there is one slight problem with this picture: As of yesterday, Shepherd’s Way Adopt-a-Pet page had the same picture and said it’s a dog named Butch that’s was available for adoption (I took a screen shot of it just in case it somehow disappears.)
Given these pictures of Butch and Max are so similar, if not identical, how anyone not assume that Aenk simply posted the first picture of a German Shepherd he could find to assuage the people demanding to know where Max was?
MOTIVATED BY MONEY
Like I said before, all the people I’ve spoken to and evidence I’ve seen have seen regarding this sorry saga convinced me Max is dead.
But what’s baffling to me is why anyone in an animal rescue group that primarily deals with horses would drive over 2000 miles to pick up a dog in New Jersey and bring it all the way back to Washington.
Maybe the answer is simply money. Shepherd’s Way wouldn’t be the first rescue that collected money to rescue a dog that ended up disappearing. And while the YouCaring fundraiser appeared to only raise $220, we don’t know how much money people contributed directly to Shepherd’s Way PayPal account.
What we do know is that nothing in the solicitations for money to rescue Max indicated that he was going to Ohio, Pennsylvania, or anywhere else besides Washington.
I’ve also not seen any updates about Max from Shepherd’s Way to donors that contributed money to the group to rescue him.
Instead, we just have 2 wildly different explanations from the people who run the group that collected money to rescue Max.
But, don’t waste your time track down the Facebook conversation threads or fundraising request that I posted.
They have all disappeared.
Max’s original thread on the WAG (Woodbridge Animal Group) Facebook Page is no longer accessible.
The Shepherd’s Way Animal Rescue Facebook Page is no longer accessible.
The Saving Max YouCaring is no longer accessible.
The Saving Max Facebook event is no longer accessible.
Allen and Carrie Aenk could easily stop all the speculation about what happened to Max. They just need to provide a truthful and verifiable answer to the question so many people have.
If you have any information about Max’s previous owners or what happened to Max please contact me at email@example.com.