From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1998:

Tanya Alexenia Syrenia Gonzalez
S m i t h, president of the Turpentine Creek
Exotic Wildlife Refuge, of Eureka Springs,
Arkansas, has reportedly plea-bargained a
guilty plea to misdemeanor illegal use of
$2,658 worth of Food Stamp vouchers, in
lieu of standing trial on felony charges for
failing to disclose at the time of her application
that she was receiving $5,000 a month
from the Turpentine Creek Foundation Inc.,
which was applied to the purchase of land
and vehicles which she bought in her own
name, then leased to the refuge. Smith is to
repay the $2,658, perform 60 hours of community
service, and spend a year on unsupervised
probation. Smith may apply to have her
conviction record expunged if she completes
the probation successfully. Deputy prosecutor
Kenny Elser told the court that an audit
of the Turpentine Creek Foundation by
DePaul University, a major backer of the
refuge, had found no evidence of financial
wrongdoing. ANIMAL PEOPLE, however,
in reviewing the Turpentine Creek filings of
IRS Form 990 from 1994, 1995, and 1996,
found numerous unexplained deviations from
standard nonprofit accounting procedures,
detailed in our March 1998 edition. Among
other questionable line items was $2,364
spent to “purchase satellite system,” though
remote TV access would appear to have little
to do with the functions of an animal refuge.

David Breece, 28, of Fayetteville,
on April 10 suffered a cut jugular and other
injuries, but lived, after entering a restricted,
double-fenced holding pen at the River Glen
Feline Conservatory, near West Fork,
Arkansas, to drink from a hose. River Glen
owner/operator Betty Young had just shifted
a year-old Bengal tiger named Major Bill into
the pen, to clean his cage. The tiger, who
wasn’t blamed, pounced Breece from behind.
Decatur city judge Billy Cook on
April 9 sentenced William Vernaris Fennell,
19, to the maximum 180 days that Alabama
cruelty law allows, for dangling a cat in a
capture noose to tease a Shar-pei at the
Decatur Animal Shelter. The badly injured
cat was later euthanized. Already doing time
for resisting arrrest, disorderly conduct, and
violating probation on an assault charge,
Fennell was among several inmates who volunteered
to work at the shelter.
Joseph G. Canegallo, 20,
employed by the Humane Society of St.
Lucie County, Florida, and R a y m o n d
Hunter, 54, a mental health worker at a private
treatment center, were on April 16
charged with 19 criminal counts for allegedly
shooting cows, an egret, and other targets in
a three-week spree. Bail was set at $51,000
for Canegallo and $53,000 for Hunter.
The Love & Care for All God’s
Creatures Inc. saga continues, nearly three
years after the Alabama Office of the
Attorney General closed the facilities,
humane societies around the U.S. collaborated
to evacuate hundreds of neglected animals,
and founder Ann Fields reportedly overdosed
on a horse tranquilizer after she was charged
with having defrauded donors of as much as
$100,000 a month, most of it apparently
spent on high living in southern California
and Aruba. After Fields’ death, in October
1995, Fields’ daughter and son-in-law, Tina
and Ronald Denny, formed a new front,
Save Animals From Euthanasia, and continued
fundraising with the claim that they
were rescuing the animals Fields left.
Repeated attempts by the Alabama Offide of
the Attorney General to stop that project have
failed, most recently on February 24, 1998,
when a judge dismissed a fraud case against
them because in his view the proper charge
should have been theft. “The Dennys have
now moved back to the Love & Care property,
even though it is in foreclosure,” said the
Alabama Humane Federation’s spring 1998
newsletter. “The disposition of the property
and the fate of the Denny’s claim will be
answered by another court. They are reported
to have 50 or so animals in their care.”

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