Animal Advocates of Carroll County founder charged with animal cruelty

Animal Advocates of Carroll County founder charged with animal cruelty
Laura Shenk (/HANDOUT)

The president/founder of Animal Advocates of Carroll County has been charged with several counts of animal cruelty after Animal Control was allegedly sent to her house about a sick cat.

Laura Shenk, of the 2600 block of S. Marston Road in New Windsor, was charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty, one count of animal cruelty, three counts of animal cruelty failure: provide, one count of obstructing and hindering and three counts of failing to provide a proper dog shelter, according to electronic court records.


Shenk was issued a summons, meaning she has to appear before a judge, but she was not arrested, said Animal Control officer Edward Smith.

Animal Control, which falls under the Humane Society of Carroll County, was sent to Shenk's residence in February after a veterinarian called because she was concerned about a cat that was in her care. The veterinarian said Shenk had brought the cat into the emergency room suffering from a severe infection at the site of a recent surgical amputation. The cat was unable to breathe, severely emaciated, dehydrated and had open, infected wounds, according to the statement of charges.

The veterinarian told Shenk that the cat would die without immediate care and another humane option would be euthanasia. Shenk agreed to put the cat down, but then changed her mind, took the cat and left, according to the statement of charges.

Animal Control went to Shenk's residence, where the officer observed several dogs, both in cages and running around. The house and cages appeared filthy, according to the statement.

The officer spoke with Shenk and asked to see the cat. When the officer saw the cat, it appeared barely conscious, with labored breathing, and was cold to the officer's touch. The cat was in a dirty carrier, and the officer could see open wounds on the cat, according to the statement.

The cat was taken to the animal hospital where it was ultimately put down because it could not be weaned from oxygen. A necropsy of the cat showed "verminous pneumonia," which comes from being kept in unsanitary conditions, and an open, infected pressure wound on the rear legs, which comes from being housed in improper conditions, according to the statement.

The officer returned to Shenk's residence to inspect the dogs. They took three dogs that appeared to be suffering from medical conditions or were kept in cages that were improper. All three dogs tested positive for whip worm, according to the statement.

The officer returned one more time and took the remaining dogs at Shenk's residence. Of the seven dogs retrieved, six tested positive for whip worm and one tested for round worm. The dogs were also found in dirty cages, according to the statement.

Shenk did not answer repeated calls, and a message could not be left on her phone. She did not respond to an email seeking comment.

She is scheduled to appear in court on May 23.