Founder of animal sanctuary busted after hundreds of carcasses discovered


By Yaron Steinbuch, New York Post

January 8, 2020


A woman who founded an Illinois animal sanctuary faces cruelty charges after hundreds of carcasses were found in shallow graves at her property, according to reports.


Corrine DiLorenzo, 38, was accused of intentionally causing the death of a variety of companion animals including dogs, cats, pigs, rabbits, birds, goats, raccoons and turtles between 2014 and 2018, according to NBC News.


DiLorenzo – who founded the now-defunct nonprofit Earth Animal Sanctuary in Thawville, about 100 miles south of Chicago – was charged with aggravated animal cruelty.


An online petition demanding that DiLorenzo be slapped with criminal charges was launched last summer after the carcasses of hundreds of animals that had been rescued and surrendered to the sanctuary were found at the site.


“On June 23, 2019, a former board member of Earth Animal Sanctuary discovered nothing short of a horror story,” read the petition, which had almost 8,500 signatures Wednesday.


“What used to be a peaceful, final resting place for animals who’d passed on, is now a ghastly ditch littered with hundreds of animals in various states of decomposition, rotting in plastic bags and a mound of bones and skulls overlapping one life with another, carelessly tossed away like garbage,” it said.


Former sanctuary board member Melissa Pena said in a June post on the organization’s Facebook page that she and two others visited the property and found a “ditch filled with bag upon bag upon bag of the remains of dead animals.”


“There were the remains of pigs that had been dragged out on a tarp or blanket and dumped in the hole,” Pena wrote, according to NBC News. “We saw skulls and bones of large pigs, medium-sized pigs, goats of various ages, cats, dogs, birds/waterfowl and rabbits. There were small bags inside of larger garbage bags as well as bags that contained multiple species of animals. We saw various states of decomposition. There were layers of animals, and after about an hour of ripping through bags with my hands, I couldn’t do anymore.”


Animal supporters and shelter operators told NBC 5 that DiLorenzo often received animals from shelters in the region.


“We ultimately at the end of the day thought we were giving them a better life,” Lamor Gatenio, a manager of an exotic animal hospital, told NBC 5.


But last summer, several carcasses were found in shallow graves following what some are calling a suspicious fire in September 2018.


“We know of approximately 700, give or take, animals that are missing and presumed dead,” Jodie Wiederkehr, executive director of Chicago Alliance for Animals, told the news outlet.


DiLorenzo, who was arrested on an Iroquois County warrant on Dec. 24, has been accused of animal neglect before...


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