You need only glance at social media to find the founder of Animal Advocates of Carroll County, Laura Shenk, expressing her affection for her furry friends, but back in the real world, a trip to a vet with a deathly ill cat prompted a call to animal control who, in turn, tracked the feline to Shenk's New Windsor home.
"The decision was made by the vet to humanely euthanize that cat," said Animal Control Officer Edward Smith.
A necropsy suggested filthy and unsanitary conditions contributed to the feline's problems, and Smith says he had spotted several dogs through a window at Shenk's house also living in filth.
"An attempt was made to cooperate with Miss Shenk on that situation,” said Smith, “She refused us access to seeing and inspecting the dogs. Based on those circumstances and the observations, a search warrant was applied for."
According to charging documents, authorities seized three dogs that all tested positive for whip worm and then returned to the house with a second warrant to pick up the rest of the animals for testing.
Shenk now faces a series of charges including aggravated animal cruelty, in spite of the fact she has devoted much of her life to trying to save animals.
"I can't take into account who those people are,” said Smith, “I can't take into account whether their friends, family. I can't take into account whether they're politicians. I can't take into account whether or not they're involved in any sort of organization. I can only go based on the facts that we have."
Authorities say it appears Shenk may have also violated the county zoning code, which requires a license to board or breed more than three dogs on any single, residential property.
ABC2 News caught up with the embattled animal advocate at her home, but she refused to comment on the allegations citing a need to first confer with her attorney.