(By Jamie Henneman/Chewelah Independent)
Aenks missing since Aug. 10…
A Springdale couple that was running an animal rescue at their farm has been missing since Aug. 10, abandoning over 20 horses and four dogs that were left at the facility. According to reports from the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office, a neighbor who had agreed to feed the horses for a week called when Carrie and Allen Aenk failed to return.
Stevens County Sheriff’s Deputies began feeding the horses from hay located on site since the 13th and the department seized the animals, relocating four dogs to an animal shelter and adopting out two of the horses. The remaining 20 horses have been taken on by a neighboring horse rescue, Rough Start Horse Rescue, in Lincoln County.
While the reason the Aenks have failed to return is still not known, information on various social media websites suggests that it may be tied to their involvement throughout most of the set.
with Schuyler Barbeau, a man who was staying with the Aenks temporarily in 2015. Barbeau was being investigated by the federal government for his involvement with the Bundy Ranch standoff in Nevada in FBI and agents came to the Aenk farm to search a trailer Barbeau had been staying in. Barbeau was later arrested on two federal firearms charges and was sentenced on Sept. 8, 2017 to 27 months in prison. In addition to hosting Barbeau on their farm, Carrie Aenk was also Barbeau’s paralegal as he acted as his own lawyer during his incarceration.
Whether the Aenk’s disappearance is linked to Barbeau or not is speculative, but the couple does have a checkered past, including Carrie Aenk being convicted of theft in 2016 after accepting “non-refundable donations” from a couple wanting to adopt two horses from the rescue but not releasing the horses. Aenk was sentenced to two months in jail for the offense. The Aenks had also claimed in 2015 to be raising money for volunteer firefighters on a crowd funding page, www.youcaring.com but the claims that they were a “command site for volunteer firefighters” turned out to be untrue. The Aenks told KOMO news in Seattle that they didn’t have anything to do with the site. Carrie Aenk had also been convicted in federal court of bank fraud in 1998.
In addition, it appears the Aenks were on the brink of being evicted for not paying rent at the property where they operated the horse rescue. A legal ad in the Spokane Exchange last week advised the couple if they did not pay the $3,600 they owed in rent by Oct. 1 they would be evicted.
Now that the remaining 20 horses are in the care of Rough Start Horse Rescue, the group is asking the public to help with the new feed bill the rescue will incur by taking on the horses from the Aenk’s farm. The rescue estimates it will need to purchase 80 tons of hay to support the new horses and the 35 rescue horses already at the Rough Start Horse Rescue.
Those interested in donating to Rough Start can do so through PayPal by using the email firstname.lastname@example.org, or via mail to Rough Start Horse Rescue, 20027 s. Harrison, Edwall, WA 99008. For more information, visit the Rough Start Horse Rescue Facebook page.