The owners of an animal rescue operation in Salem will be asked to appear in court before July 20.

More than 200 animals were seized from Alchemy Acres on Friday after a compliant was filed with the Columbiana County Humane Society.

"The condition some of these animals live in were absolutely horrific," DanaMarie Pannella, prosecuting attorney with the Columbiana County Humane Society.

Pannella filed a notice for a probable cause hearing to take place before July 20 in Columbiana County Municipal Court.

A hearing must take place within 10 days after a search warrant is executed.

While it's too early to tell if this is a case of the owners becoming too overwhelmed, Pannella does say that the nature of the investigation is focusing on charges of animal neglect.

She says charges might not be filed this week, but are forthcoming.

21 News reached out to Alchemy Acres Animal Sanctuary, which refused to comment on the matter. The operation is allowed to keep three of its horses as long as it can properly care for the animals. The horses were not in a condition that warranted they be removed.

A humane agent will inspect the care of the horses as the investigation continues.
Alchemy Acres is no longer accepting new animals according to its website.

In it's mission statement, it's described as a "sanctuary for abandoned and abused animals", where medical care is provided.

Pannella says it's anything but that, with so many animals in need of medical attention after they were seized last week.

"The scope and the volume that need veterinary care is extremely overwhelming," she said. "Conditions ranging from skin conditions to flea infestations to emaciation."

Since Friday's seizure, she says three animals have passed away.

Pannella says the Columbiana County Humane Society is receiving a great deal of support from the community.

Monetary donations are still being accepted to help with the care of the dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals taken from Alchemy Acres. Other humane society agencies have also stepped in to help.

The rescued animals are being kept at an undisclosed location.

Pannella also filed a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's office regarding the owner's for profit operation, Whispering Pines Castle LLCStephen Sacco who operates Alchemy Acres, is also the statutory agent and incorporator of Whispering Pines Castle LLC, according to the Ohio Secretary of State's website.

Pannella says donors to that operation have complained to the humane society in the past. She wants the state to look into the finances of both the LLC and the non-profit Alchemy Acres.