The founder of an Illinois animal sanctuary is facing charges after hundreds of animal corpses were found buried in a shallow grave at her property last summer.
Corrine DiLorenzo, 38, was arrested on December 23rd after being charged with aggravated animal cruelty by the Iroquois County State’s Attorney. According to the indictment, DiLorenzo intentionally caused the death of multiple companion animals including dogs, cats, pigs, rabbits, birds, goats, raccoons and turtles on or between 2014 and 2018.
DiLorenzo previously ran the Earth Animal Sanctuary in Thawville, located about 95 miles south of Chicago. Animal supporters and rescue shelter operators told NBC 5 that DiLorenzo would often receive animals from Chicago area shelters and take them to the sanctuary.
“We ultimately at the end of the day thought we were giving them a better life,” said Lamor Gatenio, a manager of a Chicago area exotic animal hospital.
But last summer numerous animal corpses were found buried in a shallow grave on DiLorenzo’s property 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,” said Jodie Wiederkehr, executive director of Chicago Alliance for Animals.
DiLorenzo could not be reached for comment.
A spokesperson for Chicago Animal Care and Control said if a pet owner is looking to relinquish a pet to a sanctuary, before doing so, visit the sanctuary and ask to see the animals to ensure that the property is clean and animals are being cared for. The spokesperson said CACC never directly transferred animals to DiLorenzo or Earth Animal Sanctuary.