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Domestic Abuse Shelter Recognizes Longtime Volunteer Submitted: 04/27/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


Photos By Shardaa Gray

RHINELANDER - A safe haven in Rhinelander with a long history of volunteers honored one of them Saturday.

A large amount of enthusiasm packed the domestic abuse shelter in Rhinelander Saturday.

"We have the honor and the blessing of naming our shelter after our longtime volunteer Lily Kongslien," said Tri County Council for Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Executive Director, Shellie Holmes.

"Our shelter will be now known as Lily's House to honor all of the years she's dedicated working with victims and her passion that she has for the work that she does here and the people that we serve."

Kongslien wore many hats while she worked at the shelter, but working with the children is what she loved the most.

"I saw these kids all confused. Some came in their pajamas even at night and they were so confused that we had to quiet them down and get them to feel comfortable," said Honoree, Lily Kongslien.

"I'd read to them or talk with them."

Kongslien is humbled by the recognition. But working with victims that were sexually abused or in a violent relationship was very challenging.

"It's not a work that you enjoy, as we think of enjoying doing something, but it's very rewarding. And I never thought much about it, I just did it." Kongslien said.

The ceremony included a dedication from Pastor Lori Groat and guest speakers, but there was one special tribute that didn't leave a dry eye in the room.

"I know it's hard for families that have domestic problems. it's not only hard on the mother or the father, depending on what the situation is, but it's also hard on the children," said Lily's daughter, Lorraine Sackett.

"And the children are usually the ones that get hurt the most."

Lily hopes the shelter will expand in the near future.

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SUGAR CAMP - Update Feb. 17, 2017 10:20 p.m. -- The woman who runs an Oneida County animal rescue could face animal mistreatment charges.

Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.

Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.

Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.

People who know Schneider say they can't believe this is happening.

"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.

"Those are her children. She would never, ever , ever mistreat them," Thomas said.

But that's exactly what police believe Schneider did. Last week they removed the dogs from the facility after a weeks-long investigation that was prompted by complaints and concerns from several people.

"People that had worked or volunteered there were concerned about the conditions that the dogs were in and the fact that they were not receiving food or water," said Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook.

Those accusations baffle Thomas.

"I been over there several times, it's always been meticulously clean, happy dogs," Thomas said.

Thomas believes whatever condition the dogs were in, they came to Schneider that way.

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"Just to ensure that all the dogs are healed and make sure they've received all the care they need," Hook said.

Newswatch 12 has reached out to It Matters to One and has been communicating with the rescue via email.

The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.

Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.




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