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July 30, 2013
Pine River breeder charged
A nine-count criminal complaint was filed Monday by the Cass County attorney’s office, charging Pine River, Minn., dog breeder Deborah Rowell with violating the state’s animal cruelty laws. Animal Humane Society, working with area law enforcement authorities, removed 133 dogs and puppies from Rowell’s property on July 16, and the animals have been cared for by AHS since that time.
According to the complaint, an investigation of Rowell’s operation by the Cass County sheriff’s office found multiple violations of the law, including: neglect, deprivation of appropriate shelter, improper closures, inadequate ventilation, improper dog houses, inadequate shade, and deprivation of adequate and necessary water. Eight of the charges are misdemeanors with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or both. The charge of improper dog house is a petty misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a $300 fine.
“Multiple dogs were being houses in overcrowded dog houses and runs,” a statement from county attorney’s office said. “Many dog houses did not meet statutory requirements for elevation to keep dogs and bedding from mixing with waste and rain water. Many of the water containers appeared to have dirty, green colored water with one bucket containing a dead, floating rodent. Temperatures in the kennel and dog houses were extremely high with very little if any ventilation and inadequate shade.”
Rowell’s initial court appearance on these charges is August 19.
The criminal charges are separate from proceedings to determine the validity of the seizure and, by extension, what will happen with the animals. A hearing on that matter has not yet been scheduled, and the dogs will remain with AHS at least until the hearing takes place.
NOTE: Because the seized animals are under quarantine, they are not available to be viewed by the media.
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