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Archive for May 23rd, 2009

Concerns lead to raid at Wisconsin shelter

Was it an animal shelter, or a puppy mill, or perhaps a little of both?

Whatever the case, the Thyme and Sage Ranch in Wisconsin is no more after 300 dogs were seized and owner and founder Jennifer Petkus was charged with 11 misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. The story sounds a little similar to the one we told you about earlier this week — Pendragwn Chow Rescue in Pennsylvlania.

In the Wisconsin case, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant Tuesday at the ranch, seizing the first 100 dogs, eight horses and a goat. At least six dog carcasses were discovered and a ram needed to be euthanized, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

According to a criminal complaint, Dr. Lisa Kerwin-Lucchi, a veterinarian with the Dane County Humane Society, used a hidden camera and temperature probe to record conditions at Thyme and Sage Ranch in rural Cazenovia in March, documenting dogs without access to food and unfrozen water, dogs with severely matted fur and inadequate bedding for unheated buildings.

Petkus was charged with one count of improper shelter to animals and 10 counts of intentionally mistreating animals — all misdemeanors. In addition, she faces five counts of unlawful deposit of animals carcasses.

Court records also show that Thyme and Sage, which has a contract with Richland County to serve as a shelter for lost and found animals, had already transferred 68 dogs and 10 cats to the Dane County Humane Society between Feb. 1 and March 27.

Kerwin-Lucchi started collecting the criminal evidence as early as February to obtain a search warrant and file charges “to make sure (Petkus) can’t do this again.”

She said she’s not sure what led to the conditions at the shelter. Many of the seized dogs look to be “retired breeders from puppy mills.” That, and the fact that Petkus was adopting out large number of young puppies raised the suspicion she may also have been breeding, Kerwin-Lucchi said.

Son of Steelers linebacker stable after dog bite

Steelers’ linebacker James Harrison’s toddler son was believed in stable condition at a Pittsburgh hospital after being bitten on the thigh by the family’s dog.

The boy’s mother, Beth Tibbott, was also treated and released for a bite she received when she tried to get the dog off the child, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Harrison, 31, the NFL defensive player of the year last season, could not be reached for comment. He was not home when the incident took place, friends said.

At the Harrisons’ home on Matterhorn Drive, a family friend said that Harrison was at the gym in the late afternoon when she, Ms. Tibbott and the child, James Harrison III, were outside in the fenced yard, where the dog was kept in a crate.

The friend said the dog, a pit bull, bit the baby on the thigh when it was released, and that Ms. Tibbott began screaming and threw herself on top of the baby.

Steelers management said in a statement Friday: “We are aware of this unfortunate situation. We express our concern for his family and hope that everyone involved makes a complete recovery.”