Veterinarian testifies about home where Great Danes were seized

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Holly Ann Garey
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
— A veterinarian present during the May 25 seizure of 46 Great Danes from a home near Brodhead testified Tuesday that the smell of feces and urine inside the house was so strong she had trouble breathing.

“My chest was tight, and it was difficult to breathe for a few days afterwards,” Emily Dahlgran testified during a civil hearing in Green County Court on custody of the animals. “The adult dogs may have been able to handle it, but the small dogs wouldn’t have.”

Authorities executed a search warrant at the residence on County F near Brodhead and seized the dogs, which now number 60 because several gave birth since being taken.

Testimony in the civil case is scheduled to resume Thursday before Judge James Beer.

The defendants, Allyson Williams, 24; Kathy Williams, 54; and Donovan Williams, 45, all of Brodhead, appeared in court without an attorney.

Melissa Harrel, 57, Brodhead, appeared with her attorney, Sheila Kessler.

Green County’s assistant corporation council, Jane Landretti, is prosecuting the civil case.

Tuesday’s testimony came from three prosecution witnesses, a pair of Green County sheriff’s deputies and Dahlgran.

Deputy Scott Ellefson told the court Allyson Williams was outside the house when deputies arrived to execute the search warrant.

Ellefson testified that he had started investigating in April 2010, acting on reports of animal abuse and neglect of horses and dogs at the residence.

Prosecution witnesses told the court that dirt, urine, and fecal matter were found throughout the property and inside the single-story, ranch-style house.

Ellefson said the home was poorly ventilated, with fresh air coming in only from a window that was slightly open in a bedroom, a fan in another bedroom and a partially open garage door. The kennels inside and outside were “dirty” and filled with new and decaying fecal matter, Ellefson said.

“Some of the animals had food and water available to them,” Ellefson said.

Officials testified that seven Great Dane puppies were found in the kitchen.

“They were all in one enclosed area, and they were in one crate in that enclosed area,” Deputy Joseph Youngblood said.

Five more Great Dane puppies were found in the living room. Cats were found, too, but were not seized because there were no complaints related to them.

Dahlgran, a veterinarian at Brodhead Veterinary Clinic, testified that the dogs were generally in good health, though some had preexisting conditions or genetic disorders that were unrelated to the conditions in the home.

Last updated: 5:36 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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