Janesville36.6°

Judge denies owners’ right to reclaim dogs

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Holly Ann Garey
June 24, 2011
— The 46 dogs seized by authorities May 25 and the 17 puppies the dogs gave birth to while in custody won’t be immediately returned to their owners, a judge ruled on Thursday.

However, the owners can post bond to prevent the dogs, mostly Great Danes, from being sold.


The ruling came after Green County Circuit Judge James Beer determined the owners might have violated animal cruelty laws.


“Clearly, there’s a sanitary issue,” Beer said of the Green County home on County F, where the dogs were living when they were seized on a search warrant.


Beer granted a prosecution request for a $10,329 bond, which reflects the county’s costs to care for the dogs.


If the bond is not posted in seven days, the county can sell the dogs. How much each dog is worth and the bond amount each defendant owes is up to the Green County Humane Society.


Defendant Kathy Williams, 54, plans to appeal Beer’s decision.


“No one bothered to ask if we have cleaned (the house) up, which we have,” Williams said following the ruling.


Co-defendants Allyson Williams, 24, and Donovan Williams, 45, Brodhead, appeared in court without an attorney. Co-defendant Melissa Harrel, 57, Brodhead, appeared with her attorney, Sheila Kessler.


The defendants waived their rights to speak in their own defense.


Deb Broge, executive director of the Green County Humane Society, testified 15 of the dogs are at the Dane County Humane Society. The puppies, Broge said, were a surprise. Staff became aware the dogs were pregnant after they were seized.


Defense witness James McCready, a veterinarian assistant hired by Harrel, appeared Thursday.


He testified the dogs were in good health a few weeks after they were seized.



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