The two “extremely emaciated” dogs found abandoned in a Walmart parking lot were reported healthy a few months earlier before an Elkhorn man took them in after a divorce, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.
The dogs—Blackberry, a Doxie Chin mix, and Dexter, a Dachshund—went into the care of Jeffery M. Freund, 48, of 270 W. Centralia St., following his divorce with the mother of the dogs’ owner, who in September moved to Janesville, according to the complaint filed in Walworth County Court.
After the three had lived together in Elkhorn, the dogs’ owner told Delavan police he and his mom planned to leave the dogs with Freund until they found an apartment that could have dogs, the complaint states.
The dogs at the time had no medical issues and were in a good condition, according to the owner.
But the owner Nov. 28 saw a photo police shared on Facebook showing the malnourished dogs and saying they had been found in the Walmart parking lot.
Freund made his initial appearance in court Wednesday afternoon on two counts each of mistreating animals and intentionally abandoning animals. He was also charged with obstructing an officer.
Freund’s first name was spelled Jeffery in the complaint, but police in an earlier news release spelled it Jeffrey.
The complaint also lists the second spelling of his first name under the “also known as” section.
When police spoke with Freund, he told them he had met a woman named “Dee” and given her the dogs. But after police said they would review surveillance footage of the parking lot, he admitted to making that up and just letting the dogs out of his car, the complaint states.
After that, he said, “I turned my back on them and walked away,” according to the complaint. He told police he did not take them to a shelter because he did not weigh his options carefully enough.
An officer reported that when asked why the dogs appeared malnourished, Freund said they were “a little skinny,” became defensive and added, “I fed them,” according to the complaint.
Freund, who has his own dog named Piper, said he didn’t think he’d have to care for the dogs as long as he did, the complaint states.
On Dec. 3, an officer spoke with a sheriff’s deputy who reported Dexter suffered from a heart murmur, according to the complaint. Both dogs, the deputy reported, had pancreatitis and high liver counts from malnutrition.
His next court appearance is 2 p.m. Jan. 13.
Update: This article was updated at 4:23 p.m. Wednesday to show the next court date.