TOWN OF JANESVILLE
A town of Janesville couple has been ordered to pay thousands of dollars to the town after a nearly yearlong lawsuit.
Porsche and Jonathan Kettelhut, who operate A Right to Life Animal and Equine Sanctuary, were ordered Friday to pay $11,792 in legal fees to the town, according to documents filed in Rock County Court.
That decision came two months after the court ordered the Kettelhuts to remove two of their eight horses from their property and pay a $500 fine and legal fees, according to documents.
The town had asked for $14,064 to pay for more than 100 hours of attorney Steven Chesebro’s and his assistant’s time, according to the documents.
About 20 hours were trimmed from that request because the court found that spending more than 90 hours on the case was “unreasonable,” said Jeffrey Janik, the Kettelhuts’ attorney.
Porsche said she was “shocked” to learn the amount, calling it “inflated and very padded.”
“It seemed at every point in this litigation the town was taking a very aggressive position with these defendants, for whatever reason,” Janik said.
Town Chairman Bruce Schneider said he believes the town did what it had to do to ensure the Kettelhuts were following local ordinances.
Chesebro was not in his office Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.
The Gazette also was unable to reach Town Clerk Linda Fewell by press time.
In its lawsuit, the town requested the immediate removal of two horses and $75,900 in fines in addition to legal fees, according to court documents. However, the couple were ordered to pay only $500 in fines and were given 60 days to remove the horses, the documents show.
A woman offered to board two horses until the couple can find a way to keep all the horses together, Porsche said. She declined to disclose the woman’s name or location.
Porsche said two horses—Velvet and Kiya—were brought to the woman’s property Aug. 25.
The Kettelhuts’ property at 2320 N. Dani Drive is zoned for one large farm animal—“any horse, head of cattle, pony, sheep, goat or hog”—per acre of land.
The couple had eight horses on their six-acre property, and the town sued them in December for having too many horses, according to court documents.
Porsche told The Gazette in December that the definition of “large farm animal” is ambiguous and that she was told different definitions by different officials.
The Kettelhuts are seeking donations to help pay their legal fees, Porsche said. She set up a GoFundMe page asking for $12,660.
The couple will continue to run the sanctuary.
“It is difficult because it takes money away from my kids, my health and my animals,” Porsche said. “It’s sad that the town would be so low. They are certainly not honest people.”