Friday, December 31, 2010

2 dogs shot after attacking woman walking dog

NORTH CAROLINA -- Two Rottweilers were shot on Friday morning after attacking a woman and her dog in the University City area.

The incident happened around 8 am in the Buckleigh neighborhood on Leopold Circle, near Reedy Creek Park, when two Rottweiler dogs escaped from their yard, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police sergeant

The dogs, who dug a hole under a fence to escape, then attacked a woman and her dog who were walking in the neighborhood.  The woman, was taken to Carolinas Medical Center for injuries on her arm and neck.

A 24-year-old neighbor with military training, Daniel Alexander, saw that the dogs had the woman and her pet pinned in some bushes. Alexander saw the scene, grabbed a gun inside and came to the woman's aid.

Alexander then shot one of the Rottweilers when it came at him.  That dog ran off and has not been found.

He told WBTV that he tried to distract the dogs before shooting and only fired shots as a last resort.
Two CMPD officers then arrived at the scene to find the remaining dog in a neighbor's backyard.

Police say the dog was acting aggressively and trying to get to another dog that was fenced in.  Police say the dog then came towards the officers, and three shots were fired.  That Rottweiler died at the scene.

 The condition of the dog who was being walked by the woman is unknown at this point.

Animal Control is currently attempting to locate the first dog and will continue to investigate the owners and what led to the dogs being left unattended, police said.

Internal Affairs was called to investigate any time an officer discharges their weapon to ensure all CMPD policies and procedures have been followed, police said.

(WBTV - Dec 31, 2010)

Teen on animal cruelty charges after forcing pony to run beside car

AUSTRALIA -- A 17-YEAR-OLD man has been charged with animal cruelty after he was allegedly seen towing a pony behind his car at Murphy’s Creek on Christmas Day. 
 
It is understood the pony was tethered to a car by a rope and forced to run alongside the car at speed on Murphy’s Creek Road, about 25km northeast of Toowoomba.

About 1pm people inside a house saw the offender and chased him until his car stopped.


They then unhooked the pony and took it to safety.

After initial fears the male grey Shetland pony would have to be put down, it was placed in RSPCA care in Brisbane.

The animal suffered significant injuries to its legs and is expected to take several weeks to recover.

It is unknown whether the pony has suffered permanent damage.

A spokesman for Queensland Police Service said tips from the public led to the arrest.

The teenager, from Helidon east of Toowoomba, will appear in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court in January.

(Courier Mail - December 31, 2010)

Illinois: Investigators searching for more dead animals at Diane Eldrup's Muddy Paws Dog Rescue facility

ILLINOIS -- Lake County law enforcement authorities will comb through a sampling of 5 tons to 10 tons of dog excrement in plastic garbage bags in an effort to determine the number of dead animals at Muddy Paws Dog Rescue in Deer Park.


Police spent about five hours Thursday at the shuttered facility off Rand Road and recovered the bodies of 20 dogs, three birds and an opossum, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Mermel said. Authorities initially estimated 17 canines died from neglect at Muddy Paws.


Mermel called Muddy Paws "a feces-filled, carcass-covered death camp for dogs." He said some of the deceased dogs starved to death after they were sent to Muddy Paws by other rescue operations.

At least 5 tons to 10 tons of dog excrement was found in a garage fronting Rand Road after Muddy Paws operator Diane Eldrup was arrested by Kildeer police Dec. 17, authorities said.

Mermel said it's believed dead animals were hidden in the feces, but investigators will start by examining only 10 trash bags and halt the search if nothing is found in the sampling.


"The magnitude of this is beyond comprehension," Mermel said as investigators worked around him in the stench wearing white protective suits and rubber gloves similar to what's used at a hazardous materials call.

Eldrup, 48, is charged with 32 counts of animal cruelty. Kildeer police, who patrol neighboring Deer Park, arrested Eldrup after her estranged husband reported he found dead dogs on the property where she lived with the couple's 8-year-old boy.


Prosecutors said $8,000 in cash and a $17,000 cashier's check was posted by John Breseman of Algonquin to free Eldrup from the Lake County jail on the required 10 percent of a $250,000 bond. Mermel said records show Breseman, who couldn't be reached for comment, declared personal bankruptcy Dec. 14 in U.S. District Court in Rockford.

With yellow crime-scene tape around the front of Muddy Paws, Kildeer police received assistance Thursday from the Lake County sheriff's office and other agencies. Six of the recovered dog carcasses were sent to Lake County veterinarians who are donating their services to perform animal autopsies, known as necropsies.

 

Mermel said it's hoped the necropsies show a cause of death and provide an idea of how long ago the dogs perished.

Photographs shot by investigators depict a grisly scene inside the living quarters of Muddy Paws, where authorities said many of the dead dogs were discovered. Dogs were found on the floor and hidden in mattresses.


Some of the deceased dogs in the images were curled next to empty food bowls that had visible bite marks. Other photographs showed the dogs in various states of decomposition.

Mermel said investigators believe some of the dogs became so hungry they started eating dead canines.


"Incomprehensive cruelty in which these poor, helpless animals were killed," he said.

Dead maggots were found in a refrigerator that contained food inside the living area, not far from a child's bed, authorities said.

Waukegan police Sgt. Charlie Burleson, who handles animal abuse cases, was among those called to assist in Thursday's investigation.

"This is one of the worst torture cases I've probably seen," Burleson said during a break.


Visitors had started a memorial at the site. It included a cross, a plastic disc, stuffed dog, a battery-operated candle, dog treats, a squeak toy and a tennis ball.

Mermel gently placed some of the memorial items in the back of a sport-utility vehicle when police started wrapping up the day.

(Daily Herald - Dec 30, 2010)

Earlier:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Illinois: Diane Eldrup, owner of Muddy Paws Dog Rescue, faces 32 counts of animal cruelty

ILLINOIS -- Lake County prosecutors say the operator of a shuttered Deer Park kennel where authorities found several dead dogs will officially face 32 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.

In addition, the attorney for Diane Eldrup withdrew from the case at the start of court Tuesday, and other issues expected to be before the court were delayed until Eldrup finds a new attorney or is appointed a public defender, Lake County Assistant States Attorney Mike Mermel said.


She is due back in court Jan. 11, Mermel said.

Eldrup was arrested Dec. 17 at the former Muddy Paws Dog Rescue, 20429 N. Rand Road, after authorities and the woman's estranged husband found 17 dead dogs on the property.

Four dogs and two cats were saved from the former shelter, and are being nursed back to health by the Lake County Animal Control, Mermel said.


Mermel said a motion asking Eldrup to forfeit the surviving dogs and cats and to place the animals in foster homes was also delayed after Eldrup's attorney dropped out, Mermel said.

Eldrup, who was originally charged with four counts of aggravated cruelty to animals when she was arrested, is free on bond after posting the required 10 percent of her $250,000.


Authorities became aware of conditions at Muddy Paws when Eldrup's estranged husband discovered the dead dogs while trying to retrieve some of his belongings at the former shelter. He contacted authorities, who later arrested Eldrup.

Eldrup faces up to five years in prison if convicted on all counts in the case, Mermel said.

 
 

(Daily Herald - Dec 28, 2010)

Earlier:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Boy, 11, savaged by dog

UNITED KINGDOM -- A boy of 11 was savaged by a dog just days after his father had taken the stray in off the street.

Finn O'Mahoney's cheek was ripped open by the five-stone Chinese Shar-Pei dog, which attacked him while he was watching television on Christmas Day.

Recovering: Finn's father Michael visits his son in hospital

The terrified boy was only spared worse injury when his dad wrestled the dog to the floor.

Finn is now recovering after hours of surgery and 18 stitches, while the dog was put down.

His father Michael, 42, along with mother Carol, 38 and sister Lily, nine, had taken pity on the dog after seeing it shivering near their home in Wolverhampton.

But as the family watched the Coronation Street Christmas special, the animal 'launched itself through the air' with no warning to attack Finn.

Michael, 42, said: 'No one had shouted or made any sudden movements to frighten the dog - it just launched itself through the air without any warning at all and clamped itself on to Finn's face.

A smiling Finn, 11, nestles up to the
sleeping dog which his father had only recently taken in
off the street. The animal has now been put down.

'The dog just went berserk for no reason. I've never seen such ferocity from an animal.

'I tried punching it to stop it but it kept snarling and biting, it was vicious. My wife just ran into the next room, she was terrified and there was a lot of blood.

'We'd even been playing with the dog all day until then. We'd started calling him "the gentleman" because he was so obedient and had such a lovely posture.

'I dread to think what could have happened if I hadn't been there as it could have been much worse.' 

Finn sustained puncture wounds to his mouth and throat, as well as a two-inch gash from his eye to his nose.

He needed two and a half hours of surgery to repair his face which had been 'hanging off' after the attack, and has been told by doctors he may need cosmetic surgery in later life.

Michael added: 'Finn will never look at dogs the same way again after this. We've just about convinced him to keep our other dog but it has definitely affected him.

'I just want to warn anyone about taking in stray dogs like that, The dog was at death's door and I've never believed people when they say "he just snapped", but that's exactly what happened.'

Finn O'Mahoney recovers in hospital from the dog attack.
The Chinese Shar-Pei mauled him as he watched
TV at home on Christmas Day

He said the family had the dog checked out by vets and wanted to offer it a home at Christmas.

'We took it to an animal sanctuary and they checked it over for us and they agreed it was a nice old dog. I said we wanted to take it home and give it somewhere to go at Christmas,' he added.

The attack came just days after Barbara Williams, 52, was thought to have been mauled to death by a Belgian mastiff in Wallington, south London.

(Daily Mail UK - December 28, 2010)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pennsylvania: Linda Muchnick, 57, ordered to surrender the animals she once was accused of trying to poison

PENNSYLVANIA -- Ending a 16-month legal battle regarding the custody of more than a dozen cats, a judge ordered a Pottstown woman to forfeit the animals she once was accused of trying to poison.

Linda Muchnick, 57, must forfeit the surviving 16 cats and one dog to the Montgomery County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, county Judge Steven T. O'Neill ruled Wednesday. The order essentially allows the SPCA, which has held the animals while the legal battle loomed, to put the animals up for adoption.

The judge made the ruling after hearing Muchnick's impassioned plea for the return of the animals and a prosecutor's argument against that return.


Muchnick vowed to appeal O'Neill's ruling to the state Superior Court. Under the law, she has 30 days to do so.

"In my heart and my soul I feel I have lived an exemplary life for the animal kingdom. I've done the hard road to show my character for 16 months. I love my babies. I'm going to appeal this and do my best because that's what I believe is the right thing to do," Muchnick said during an interview after the civil hearing. "I love them, absolutely."

Muchnick argued her "pet family" belongs to her. Muchnick claimed there is nobody else who has a greater love for the animals and that she would never harm the animals again.

Assistant District Attorney Abby Silverman argued that the animals seized from Muchnick constituted "derivative contraband," the objects of an illegal act under the law, and that they could be forfeited and should not be returned to Muchnick.

"They should be forfeited because of the ordeal they suffered at her hands. What's to say that situation isn't going to occur again," Silverman argued.

"Additionally, she's currently living in a small one bedroom apartment in Pottstown and putting 16 cats, one dog and a person in a small bedroom in Pottstown is probably a situation that may drive her again to desperate acts such as poisoning them," Silverman alleged.

The SPCA was in a holding pattern when it came to the surviving animals and couldn't put them up for adoption either until a judge ruled Muchnick can't have the animals or until Muchnick voluntarily relinquished custody of the animals. Since August 2009, the SPCA's cost to house the animals reached $32,383, according to testimony.

On May 24, O'Neill determined Muchnick was not guilty by reason of insanity of multiple counts of animal cruelty and attempted cruelty to animals in connection with an August 2009 incident at her former Towamencin home.

Specifically, O'Neill determined that at the time of the Aug. 20 incident, after which 12 of the 29 cats found in Muchnick's former home on East Bishopwood Boulevard died from complications of ingesting rat poison, was suffering from a mental disease or defect that prevented her from knowing what was right or wrong or understanding the consequences of her conduct.

While Muchnick faces no further action under criminal laws, under a so-called civil commitment, the judge ordered Muchnick to continue with outpatient mental health treatment.

Muchnick subsequently filed court papers to regain custody of the animals. According to previous testimony, a psychiatrist who once offered the opinion that Muchnick was legally insane at the time of the poisoning incident also stated in a March report that Muchnick would not pose harm to the pets if they were returned to her.

The judge previously indicated that a prior federal court ruling in a case nearly identical to Muchnick's plight, did uphold the idea that animals are considered "chattel," or tangible property that can be subject to forfeiture.

While Muchnick previously said she was grateful for the shelter and food provided to the animals by the SPCA, she feared for their futures if she was not awarded custody.

Muchnick, who did not have any contact with the animals since they were seized, feared that the animals would be adopted by someone who was not prepared to deal with problems associated with the animals' backgrounds. The animals include a pit pull dog named "Lukey" and 16 feral cats.

According to the original arrest complaint, Muchnick notified the Harleysville Veterninary Clinic that she intended to kill herself and her collection of pets because "her building financial issues made her realize suicide was the only solution." Police alleged Muchnick wrote a note indicating she "thought it would be best for her pets if she killed them along with herself so they could be in heaven together."

When police went to the home, they found Muchnick, conscious but incoherent, lying on the floor of a locked and poorly ventilated bedroom, along with a sickly pit bull dog, and 29 cats inside two locked bedrooms, according to court documents.

During the investigation, authorities found animal food bowls that contained D-Con Rat Poison, according to the criminal complaint. Police also found an open container of the rat poison in a dresser of the bedroom where Muchnick was discovered.

(Delco Times - Dec 22, 2010)

Earlier:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Illinois: Most of the 17 dead dogs found at Muddy Paws Dog Rescue were found inside living area of house, says attorney

ILLINOIS -- Most of the 17 dead dogs authorities recovered last week from a shuttered Deer Park kennel were found inside the living area of the house on the property, an attorney said Tuesday.

The lawyer for Kurt Eldrup, the estranged husband of accused animal abuser Diane Eldrup, said his client and police discovered the animals inside the house that was without heat or running water.


Waukegan attorney John Joanem said Kurt Eldrup's discovery and the subsequent arrest of his wife prompted him to seek an emergency custody order for the couple's 8-year-old son that bars Diane Eldrup from having contact with the boy.

Joanem's revelations came following a court hearing in which prosecutors announced their intention to seek to raise Diane Eldrup's $250,000 bond and convinced a judge to order her to surrender her passport.

Diane Eldrup was arrested Friday after being charged with aggravated cruelty to animals at the former Muddy Paws Dog Rescue, 20429 N. Rand Road.

 

Her bond was set at $250,000 after a court hearing that day, and Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Michael Mermel said she was released from custody within hours of the hearing.

Mermel said at least $8,000 of the $25,000 bond was posted in $50 and $100 bills, leading him to believe she may have a large quantity of cash hidden somewhere.

 

He said that suspicion and the fact Eldrup is from England and is believed to have relatives there, prompted him to ask Associate Judge Raymond Collins to increase her bond.

Collins said he would not do so until he sees a report on Eldrup's background prepared by the probation department. He scheduled a hearing on Mermel's request for Dec. 27.

Collins did order her to surrender her passport by Wednesday morning, and said he would reconsider the request for a higher bond if she failed to do so.


Authorities became aware of conditions at Muddy Paws after Kurt Eldrup, who Joanem said has been separated from his wife for at least two years and has been barred from the Deer Park property by an order of protection, obtained a court order allowing him to retrieve some belongings.

Joanem said his client went to the property alone Dec. 15, and found a single dead dog in an outbuilding away from the house but could not find his wife or son on the property.


Kurt Eldrup returned the following day, Joanem said, and the rest of the 17 dead dogs were found in the living area of the house that is attached to the kennel.

"The animals were in locked cages in the house and there was no evidence any food or water had been provided for them in the cages," Joanem said. "The heat and water to the house had been turned off and there was no real indication how long it had been since any people had lived there."


A warrant was issued for Diane Eldrup's arrest and she surrendered to Wauconda police the following day, prompting Kurt Eldrup to ask the judge handling the couple's divorce to award him sole custody of the boy.

Joanem said the boy has asked about the condition of two cats that were among six living animals removed from the property by county officials.

Leslie Piotrowski, spokeswoman for the county health department, said Tuesday all of the living animals -- the cats and four dogs -- received treatment and were expected to survive.

 

Joanem said Kurt Eldrup is careful in his discussions with his son about what the boy may know about what happened at Muddy Paws.

"At this point, no one knows what the boy may have seen or experienced while he was living with his mother and it is possible some counseling will be necessary," Joanem said. "Right now, dad and son are just trying to enjoy their reunion."

Diane Eldrup faces up to three years in prison if convicted in the case.

(Daily Herald - Dec 21, 2010)

Earlier:

Jonathan King Says His Dog Boomer Didn't Deserve to Die

GEORGIA -- An Atlanta teen is devastated after he says cops shot and killed his beloved golden retriever "Boomer" for doing what he's supposed to do: bark.

"I feel like my best friend is gone," said 19-year-old Jonathan King. "I feel like cold-blooded murder happened on my front lawn."

"Boomer was doing what he was supposed to do, barking at someone who isn't supposed to be on my land," said King.


King said that an officer from the Clayton County Police Department was called to his mother's subdivision in Jonesboro, Ga., to investigate a disturbance. While King says he did not witness the shooting, a neighbor told him that he saw the dog approach the cop and then immediately fall to the ground upon being shot.

"My neighbor told me it happened so quick that he was speechless," said King, who was down the block when Boomer was shot. "He said that he didn't think you could even pull your firearm out and discharge it that fast."

Repeated calls to Clayton County Police Lt. Tina Daniel were not returned, but Daniel told ABC News' Atlanta affiliate WSB that the officer, who has not been named, was approached by Boomer, who "began barking and running" toward him.

Daniel told WSB that the officer commanded the dog to stop but it did not, leading him to shoot and kill him.

Asked whether the officer might have been afraid Boomer was going to bite, King said, "Never once in seven years has Boomer bitten anyone, and I have hundreds of people who can testify."

Holding back tears, King told ABC News that seven-year-old Boomer had given his family a "sense of security" since their father died of cancer eight years ago.

King said that he and his five siblings and his widowed mother, "shouldn't have to deal with this."

"It's killing them just as much as me, they loved the dog too," said King. "The dog gave us a sense of comfort, my mom shouldn't have to deal with this."

Reached by telephone, King's neighbor who said he witnessed the shooting, and who asked that his name not be used, said the shooting was unwarranted.

"He's not an attack dog," the neighbor said of Boomer. "He's a golden retriever and that's it."
"I've known this dog since he was a puppy," he said. "I've known the boy since he was a little boy. It was a horrible thing to see this kid go through this."

"Now this poor kid has to go through Christmas without his dog," he added.
King says that he knows nothing will bring back Boomer but says he hopes justice will be served.

"Just because he's a police officer doesn't mean he can walk into someone's yard and shoot their dog," he said.

Boomer was buried in a field where he and King would often go bird hunting, according to King.

"The saddest part of it was that Boomer was still wagging tail after he was shot," said King.

(abcnews - Dec 21, 2010)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Victim of dog mauling home from hospital

MAINE -- She was mauled by dogs so badly that she escaped death twice and lost an arm, but Karen Stewart doesn’t want pity.

The 41-year-old northern Penobscot County woman is back on her feet, and she plans to enjoy every minute of her life. “I’m glad to be alive,” she said Sunday while joking with her friends at the Four Corners Variety Store in LaGrange.


“I’m happy-go-lucky; I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me,” Stewart said. “The way I look at it is: Hey, I’ve got two legs, I’ve got a body, I’ve got one arm, I’ve got my brain, and I’ve got my health.”

Stewart can’t recall much of the event that altered her life on Nov. 12, but she is adamant that two dogs were involved in the attack. She said she is glad one of the dogs since has been euthanized, but she believes the same fate should fall on the other dog that “started the attack.”

“I want that dog gone, too,” she said. Stewart has asked state police to do that but was told it would be up to the district attorney.

“I have a lot of anger against the dogs’ owners, I do; I have a lot of anger,” Stewart said. She said they have not called to apologize, sent her a card or visited her.

Adam Bemis, 28, who owned the American bulldog mix involved in the attack, has been charged with keeping a dangerous dog. It is believed the other dog, a small beagle-type, belonged to a friend of Bemis’.

Despite Stewart’s recollection, state police believe only one dog was involved in the attack, and they believe the appropriate animal was euthanized.

Karen Stewart couldn't have imaginged that a simple
stroll on this country road would change her life.

Stewart, who had been staying a few days with her friend Vaughn “Sonny” Adams in LaGrange last month, recalled that the small dog “came out of nowhere and nipped at her butt,” while she was walking on Forest Street. “My butt is all black and blue,” she said.

“I just said stop, stop, stop [to the small dog],” Stewart recalled. The small dog stopped, and then she discovered Bemis’ large dog was behind her. That dog jumped on her back and pushed her down to the ground and began “ripping her apart,” she recalled. “He pushed me down and started right in on me — on my arms.” She has little recollection of what happened after that.

According to Adams, Stewart, “who was covered head to toe in blood and mud,” managed to drag herself back to his house. When he went to her aid, Adams was horrified. The dog took her elbow out, chewed her whole forearm so there was just skin and bone left, and her right arm had a bite about 3 inches deep and 4 inches wide.

When friend Vaughn Adams came to her aid,
he says he realized "her elbow was gone"

While Adams grabbed whatever he could find to wrap Stewart’s wounds to stop the bleeding, someone else called 911.

Stewart was airlifted to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and later transferred to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

After a touch-and-go hospital stay in which her right arm was amputated, Stewart showed her strength and was released Dec. 10. She plans to stay with Adams for at least six months while she recuperates. She said she recognizes she has a long road of recovery ahead.



Hospital officials told Stewart she had about 40 bites on her body, most of which were on her arms because she had used them to defend herself. Much of the skin on her left arm was torn off in the attack, so doctors removed large patches of skin from her legs and grafted them onto the arm to save that limb, she explained.

“It’s disappointing [to lose an arm], it really is,” Stewart said. “You’re lucky you’ve got two arms and you better be thankful for that because one arm, it’s really a challenge.” While she is looking forward to being fitted soon for a prosthesis, she considers herself somewhat lucky in that she is left-handed.

For now, Stewart must be careful to avoid infection in her wounds. She must make regular trips to the Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln to have her dressings changed, something that Adams hopes he can do in the future to avoid the expense of traveling.

“He’s my hero, he’s the best angel,” Stewart said of Adams. “I owe him.”

The community also has been supportive of Stewart, among them her friends at the local store. “I think she has a better personality now than she ever had,” John Decesere, co-owner of the Four Corners Variety Store, said Sunday of Stewart. “She has a better outlook on life because of what has happened to her.”

Despite all she has been through, Stewart remains upbeat and can’t thank the public enough for the cards and the prayers she has received. She recalled that a Bangor woman’s letter was so heartwarming it prompted her to cry for about 20 minutes in her hospital room.


“I appreciate all the prayers — all the prayers [have] helped me through this,” Stewart said tearing up. “I thank everyone and everybody for everything, all the help and the support, I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. If there’s anything I can do to help anybody, I will be there for everybody like they was for me.”

Adams said the entire incident could have been avoided. “If the dogs were hooked, none of this would have happened,” he said.

Stewart agreed. “They all need to be tied, if you don’t have your dog tied, you shouldn’t even own a dog,” she said. She said she is just glad it was she the dogs attacked that night. “I’m really sorry to say it but I’m really glad it happened to me because I’m glad it didn’t happen to a child.”

(Bangor Daily News - Dec 19, 2010)

Earlier:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Illinois: 18 dead dogs found at Deer Park rescue called Muddy Paws; owner Diane Eldrup arrested

ILLINOIS -- Authorities have arrested the operator of a shuttered Deer Park kennel and animal rescue after discovering 18 dead dogs and six more severely dehydrated and malnourished animals inside her shelter.

Diane Eldrup, 48, was in custody at the Lake County jail Friday on $250,000 bond while facing four counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony punishable by a maximum one to three years in prison.

 

Kildeer police said Eldrup owned the Muddy Paws Dog Rescue, a rundown ranch building at 20429 N. Rand Road, where officers made the grisly discovery Thursday. She turned herself in to Wauconda police Thursday afternoon and was taken to the jail.

Kildeer Police Chief Lou Rossi said Eldrup's estranged husband first came upon the dead dogs Thursday morning when he went to the facility, also his former home, with a court order allowing him to retrieve some of his belongings. It had been closed for business for about a year, police said.


"I do not know if these animals were previous dogs she had on the premise or if they were strays she had taken in," Rossi said. "To my knowledge these dogs run the gamut. It's not like a puppy mill."

The village of Deer Park contracts with Kildeer for police coverage.

 

Lake County animal control officers Thursday removed four dogs and two cats all alive from the property and took them to a local animal hospital to be treated for dehydration, county health department spokeswoman Leslie Piotrowski said.

The animals were later moved to the county animal control facility in Mundelein, though one dog, a shepherd mix, remained behind in need of extra care.


Investigators have not yet determined how long the dogs had been left without sufficient food or water. There were no signs of decomposition, Rossi said.

"They're very emaciated and dehydrated," Piotrowski said. "It's a long road to recovery, but the prognosis is good."

 

Rossi said animal control is scanning any implanted tracking chips to try to learn more about potential owners, adding that he didn't know whether they were boarded animals or strays Eldrup had taken in.

Rossi hasn't been inside the building and no officers who have were available to describe the scene. Piotrowski said she heard the facility was dilapidated and covered in debris.

 

Rossi didn't know where the deceased animals were located but said five weren't discovered until Friday afternoon. Chief for just three months, he also didn't know if police had been called to the site in the past.

According to its website, Muddy Paws was a no-kill shelter with a mission to "...put an end to the unnecessary deaths of innocent creatures and to help turn Illinois into the first No-Kill State."


The site says the facility fights against puppy mills and helps "find a warm and loving environment for those who do not hold a grudge."

A listed phone number for the shelter was disconnected Friday.

Kildeer Village President Nandia Black said that as the leader of a neighboring community, she was saddened to learn of the situation and hopes the surviving dogs will be reunited with their owners or find new homes.


(Daily Herald - Dec 17, 2010)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Minnesota: Benjamin Stavaas, who fled the state after slitting dog's throat, won’t return until after Colorado case

MINNESOTA -- It may be a while before the Otter Tail County Court gets to deal with Benjamin James Stavaas, the 23-year-old Battle Lake resident who fled Minnesota after allegedly slashing the throat of Star the golden retriever mix in June.

Stavaas was arrested Wednesday morning for allegedly burglarizing a liquor store in Golden, Colo., and he may be incarcerated in the Jefferson County, Colo. jail for quite some time before he is extradited to Minnesota.

Stavaas was first noticed by two Golden police officers shortly after midnight Mountain Standard Time on Wednesday, according to Pam Russell, an information officer with the district attorney’s office of Jefferson and Gilpin counties.


Stavaas and another man, Bryan Brooks, 31, were allegedly hanging around near Golden’s public library, pushing each other and holding bottles of alcohol. Wondering why the two were out so late, the two officers approached Stavaas and Brooks to ask them some questions.

The officers asked the two men to identify themselves and ran their names. Upon running Stavaas’ name, the officers realized that there were two warrants out for his arrest.

While the officers were talking to Stavaas and Brooks, they allegedly saw some shards of glass that were on Stavaas’ person. At about the same time, a call came in that a nearby liquor store had had its window smashed in. The officers suspected the two men of burglarizing the store and arrested them for suspicion of felony burglary and misdemeanor theft and criminal mischief. Stavaas was also arrested for being a fugitive from justice. In addition to his Otter Tail County warrant, he also has a warrant in Wadena County for failing to appear at a probation violation hearing for terroristic threats and domestic assault.

Stavaas has not been formally charged at this time. The district attorney’s office has until Tuesday to formally charge him. He will appear in court on Thursday morning, when he will be advised of his rights and why he is being charged. Bond may also be set.

If the district attorney does choose to prosecute Stavaas, his Colorado court case will be heard before his animal cruelty case in Otter Tail County.

“It will take a while for him to go through their court system,” said Lieutenant Matthew McGuire with the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office. McGuire added that even if Stavaas is cleared of his Colorado charges or is not charged at all, he will be transported back to Otter Tail County.

“Once he’s done with their charges, he will go through the extradition process,” McGuire explained. “We’ve got a hold on him.”

McGuire said that charging Stavaas with fleeing to avoid prosecution has also been discussed, but any serious decisions about that would be premature.

“I don’t see any additional charges at this time, but that would be up to the county attorney’s office,” he said, adding that there can be federal charges involved with fleeing across state lines, but those are not usually handed down unless a serious felony is involved.

Though Stavaas probably won’t be back in a Minnesota court for quite some time, the local sheriff’s office is glad that the hunt is over.

“We’re pleased that he was finally picked up,” said McGuire.

(Fergus Falls Journal - Dec 16, 2010)

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