Linda West, 74, pleaded not guilty Tuesday, and her daughter, 37-year-old Carol West, stood mute to the 29 crimes filed against each of them, including two counts of child neglect, six counts of felony mistreating animals and 21 counts of misdemeanor mistreating animals, all as party to the crime.
Authorities in October seized 44 rats, 16 horses, eight dogs and one cat from the Wests’ property at N5788 Hauser Road.
Most were emaciated after having survived living in feces-laden locked plastic kennels or corrals without water, according to the complaint filed in La Crosse County Circuit Court.
Carol West’s two children, ages 8 and 11, also lived at the house, which smelled overwhelmingly of urine and feces. An animal control officer choked on the odor, and deputies wore gas masks during a search of the property.
“There was rat feces and dog feces throughout the home,” La Crosse County sheriff’s deputy Rich Amundsen testified. “The West property was the worst property I’ve ever been in in my entire life.”
The county’s health department on Oct. 19 condemned the house, which authorities navigated using narrow paths through mounds of debris and garbage stacked to the ceiling. Authorities lifted the condemnation order Nov. 11 after the property met the minimum acceptable living standards, sanitarian Sam Welch said.
Authorities found 32 dead rats in a freezer along with food, and horses were standing in manure that was knee deep, Amundsen testified.
One horse had hooves so overgrown that it struggled to walk, while another now suffers from a chronic breathing condition, animal control supervisor Kathy KasaKaitas testified.
LINDA WEST AND CAROL WEST DON'T THINK THEY DID ANYTHING WRONG...
The Wests in November filed suit against the county sheriff and animal control, challenging whether the animals were properly taken and held. The women also want a judicial order for their return.
(LaCrosse Tribune - Jan 25, 2017)