Update provided on April 14, 2010. Please see below.
Animal Humane Society assists Waseca County Sheriff’s Office with release of animals from Waseca property
April 1, 2010
Animal Humane Society (AHS) removed 10 dogs, three ferrets and one wolf from a property in Waseca, Minn. on March 31 in cooperation with the Waseca County Sheriff’s Office. All animals are now being cared for at Animal Humane Society’s Golden Valley facility. They will be undergoing medical evaluations and treatments.
AHS was called in to assist the sheriff’s office after they received a number of reports about the conditions of animals at a property that was being run as an animal sanctuary. A formal investigation was conducted over the past several weeks.
Inspections found that the owner had more than 125 animals on his property, including companion, livestock, exotic and wild animals. He was found in violation of running a non-profit enterprise without the proper Waseca County permits. In addition, AHS Senior Humane Agent Keith Streff and sheriff's deputies found animals living in conditions that do not meet the standards required by law—inconsistent feeding and watering, improper sanitation, inadequate lighting and ventilation. Animals were found to have little or no opportunity for exercise or socialization.
As part of the ongoing investigation, AHS and Waseca County officials worked with the property owner ordering him to procure the proper permits and improve the animals' living environment, and/or to reduce his companion animal population to three animals. The owner was either unable or unwilling to do so within the designated time period set by officials. On March 31 a warrant was executed by the sheriff’s office to seize animals that were not being properly cared for by law.
On March 31 when the AHS team arrived on the property, some animals had already been released to other rescue organizations the day before. The owner voluntarily surrendered 14 live animals into the care of AHS. Five other animals were found dead on the property, including a goat and four miniature horses. The cause of death is being investigated and a full report will be submitted to the county attorney for criminal review.
According to AHS CEO/President Janelle Dixon, AHS will be exploring placement opportunities for the animals being cared for in Golden Valley. "I'm relieved to know they are out of this difficult situation. I witnessed firsthand how these animals were living and it was heartbreaking. But as relieved as I am that these animals are now getting the care they need, it always begs the question 'how many more animals are out there waiting for help?'"
April 14, 2010
After the animals arrived at Animal Humane Society, they were given the care and attention they needed. Once acclimated to their new surroundings, both their health and behavior were evaluated to determine where and if they would be placed for adoption, foster care or with an animal sanctuary.
Each animal that comes to Animal Humane Society is scanned for a microchip two to three times while in its care. During the initial scan it was found that two of the dogs had microchips with their previous owner’s name and current phone number listed. One of the dogs was returned to its original owner on April 1. The other is still currently in the care of Animal Humane Society while the organization works with the owner to place the dog with local friends and family.
Two dogs were placed in the adoption center in Golden Valley on April 12; one has already been adopted and went to its new home on April 13.
One of the dogs was found to have an advanced cataract in its left eye. Animal Humane Society veterinarians determined it was in the dog’s best interest to have the eye removed. He underwent surgery on April 11 and is currently awaiting placement in the home of one of Animal Humane Society’s foster volunteers. Once he has healed, he’ll return to Animal Humane Society to be placed for adoption.
Two of the dogs were found to have advanced medical conditions that require additional care undesirable to the average adopter. One is unable to stand up or walk and will be placed with Home for Life, an animal sanctuary in St. Croix Valley, in the coming days. The other is suffering from a high-grade heart murmur. Animal Humane Society is currently working with its animal welfare partners to place the dog at a sanctuary as soon as possible. In addition to treatments related to their conditions, each dog will be vaccinated, microchipped and receive spay/neuter surgery prior to leaving Golden Valley.
Animal Humane Society has made a commitment to the public to place only healthy, treatable and safe animals in the community and with its animal welfare partners. It is not always able to place all the animals that come into its care from cases such as this one. Sadly, three of the dogs did not pass behavioral evaluations and were determined not to be safe for placement in its adoption centers or with an animal sanctuary. Two of the dogs were humanely euthanized on April 8; the other dog was humanely euthanized on April 14.
One of the ferrets was placed for adoption on April 6 and is still currently available in Golden Valley. The other two ferrets, both nine years old, were found to be unhealthy with untreatable medical conditions due to their age (the average life span of a ferret is seven to 10 years). They were humanely euthanized on April 8.
The six-year-old hybrid wolf was transferred to the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake on April 10. The center is an expansive natural habitat that serves as an educational resource for the public, wildlife agencies, and conservation agencies.