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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A 29-year-old former Boyceville woman accused of turning an emaciated dog into the Dunn County Humane Society November 1, 2019, has pleaded not guilty.
Anne M. Iehl appeared by telephone in Dunn County Circuit Court July 17 with her attorney, Richard Yonko, who also appeared by telephone, for an arraignment hearing before Judge Rod Smeltzer.
Judge Smeltzer confirmed that Iehl was waiving her right to appear in court in person for the arraignment.
Iehl is charged with one felony count of mistreating an animal and one misdemeanor count of intentionally failing to provide food for an animal.
During the arraignment hearing, a two-day trial was scheduled for next February.
Judge Smeltzer set a deadline of January 22, 2021, for any motions, jury instructions and a jury list to be submitted to the court.
A final pre-trial hearing is scheduled for February 5, 2020.
According to the criminal complaint, Boyceville Police Chief Greg Lamkin met with a deputy from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department on November 7, 2019, regarding a dog that had been brought to the Dunn County Humane Society on November 1.
Josh Dalton, executive director of the Dunn County Humane Society, had reported that Anne M. Iehl had brought the dog into the shelter on November 1 and said she had found him on the side of the road and he was in “rough shape.” The dog had to be carried from Iehl’s car, the complaint states.
Dalton asked Iehl where she had found the dog, and Iehl said she had been moving from Boyceville to Menomonie and that she thought she had seen the dog near state Highway 79 at around 7:30 that morning, and then when she was taking another trip to Menomonie that afternoon around 1 p.m., she came upon the dog lying on the side of Highway 79, according to the complaint.
Staff at the Dunn County Humane Society decided to call the dog Gabriel.
Gabriel weighed 23.5 pounds when he came to the shelter, and Dalton said Gabriel should have weighed at least twice that amount, given his body size. As a state-certified humane officer, Dalton said Gabriel could not have been running as a stray for very long since he had no fleas or ticks, his coat was not in poor condition and his body condition was so poor that the recent cold temperatures would have caused hypothermia, the complaint states.
Police Chief Lamkin, while speaking with the deputy from Dunn County, noted that he had driven to work through the same area at 7:45 a.m. November 1 where Iehl had said she saw the dog in the morning, and again at 12:15 p.m. that afternoon around the time Iehl said she had seen the dog again, and had not seen a dog along the road, the complaint states.
The deputy told Police Chief Lamkin the sheriff’s department had posted a request for information along with photographs of Gabriel on Facebook and had received an anonymous call from a woman who said she was a co-worker of Iehl’s and that Iehl had admitted she had surrendered the dog, according to the complaint.
The co-worker said she was present in August of 2019 when another co-worker had considered adopting the dog and had observed he was skinny then. The co-worker said Iehl lived in Boyceville and that approximately eight co-workers of Iehl’s were aware the dog on Facebook, known as Gabriel, was actually Iehl’s dog and that his name was Harley, the complaint states.
Police Chief Lamkin left a voicemail message and asked Iehl to contact him. Iehl came to the police station in Boyceville that day and started out by saying she wished to be honest. Iehl said the dog she had surrendered was her dog, Harley, that she had owned with her ex-husband, the complaint states.
Iehl told Police Chief Lamkin she had fallen on hard times financially. Iehl said she had tried to find a home for her dogs and was able to find a new home for one of her dogs, Willard, but she had not been able to find a home for Harley, according to the complaint.
Mistreatment of animals is a Class I felony that carries a penalty, upon conviction, of a fine of up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to three years and six months.
Failure to provide proper food and drink to confined animals is a Class A misdemeanor that carries a penalty, upon conviction, of a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to nine months in prison.