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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — Although a trial was scheduled to start February 15 for a former Boyceville woman charged in connection with an emaciated dog, the trial has been rescheduled to May because one of the witnesses has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Anne M. Iehl appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court by telephone February 10 with her attorney, Richard Yonko, before Judge Rod Smeltzer after the judge, at a hearing on February 5, had given the defendant and the prosecution until February 10 “to take a good look about resolving” the case.
Iehl is charged with one felony count of mistreatment of an animal and one misdemeanor count of intentionally failing to provide food for an animal.
Yonko told the court at the February 10 hearing that one of the witnesses has COVID-19 and that the witness lives with Iehl, who is currently negative for COVID, according to online court records.
Judge Smeltzer allowed the jury trial to be continued, and the trial has now been rescheduled to May.
During the February 5 hearing, Yonko filed a motion pertaining to a Daubert challenge regarding the Hoof & Paw Clinic in Menomonie.
A Daubert challenge means that the validity of an expert’s testimony is being challenged.
Judge Smeltzer denied the motion on the Daubert challenge.
Dunn County District Attorney Andrea Nodolf argued for having the dog in court during the trial, but the judge said the dog could be adequately represented by photographs.
Staff at the Dunn County Humane Society called the severely malnourished dog Gabriel after Iehl had brought him to the facility, claiming she had found him on state Highway 79.
Yonko also told the court he wanted it in writing that the district attorney’s office was not going to seek restitution in the case.
Nodolf told the court she was not willing to say that she would not be seeking restitution, according to online court records.
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 was very emaciated and 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.
Iehl said she coaxed the dog to her with some french fries she had in the car from McDonald’s and then put him into her car and brought him to the humane society.
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.
When Jamie Wagner, kennel manager at the humane society, began examining the dog, Gabriel’s breathing was labored, and both of his nostrils were blocked with a thick discharge. The dog could not walk on his own and could barely stand. He was extremely thin with bony prominences, had severe muscle loss and a lack of body fat, the complaint states.
Gabriel’s gums were pale, and his breath smelled rancid, which is often a sign of dehydration. Gabriel’s rear end, part of his legs and his snout all smelled of urine. His coat was in fair condition, and the dog did not have any fleas or ticks. Animals that are found as strays often have fleas and/or ticks, Dalton said, according to the complaint.
Dalton tried to give Gabriel a small amount of water in a bowl, but the dog was unable to swallow any of the water.
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, the complaint states.
Wagner and Dalton transported Gabriel to the Hoof & Paw Veterinary Clinic where he was examined by Dr. Amy Prochnow, DVM. The dog was hospitalized for several days and was given intravenous fluids.
After receiving medical care, Gabriel began to gain weight and improved rapidly. He was adopted by a family about two months after coming to the Dunn County Humane Society.
Although Gabriel has had problems with several bowel obstructions over the past year, he appears to be a happy, joyful dog who loves to play fetch and who is now at his ideal body weight of 60 to 65 pounds.
Gabriel has his own Facebook page, Gabriel’s Journey, and you can follow his progress there with the photographs and videos posted by his family.