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Take Action: Help Sentence An Animal Abuser

Take Action: Help Sentence An Animal Abuser

On Friday, April 29, 2011 Jennifer Petkus, owner and operator of the Thyme & Sage Ranch in Wisconsin will be sentenced on multiple convictions of animal cruelty. 

The Alliance for Animals is asking for help from the public to see that this convicted abuser receives a sentence that will keep her away from innocent animals for the rest of her life.

The Alliance for Animals is asking animal advocates to write to Judge Edward E. Leineweber regarding three sanctions for Ms. Petkus:

  • Impose a lifetime ban on contact with animals.
  • Place a lien on all of her property until the cost of treating and housing the animals seized from her ranch is repaid to the shelters that took custody of them.
  • Enter her into a mental health program that addresses her animal collecting and inability to recognize animal suffering.

The Rescue Mission

On May 19, 2009 more than a dozen state and national humane organizations and law enforcement agencies rescued 315 dogs, 23 horses, 21 rabbits, 14 birds, two chinchillas, one cat, a ferret and a rooster from the Thyme and Sage Ranch.

The animals were found living in appalling conditions with little or no food or water.

According to the Wisconsin Puppy Project, “Some of the animals had open wounds. Most were suffering from neglect — rotten teeth, ear and eye infections, mange, malnutrition, fur so matted with filth and feces that it had to be shaved and various internal infections.”

And although Petkus advertised her ranch as an animal rescue sanctuary, rescuers found that an abnormally large percentage of the dogs were pregnant, leading them to wonder if she was breeding puppies for sale.

The warrant to confiscate the animals came after the Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies and the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project asked the Humane Society of the United States to look into the high number of complaints from the public about adopting sick and dying puppies.

The problem became so visible that even had barred the ranch from listing animals on their website.

To make matters even worse, Ms. Petkus had become the Animal Control Officer for her county so every homeless pet in the area was turned over to her ranch.

The Dane County Humane Society in Madison, WI became the lead group to help the rescued animals. They set up a tent city to house all of the dogs and other small animals. The horses were sent to another agency.

The Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies worked on the legal end of the issue. More than 14 rescue groups ultimately took custody of the various animals.

The Verdict

Last month after a three week trial, a jury found Jennifer Petkus guilty on six counts of animal cruelty.

“She was found guilty of starving a dog to death, failing to provide water to animals, failing to maintain sufficient cleanliness and other mistreatment,” reported Channel

The Alliance for Animals believes that a “jail or prison sentence is inappropriate in this case of extreme mental illness.”


Advocates can also write directly to the judge and the district attorney:

Richland County Circuit Court Judge

The Honorable Edward E. Leineweber

P.O. Box 427

Richland Center, WI 53581

Richland County District Attorney

William Andrew Sharp

181 W. Seminary Street

Richland Center, WI 53581

(608) 647-3493

To read more about the case Click Here for Alliance for Animals. 


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photo from Creative Commons - Brett McBain

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9:05AM PDT on May 21, 2011

She should be in jail. Why do all the animal abusers always get away with abusing them. There has to be an end to this!

4:56AM PDT on May 1, 2011

Keep her among the human animals, prevent contact with the others. She and her ilk don't deserve the company of other creatures.

12:08PM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

Three years probation, no jail time and get to keep nine dogs. I guess people are still rewarded for treating animals as property.....Yeah, it's a sick world we live in!

9:10PM PDT on Apr 28, 2011
Jennifer Petkus, who owned Thyme & Sage Ranch, was sentenced to three years of probation with no jail time.

Under the sentencing, Petkus can keep the nine dogs her family has now, but she is not allowed to have any new animals

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9:58AM PDT on Apr 28, 2011

brainless human

7:20AM PDT on Apr 28, 2011

this person is scum!!!

3:00AM PDT on Apr 28, 2011

so horrible!!

6:18PM PDT on Apr 27, 2011

This sad stories are becoming much too prevalent - what does that say about society? About animal abuse? About the apathy of prosecutors and judges? Cruelty, neglect, abuse - none can be condoned or unpunished. These actions are usually signs of other mental health problems...

2:51AM PDT on Apr 27, 2011

Shouldn't we be concentrating on preventing any future incidents? How did she get the job as Animal Control Officer? Punishment seems most appropriate by those who have given her more authority and power! They have no excuse.
Despite what our emotions may tell us, inn some cases, people like Jennifer Petkus , if given help in time, may have been prevented from doing such awful damage and cruelty. Those that are responsible for issuing official powers have no such defense at all.
So please, let's look a little deeper and find out how and why this was allowed to happen; then ensure that never again...

9:24PM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Signed - many thanks for sharing and I will pass the word to the humane societies I volunteer for. Quite frankly, I am tired of people who neglect and abuse animals justifying their actions as 'mental illness'. Granted, mental illness is a serious condition. How many abusers are hiding behind this condition? Abuse IS Abuse. PERIOD.

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