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 Petfinder.com 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.
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 3000.com.
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
To read more about the case Click Here for Alliance for Animals.
photo from Creative Commons - Brett McBain