No decision on return of dogs to It Matters to One owner as opponents pack courtroomSubmitted: 04/25/2017
RHINELANDER - Stephanie Schneider last saw many of the dogs under her care two-and-a-half months ago.

At a civil court hearing on Tuesday in Oneida County, she tried to get them back. But Schneider will have to wait at least an additional month for a decision in her lawsuit.

On February 6, Oneida County Sheriff's Deputies seized more than 35 dogs from It Matters to One animal rescue in Sugar Camp, which Schneider operates. Schneider was later arrested, and the Sheriff's Office recommended animal mistreatment charges against her. To this point, no charges have been filed by the Oneida County District Attorney's office.

The dogs in the seizure are now in protective care elsewhere. Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom heard arguments Tuesday as Schneider sued to get them back.

Two witnesses gave more than two hours of testimony on Tuesday. Several more witnesses will give testimony at a May 25 continuance of the hearing before Bloom makes a decision.

Oneida County, which is fighting the return of the dogs to Schneider, brought to the stand a pair of witnesses who were present at the February 6 seizure. Oneida County attorney Mike Fugle walked both through the dozens of photographs they took at the facility that day.

Much of the testimony of the witnesses--Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection Companion Animal Inspector Colin Benell and Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Nancy Reklau--centered around the accumulation of feces inside and outside of the facility.

"To me, it suggests that feces had not been removed for several days," Benell said. "Accumulated feces can be a disease hazard due to parasites and other diseases that may be transmitted through the feces."

"It is dried feces and some dog fur, hair," Reklau said, looking at one picture of a kennel.

Reklau testified that more than 90 percent of kennels had dog feces inside of them.

The witnesses also touched upon broken windows and walls, exposed electrical wiring, and missing drywall at It Matters to One.

Reklau will return to the witness stand when the hearing continues May 25.

More than 50 people packed Bloom's small courtroom. Dozens wore T-shirts with "I Stand with Darcy" printed on the front. Darcy is a pit bull now under the care of the Oneida County Humane Society. That dog developed severe skin problems and scabbing while at It Matters to One. A report from Rhinelander veterinarian Dr. Brian Buchberger after Darcy was taken from the facility helped spark the seizure of other dogs at It Matters to One.

The people wearing the T-shirts strongly oppose the return of dogs to Schneider.

"I was extremely proud and grateful, and I think once more evidence is released, there will be a much bigger crowd," said Kellie Snow, who first reported possible neglect and mistreatment of animals at It Matters to One to law enforcement.

Snow looks forward to testimony that goes beyond feces at the facility.

"There are bigger issues at hand, too, concerning neglect, the hoarding, and deceased animals," she said.

Schneider, her supporters, and attorney Hank Schultz all declined interviews on Tuesday.

The hearing will reconvene at 8:30 a.m. on May 25.

After that, Bloom will likely make a decision on the placement of the dogs.

For more coverage of this story, click the links below.

Related Weblinks:
Former It Matters to One employee tells of neglect, mistreatment at Oneida Co. animal rescue center
Documents: Animals, surfaces covered with feces at Northwoods animal rescue; It Matters to One license suspension first ever in state
Update: Arrest made after 39 dogs taken from It Matters to One in Sugar Camp earlier this month

Story By: Ben Meyer

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
 Print Story Print Story | Email Story Email Story


Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - Carter Heller considers one room in his high school a home away from home.  The Northland Pines junior spends most class periods -- and even district in-service days -- using the 3-D printers, vinyl cutters, and other machinery in the fab lab. Tuesday morning, Heller learned how his second "home" is about to grow thanks to a $25,000 grant.

"Everything about it makes you want to be in here," Heller said.  "It allows our capabilities as a school to expand a lot."

+ Read More

WAUSAU - Children with special needs often can't enjoy the delights of a playground. Wausau's Josiah Hoerter's dying wish was to see a wheelchair-friendly playground in his own backyard. However, after he lost his life to a rare genetic disorder, MECP2 Duplication syndrome, his family decided his wish should live on.

His father, Patrick Hoerter says it's only been diagnosed in 400 people.

"Ultimately it is a terminal illness so he was granted a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation," said Hoerter.

Josiah's wish ended before it could begin.
"Unfortunately he passed away in February two years ago and with that his wish vaporized," said Hoerter.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation only grants wishes to living children. But that didn't stop his family from keeping their promise.

"We made a promise to him that we would build a playground in his honor to build an all-inclusive playground so other families with children with special needs could get out in the community," said Hoerter.

+ Read More

Play Video

LINCOLN COUNTY - WARNING: Some of the above video is disturbing

In late February, a Lincoln County Deputy shot and killed a man who was shooting at him.

On Tuesday, the Lincoln County District Attorney said Deputy Sam Steckbauer was justified to use deadly force.

The DA made this decision after an extensive investigation by the State's Department of Justice.

The DOJ released video taken from the squad car footage, police scanner traffic, and a 911 call that helps explain what happened that night.

It started with a call from a nervous driver, and it ended with the death of 40-year-old Shawn Igers.

+ Read More

MINOCQUA - A family lost their pet over a month ago, but they don't plan to stop searching for their dog anytime soon.

In fact, the family is offering a hefty reward for Sasha's safe return.

+ Read More
+ More Local News


MADISON - A dozen states and the Republican National Committee are among those urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a federal court ruling that said Wisconsin's legislative district boundaries were unconstitutional.

The states, the RNC and others all filed briefs Monday with the Supreme Court urging it to overturn the ruling tossing out the Republican-drawn maps in Wisconsin.

+ Read More

MINNEAPOLIS - The upper Midwest timber industry is welcoming the Trump administration's announcement that it's imposing tariffs averaging 20 percent on softwood lumber entering the United States from Canada.

The industry has been struggling in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The housing market crash in 2008 cut demand for softwood lumber used to build homes, including the products affected by the administration's move.

+ Read More

MADISON - A Wisconsin man accused of stealing a cache of weapons and sending an anti-government manifesto to the White House failed to stand for a federal judge at his arraignment.

Joseph Jakubowski appeared in court in Madison Tuesday on felony possession and theft of firearms charges.

+ Read More

MOSINEE - A cheese factory in central Wisconsin is offering a lifeline to a handful of dairy farms threatened by Canada's milk pricing policies that may force other farms to close.

Mullins Cheese Vice President Bill Mullins signed contracts to buy milk from eight family-owned operations.

+ Read More
+ More Regional News

Click Here