Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Kirker charged with 156 criminal counts for mistreatment of animals in Forest CountySubmitted: 04/19/2017
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Kirker charged with 156 criminal counts for mistreatment of animals in Forest County
CRANDON - A witness "did not believe what she saw" on Patty Kirker's Crandon property in January.

That witness--who is not named in court documents--told police she saw adult dogs eating young puppies and dogs eating dead horses.

Moreover, the witness saw collars embedded into the necks of dogs and a house floor with one or two feet of dog feces on it.

On Wednesday, Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono filed 156 criminal charges related to animal mistreatment against the 52-year-old Kirker.


The charges come about a month after Forest County sheriff's deputies and workers from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals seized dozens of dogs, wolf-dog hybrids, and horses from Kirker's property.

That seizure, which had been in the works for about a year, took place on March 17.

"Those animals live in horrid, filthy conditions," Kirker's sister and neighbor, Casey Carpenter, said that day.

Allegations set forth in the criminal complaint filed Wednesday match that description.

A witness told police she saw adult dogs eating young puppies on the property.

She said, "All the adult dogs are trying to kill any litter that is not theirs."

Kirker is charged with failing to provide proper food and water.  The hungry dogs may have turned to other sources of food after Kirker failed to feed them properly.

For example, the same witness said four to five horses and a pony have died on Kirker's property since last summer.

"Then she feeds the bodies [of the horses] to those dogs," Carpenter said. "There's no evidence [of the dead horses], because the dogs eat them."

During the March seizure, Forest County Sheriff's Lt. Andy Karcz found about 40 dogs, but just one bag of food and one pail of water on Kirker's property.

Karcz observed "canines present were malnourished, as he observed the ribs and leg bones were easily visible," according to the criminal complaint.

The document alleges Kirker failed to care for animals in other ways.

The witness told police the collars of several dogs became embedded deep in their necks.

"[The collar] was so embedded and that all you could see was the chain that was connected to the collar hanging from the dogs [sic] neck," she said of one dog.

During a visit to a house on Kirker's property, "[The witness] had to forcibly shove the door open, because there is approx. 1-2 ft of dog feces on the floor."

The witness said Kirker was aware of the adverse situations, and said Kirker "intentionally harms her own animals."

ASPCA expert Kyle Held said it would take months to years for the different ranges of mistreatment listed in the complaint to occur.

People in the area had apparently been complaining about Kirker for years.

The Forest County Sheriff's Department said it had been receiving reports about Kirker and animal issues since early 2015. It recorded about 80 reported incidents between January 2016 and February 2017.

Those pieces of evidence led to the criminal charges against Kirker.

She's accused of six counts of felony mistreatment of animals, 46 animal mistreatment misdemeanors, 52 misdemeanor counts of not providing proper food, and 52 misdemeanor counts of not providing proper water.

If convicted on all charges, she could serve more than 130 years in prison.

"This is untrue, overblown allegations," said Jay Kronenwetter, Kirker's defense attorney. "It's a misunderstanding at its worst."

Kronenwetter is confident that once more facts come out, the community will be satisfied Kirker is a good animal owner.

"Anyone who has any number of animals over their lives knows that animals [sometimes] get sick," Kronenwetter said. "Animals become lame."

Kronenwetter believes the prosecutor, Simono, went over the top with the charges.

"To pile on 150 charges, I think, is more reflective of trying to make a point of outrage rather than search for the truth," Kronenwetter said.

Simono was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Kronenwetter said he doesn't foresee a plea agreement forthcoming in the case, indicating he will fight the charges.

"My client cares very much for her animals and has tried very hard to take care of them," he said.

Kirker also faces five felony drug charges and remains in jail.

She will return to court on May 3 for a preliminary hearing. Simono indicated he plans to call witnesses, including an ASPCA expert from Atlanta, to testify.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

VILAS COUNTY - Many people love sightseeing on two wheels throughout the Northwoods.

Now, you can get a prize for doing it.

"Bike the Heart" encourages riders to explore the different communities along the Heart of Vilas County Trail.

The trail is more than 45 miles of paved path that connects Boulder Junction, Sayner, St. Germain and Manitowish Waters.

The goal of "Bike the Heart" is to stop at each Chamber of Commerce with a "pass card" to get a stamp.

You have until September to collect four stamps and send it in to one of the chambers to be entered for a prize worth more than $100.

"Bringing the bicyclists to this area is astronomical. We have inquiries from the entire Midwest and even the outlying states of California and New York," says executive director Penny Wiesmann of St. Germain Chamber of Commerce.

Mile markers and "fix-it" stations are the newest additions to the Heart of Vilas County Trail.

The stations have tools attached to the sides to help you make a quick fix on your bike.

"We're just really excited that people can come up and ride up the entire length of the trail, or if they want to take up some smaller portions they can do that to," says executive director Theresa Smith of Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce.



+ Read More

MINOCQUA - In 2006, more than 40,000 pets died in fires due to smoke inhalation. 

That number has gone down, in large part, thanks to oxygen masks designed for animals. 

The Minocqua Fire Department got its own set of pet oxygen masks Tuesday.

+ Read More
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 05/23/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll show you a training course for Taylor County deputies and courthouse staff on how to respond with and active shooter in the courthouse.

We'll take you live to Shepard Park in Rhinelander, the site some residents hope will have sections set aside for a dog park. Monday the Parks committed approved the proposal.

And a Nicolet College club provides a safe space for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender students and allies to discuss personal issues. Now they want to get a group started outside the campus. We talk to a member of the Rainbow Hodags Club about his experiences with the group.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Most people stop by Rhinelander's chamber of commerce to get their picture taken with the giant hodag out front. Visitors to the chamber can also stock up on Rhinelander trinkets and gear.

Now, the chamber has decided to downsize its store in order to let someone else set up shop. 

+ Read More

MADISON - The Legislature's budget committee has decided to put off votes on the University of Wisconsin System budget because Senate Republicans can't agree on what to do about tuition rates.

Gov. Scott Walker's budget calls for cutting tuition by 5 percent and giving the system $35 million to offset the lost revenue. It also would give the system $42.5 million in additional state aid. Campuses that do better on new performance standards would get bigger chunks of the funding.

+ Read More

Play Video

ONEIDA COUNTY - Paul Fiene could barely believe his eyes last Wednesday.

"This is by far the most devastating wind storm I've ever seen," said Fiene.

Fiene has been a forester in Oneida County for 22 years.

"We usually get a little patch here, an acre here, and a few trees there," said Fiene. "But never to this extent where 99 percent of the trees are knocked down."

Fiene estimates Tuesday's storm took out anywhere from 30 to 40 acres of pine, hardwood, hemlock, and aspen.

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - Drivers in Lincoln County may encounter a few delays on their routes to work this week.

The Department of Transportation scheduled maintenance on five bridges on US 51 and WIS 64.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here