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

CHETEK, WI - A preliminary report from federal aviation investigators says witnesses described hearing an engine backfire before a small plane crashed in Wisconsin last month, killing the teenage pilot and seriously injuring a passenger.

The Leader-Telegram reports that the National Transportation Safety Board interviewed several witnesses who were fishing in a pond near the Red Cedar River at the time of crash on May 24.

+ Read More

Play Video

HAZELHURST - A week and a half ago, the Marathon County Dive Team pulled the body of 41-year-old Dominic Flaminio from the Wisconsin River. He drowned while trying to save his girlfriend's eight-year-old son, who was struggling in the current.

When Greg Bohn saw the story at his home in Hazelhurst, he felt like his heart was ripped out.

"This was so preventable," he remembers thinking.

It also motivated him to keep working on a water safety goal he's been chasing for years.

+ Read More

FOREST COUNTY - Bringing your pet along to watch fireworks might seem like a fun way to spend the Fourth of July, but you could be doing more harm than good.

July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for most animal shelters.

That's because fearful pets try to escape the bangs and flashes from fireworks and end up lost.

Forest County Humane Society president Jay Schaefer says don't let yourself add to your pet's stress.

Play it down, and make the fireworks a good thing with positive talk and treats.

"They're reading cues from us constantly. So be careful of your body language and the cues you're giving them. If you act like fireworks are a big scary thing they're gonna be like, 'oh my god fireworks are scary,'" says Schaefer.

Exercise can be another way to calm your pet before the big light show.

Burning off the energy earlier in the day may help your pet go to sleep early.

"Take them for a jog on the Fourth of July. I know it's hectic, but do something so they're not all amped up at night when the fireworks go off," says Schaefer.

Like many humans, pets like the smell of lavender.

You can try diffusing the scent around the house to put your pet at ease.

Make sure you have a well-fitting collar and identification tag on your pet.

If flashes are too bright, you might want to close the curtains.

+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA - Every two years, high school athletes in Wisconsin get the signature of a physician, saying they're healthy to play sports. That signature comes after a physical exam.

Chiropractors can't give that sign-off, but they soon might be allowed to do so. The state Assembly passed a bill which would give chiropractors that privilege.

"The pre-participation exam is certainly extremely important. It is the best way to catch underlying illness and risk factors before athletes participate in sports," said Marshfield Clinic Regional Medical Director Dr. William Melms, who works out of Minocqua.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Most people don't use an orthodontic office as a mail room.

However, one Rhinelander orthodontist is doing just that.

Dr. Joshua Bruce is helping to organize the "Hope and Healing" thank you card program for wounded veterans. It's run through his newly shared practice with Dr. Darrell Schmidt.

Schmidt first collected and sent cards to injured service members around Christmas last year.

Now, they are doing the same thing for Independence Day.

"[We want to] express our thanks for all they do for us, for the freedoms we enjoy that they sacrificed so much for," said Bruce.

+ Read More

Play Video

THREE LAKES - Managing weeds can be a challenge for many cranberry growers across the state.

James Lake Farms in Three Lakes has been certified organic since 2007.

As organic growers, they are not allowed to use synthetic materials or herbicides to control their weeds.
 
This spring, they purchased weed eating geese from a nursery to help get rid of the weeds.

"We came across an article from 1954 in a trade magazine that showed that one of our marshes had used weeder geese back then in order to reduce the weed pressure, and we thought, well, this might be a novel approach," said owner John Stauner. 

+ Read More

WISCONSIN RAPIDS - More than three months passed since family and friends have seen a Plover woman.

Krista Sypher, 44, has been missing since March 13.

Since then Plover police have been investigating.

Wednesday that investigation led them to a landfill in Wisconsin Rapids

Plover Police Chief Dan Ault said they've been searching the Cranberry Creek Landfill since Monday. He wouldn't say what they have or have not found. He also couldn't say how or why the investigation led them to this landfill.

Chief Ault said it's possible they might be back to continue the search on Thursday.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here