A 60-year-old Pine River woman pleaded guilty Monday in a criminal case that had been scheduled to start that day, the Cass County Attorney’s Office reported.
Deborah Beatrice Rowell pleaded guilty to one count of failure to provide dogs with adequate shade in violation of Minnesota statute 346.39, a misdemeanor-level offense.
A criminal complaint was filed following the execution of a search warrant at Rowell’s kennel on July 16. At the time the warrant was executed, the attorney’s office reported, more than 100 dogs were seized due to conditions discovered on the property.
Rowell was charged with nine violations of law ranging from general neglect of animals to deprivation of necessary shelter, shade, enclosure, ventilation and water. All of the offenses were either misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor offenses. Under Minnesota law, the Cass County Attorney’s Office stated, even if convicted of all offenses at trial Rowell could only be sentenced on one count.
Rowell was sentenced to serve 90 days in jail and pay a fine of $135. All of the jail time was suspended for one year provided she complies with conditions set by the court. Those conditions include that she comply with all state laws regarding the care of animals and that her kennel be subject to inspection by law enforcement at all times.
The issues of initial seizure of the animals as well as their ongoing care and disposition were litigated in separate civil proceedings. A district court judge has concluded that the seizure of the animals was legally justified, the attorney’s office’s news release stated. None of those issues were included in the disposition of the criminal file, according to the news release.