Jennifer Petkus’ Thyme and Sage Ranch in rural Cazenovia, WI, has been under contract to act as an animal shelter for Richland County but it became obvious to Dr. Lisa Kerwin-Lucchi, a vet with the Dane County Humane Society, in March that Petkus’ idea of a shelter was a cruel and inhumane hell hole for dogs.
Kerwin-Lucchi was contacted as early as February by the ASPCA to begin collecting evidence for a search warrant for Petkus’ “animal shelter.” In March, Kerwin-Lucchi used a hidden camera to capture the conditions at the Thyme and Sage Ranch; dogs without access to food and unfrozen water, dogs with severely matted fur and inadequate bedding for unheated buildings, in addition to other injuries and poor conditions.
Tuesday a search warrant was executed by Richland County Sheriff’s Department along with animal protection representatives from across the country to rescue about 300 dogs. At the time 100 were seized along with 8 horses and a goat with the rest to be removed as room is made from them. There were also six rotting dog carcases found and a ram that had to be euthanized. The ram had a broken leg and was so ill that it couldn’t even lift its head. Petkus refused to allow a vet to humanely euthanized the animal previously.
“Even I didn’t know the extent of what was up there until I was physically at the property (Tuesday),” Kerwin-Lucchi said.
The dogs are being taken to the Dane County Humane Society for evaluation and treatment. The ASPCA as well as other organizations and PetSmart Charities are all pitching in and helping.
Petkus was charged with 11 misdemeanors; one count of improper shelter to animals and 10 counts of intentionally mistreating animals. She also faces five counts of unlawful deposit of animals carcasses, a civil forfeiture. If convicted she faces up to a $10,000 fine or nine months in jail for each misdemeanor. Civic forfeitures carry a penalty of between $200 and $5,000.
The judge gave her a 10-thousand dollar signature bond an ordered to stay off her Cazenovia property until the investigation is complete. Once she is allowed to return, Petkus is expected to care for her remaining animals and allow veterinarians and law enforcement to check up on them.
The ASPCA’s forensics and animal response teams, as well as its Mobile CSI Unit are working to collect evidence for the prosecution of the case.
“Animal cruelty is unacceptable, and we are doing everything we can to lend our support to this critical investigation,” said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. “The ASPCA’s Mobile Animal CSI unit is an important component in the effort against animal cruelty, as it offers the ability to work on-site with the necessary tools, allowing evidence to be processed more accurately and efficiently.”
Many of the seized dogs look to be retired puppy mill dogs but it seems Petkus was adopting/selling hundreds of puppies, like she was running her own breeding operations aka a puppy mill.
Several of the puppies she sold/adopted out died from parvo within a short period of time as well and the promised refunds were never made good on, no surprise there. There’s also many other stories of sick puppies from Petkus’ shelter as well as reports of the horrendous conditions; cages that look like they had never been cleaned, dogs living in their own waste and more.
From an online complaint site one anonymous source says the following, “This woman should be ashamed of herself. She runs What she calls a ‘Rescue’ in Richland County. She is a puppy mill and a rotten crook. As an avid dog lover looking for a new dog, found her on the internet and drove to her ‘rescue’. Upon arriving her place was disgusting. Dogs running everywhere, some of them visibly sick.”
Petkus claims she was operating as a sanctuary but if this is the way a sanctuary operates, there’s a major problem with her idea of the definition of sanctuary. And of course her lawyer says that any animals that were sick were recent additions to the shelter and they were sick or injured when they arrived. The dogs were found with open sores, skin infections, sick, matted and the conditions were abominable! Maybe this bitch should try living in the conditions she subjected these poor animals too and see if she feels like it’s a sanctuary.