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UPDATES: Animal Hoarding Case in Waupaca, Wisc.

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POST TRIAL: THE PUBLIC AND PEOPLE INVOLVED SPEAK OUT

3/28/06 - Reportedly, one Niemuth has received 2 years probation with conditions. More details should be available on the WCCA site. All 8 guinea pigs, 14 hamsters, and 3 of the cats reportedly ordered over to the Humane Society. Allowed animals reportedly limited to 2 cats, 2 dogs, and one ferret, with neutering, adequate care, and supervision. Also 75 hours of community service each, certain court costs, and restitution, which is to be decided at a later date, after the trial of the other three Niemuths.

Linda J. Whitenton writes to the Honorable Raymond S. Huber:

April 2, 2006

The Honorable Raymond S. Huber
Judge, Circuit Court, Waupaca County
Waupaca County Courthouse
811 Harding Street
Waupaca, WI 54981

Re: State of Wisconsin vs. Jennifer E. and Brian C. Niemuth;
State of Wisconsin vs. Sandra J., Duane M., and Clifford H. Niemuth

Dear Judge Huber:

I am writing to sincerely thank, and commend, you for the sentencing recently made in the first of the two cases referenced above.

Know that in sentencing as you did, you have saved many, many animals from unnecessary suffering, pain, illness and poor care. More pragmatically, know that you have saved the taxpayers of Waupaca County a great deal of money, and the District Attorney’s office, Corporation Counsel, the animal rescue community and certainly not least yourself, a great deal of time, work, and energy in ensuring these defendants will not reappear before you on similar charges for some time to come.

Should the defendants in the second case be convicted, I respectfully urge you to view sentencing in their case in the same light.

Thank you from all of those who care about humane and responsible animal care, and wise use of limited taxpayer resources. Thank you for taking these cases seriously. Your actions have in no small measure renewed my faith in how our judicial system is supposed to work.

Respectfully,
Linda J. Whitenton
Marietta, GA 30062

PRETRIAL: THE PUBLIC AND PEOPLE INVOLVED SPEAK OUT

Waupaca County Case Number 2005CM000517 - Court Record Events

Monica Gates writes to the editor:

Dear Editor:

It's time for another update of what's commonly referred to at the "Niemuth Cases". The five cases have now been combined so that there are only two, and the first one of them will likely be proceeding to sentencing at the end of March.

Thousands upon thousands of dollars have been spent on the care, rehabilitation, and rehoming of many of the 500 animals that were seized back in October of 2005. Add to that, the cost of 5 public defenders, the salaries of the Assistant DA and all the other folks down at the courthouse who have invested time in this matter. Then add the Animal Control Officer's time, and anyone else in the Sheriff's Dept. who have assisted her with this. The list goes on and on, and it's doubtful that it will ever all be tallied or completely accounted for, let alone reimbursed.

Now is the time to let it be known that we will not tolerate this type of behavior in this community. Please drop a quick line to the Honorable Judge Huber, Waupaca County Courthouse, 811 Harding St., Waupaca, WI, 54981, and let him know how you feel before these cases go to sentencing.

After sentencing, the subject of restitution (and presumably, their ability to pay it) will come up. It is my opinion that if they cannot afford to pay for their lawyers or their restitution, that they should not be allowed to keep any animals, either. This is a luxury they cannot afford or deserve. The dollars they would spend feeding them could and should be going towards paying off the restitution first. Please let Judge Huber know how you feel about this topic as well!

Sincerely,
~Monica Gates

Monica Gates writes to the Hon. Raymond S. Huber:

Monica Gates
Waupaca, WI 54981

3-9-06

Waupaca County Circuit Court
Waupaca County Courthouse
811 Harding St.
Waupaca, WI 54981

Dear Hon. Raymond S. Huber

Even though much time has passed, the Niemuth seizure still weighs heavily on the minds of myself and many other animal rescue people I know. To the best of my knowledge-a handful of guinea pigs, a few birds and 13 hamsters from the original seizure are still in the care of rescues and in search of loving homes.

Cost to rescues has been nearly crippling; monetarily, physically and emotionally.

Cost to the Waupaca County taxpayers has been unimaginable!

We must make sure this does not happen again and we are counting on you!

As these cases proceed to sentencing, I would like to urge you to find a way to prohibit any of these people from having animals for as long as possible. It is my personal feeling that they are mentally ill, and until this condition is addressed, allowing them to have animals is only placing the animals in harm's way, and asking for a repeat of the whole scenario.

When the subject of restitution (and the soon-to-follow, ability-to-pay) comes up, I would like you to remember the fact that the situation they previously created has inconvenienced a great number of people AND cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. The citizens of this county did not ask to be put in this situation. It is the responsibility of the Niemuths, and they owe us, bigtime.

If you put 2 + 2 together from those last 2 paragraphs, it should be a foregone conclusion that if you can not pay for your previous commitments, then you should not be keeping any more animals! The only way it can be argued that their animals could financially support themselves is if they are bred, and the offspring sold. The Niemuths have already demonstrated an inability to manage that type of situation. Until their restitution is paid in full, I believe most of the taxpayers of this county will agree that they should not be allowed to keep even one hamster- not to mention guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, sheep, cats, dogs or any other animals.

Furthermore, if it is ordered that they will not be able to keep some or all of the animals currently in their possession, I would implore you to specify that they are not to be disposed of by the Niemuths- but order them directly over to Waupaca County custody, to be dispersed at the discretion of Corporation Counsel. Otherwise, my fear is that they will keep them, and just place them elsewhere- or place them with another party where they won't be well-cared-for. I am fairly certain we can count on area humane organizations to bail the county out of this situation one more time, if it means that Niemuths won't be keeping any more animals for the time being, and I am urging them to contact you and make that commitment directly.

Sincerely,

~Monica Gates
Citizen, Taxpayer, Voter and Animal Advocate


Linda Whitenton writes:

January 9, 2006

The Honorable Raymond S. Huber
Judge, Circuit Court, Waupaca County
Waupaca County Courthouse
811 Harding Street
Waupaca, WI 54981

Re: State of Wisconsin vs. Jennifer E. and Brian C. Niemuth;
State of Wisconsin vs. Sandra J., Duane M., and Clifford H. Niemuth

Dear Judge Huber:

It is my understanding that sentencing for the first of the two above-referenced combined cases is currently scheduled for March 28, 2006. I am writing to respectfully urge you to consider a stiff sentence in this case. Jail time should, in my opinion, certainly be considered but of more importance is that the defendants in these cases be prohibited from owning any animals at all, of any kind, as a condition of probation for an appropriate (and lengthy) amount of time.

In following these cases’ progress since October, two things have become apparent to me. One, the Niemuth family seems to believe that the quality of care they provide animals in their possession (including the nearly 500 seized last October) is not inadequate. I suspect they see little difference between a living being and junk auto parts or old appliances. Their standards do not meet the standards of the law, but as is the case with the vast majority of hoarders, they are unlikely to change. Animal abuse and neglect by these defendants will reoccur repeatedly, and so will the costs, time, effort, hard work and energy spent by animal rescuers, humane organizations, the District Attorney’s office, your office, and the citizens of Waupaca County each and every time it happens. It is also my understanding that they have qualified for public defense in these cases. If they cannot pay reasonable legal fees for representation, how can they possibly pay for proper maintenance and veterinary care for animals?

Two, I am also very concerned about the fate of animals in the Niemuths’ possession currently. Should sentencing include an animal possession prohibition, please ensure that the animals the Niemuths currently own are rehomed under strict court guidelines; preferably to rescuers, good quality private homes and/or humane personnel, under the close supervision of Animal Control personnel. If the animals they now have are simply given to a relative or sold or traded at a swap meet, that does not solve the problem. It only moves it, and possibly not even out of Waupaca County.

In sentencing, please ensure to the best of your ability that the animals of Waupaca County are protected as the law provides, and that the resources of your office, Animal Control, the District Attorney and Waupaca County’s citizens need not be spent on these defendants again.

Thank you for your time and courtesy in reading this letter, and for the time, careful attention, and consideration you have given, and continue to give, this case.

Respectfully,
Linda J. Whitenton
Marietta, GA 30062


Serena Adler writes:

March 14, 2006

The Honorable Judge Huber
Waupaca County Courthouse
811 Harding Street
Waupaca, WI 54981

Dear Judge Huber:

This is a follow up to the first letter I sent to you dated December 27, 2005 in regard to the Niemuth case. I wanted to let you know that I, as well as countless other animal lovers across the country, am still watching this case very closely. As a Baraboo Guinea Pig Rescue volunteer, I want to see that my countless volunteer time and over $400 of donations will not go to waste. I helped those previous animals because I had hope and will continue to have that hope that you will prevent future neglect of animals in your county.

Please order that the Niemuth family can no longer have animals in their care and receive strongest possibly punishment for their actions. If they cannot afford to pay the restitution, then how are they going to afford the proper care for the animals currently at their residence? I am afraid they won’t be able to and I’m afraid of the welfare of those animals.

Hoarding is a disease. It is a horrid disease that has caused so many animals to suffer and die already. The Niemuths are hoarders are should not be allowed to continue to neglect animals. They need help. The animals need help. I implore you to help.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Serena Adler

Guinea Pigs are for Life