Two suspects wanted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office on animal cruelty charges are now in custody. One suspect turned himself in, and the other was caught after being stopped for a traffic violation.
On Tuesday, Leland Emery Kluth turned himself in to police. He was given a "conditional release to await further court action” on Wednesday, according to jcflorian.com.
The other suspect, Heidi Amanda Westman, was caught 1,200 miles away, in Wausau, Wis. She was picked up in a traffic stop on Thursday.
Westman is expected to appear in court on Friday. She is being held in the Marathon County Jail.
Authorities now believe Kluth had been working out of state for a long period of time before the dogs were found.
Jaclorian.com reports that Westman had sent no-kill shelter Partners for Pets an email on August 8. In the email, she said she was departing the area and leaving about 20 dogs behind, with two days worth of food and water.
On that same date, Jackson County Animal Control officers went out to the residence, where they found approximately 40 dogs. The abandoned dogs had been left without food, and some had already died. The dead were being eaten by the other dogs.
Of the thirty eight dogs which were removed alive, one puppy has since died, possibly from an intestinal inflammation due to parasites.
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