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Minnesota animal rescuer faces prison for 'coercion' charge against pet owner

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In a rare and highly unusual charge, animal rescuer Janice Karpel of St. Louis Park, faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for allegedly threatening an owner to surrender his animals or face jail time reported the startribune.com.

Karpel, 60, has been charged with "coercion" or as her attorney describes the charge as blackmail, and states Karpel was just trying to save the lives of the animals.

The legal definition of coercion states:

"The intimidation of a victim to compel the individual to do some act against his or her will by the use of psychological pressure, physical force, or threats."

Karpel confiscated a ten-year-old Weimaraner, rabbits, geese, chickens, and ducks. The dog did not survive.

Karpel had heard the dog was emaciated, and the rabbits were being abused. She has also been charged with misdemeanor counts of trespassing and theft.

A court hearing is scheduled for March 28.

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