It Matters to One drops civil suit
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
The It Matters to One animal rescue shelter in Sugar Camp, where 39 dogs were seized Feb. 6 by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department and then turned over to the county Humane Society in response to an investigation into allegations of animal neglect, has dropped its civil suit seeking to get the dogs back, assistant county corporation counsel Michael J. Fugle has confirmed.
Testimony in the case was supposed to have resumed Thursday in Oneida County Circuit Court Branch II before Judge Michael H. Bloom, but the It Matters to One’s co-founder and operator, Stephanie Schneider, wasn’t in court for the hearing while the shelter’s attorney, Hank Schultz, appeared by phone and stated an agreement was reached with the Oneida County Humane Society.
Fugle said an agreement was reached to dismiss It Matters to One’s motion seeking a return of the dogs and the Humane Society’s motion seeking boarding fees from It Matters to One for the dogs that were seized.
Schneider was arrested and subsequently released from custody in February following the seizure, but has yet to be formally charged criminally.
In the civil matter, a hearing lasting more than two hours took place April 25 when Fugle, who represented the county, called two witnesses with one of them yet to finish testifying.
The first witness to testify was Colin Benell, an animal inspector with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Benell testified about being present when the animals were seized and what the conditions were like at It Matters to One, where he and another individual with DATCP shot several photos that were exhibits at the hearing.
Benell pointed out various instances in the photos taken at It Matters to One that he said didn’t conform to state administrative code for licensed animal shelters, such as dog feces that had not been removed for several days. He noted the accumulation of feces has the potential of transferring diseases and parasites.
Benell said he had previously informed Schneider last year about the need for removing feces daily to comply with the administrative code and that she indicated she would do so in the future.
The other witness to testify, sheriff’s department deputy Nancy Reklau, who has been certified as the county’s humane officer, was also asked by Fugle about a series of photos shot as evidence in connection with the seizure of animals at It Matters to One.
Upon the animals being seized, the sheriff’s department accused Schneider of failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals and obstructing law enforcement.