UPDATED: Owners Charged in Dog Neglect Case

By: WSAW Staff Email
By: WSAW Staff Email
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UPDATE: Tues 5:40 PM, Jan. 21, 2014

Two people accused of providing improper care for nine dogs resulting in a seizure of the animals by the Sheriff's Department, have now been formally charged.

Mary Morse, 50, and Clark Petitt, 66, of Athens, appeared in Marathon County Circuit Court, Tuesday.

Morse and Petitt are both charged with four misdemeanors related to not providing proper water and shelter for the animals.

They are free on $1,500 signature bonds.

Investigators says beside a few of the dogs having sore paws, they all appeared to be healthy.

A one day trial has been scheduled for March 19.

UPDATE: Wed 7:17 PM, Jan. 8, 2014

One of the dog owners, Clark Petitt, says the dogs had enough food, shelter and water, but says some of the water may have been frozen. Petitt told the responding Deputy on Jan. 5 that he would take his dogs inside and put them in the basement, but Petitt says he was not given a response.

Clark Petitt and Mary Morse live at the residence and claim ownership of the dogs. According to online records, they have been convicted of animal neglect in the past.

A Marathon County Sheriff's Deputy tells NewsChannel 7 the Humane Society of Marathon County has a record of an incident back in 2004.

Deputies called the Humane Society of Marathon County asking for its help in taking animal's from Petitt and Morse's home. According to the report, when the humane society arrived, they were let in by law enforcement officers.

They found malnourished cats who were losing fur and had fleas. Hamsters, mice, ducks, dogs and rodents, that had to water or food. Outside of the home, a large kennel contained rabbits including one with an untreated puncture wound, causing it to only have use of one eye.

Part of that kennel had four 6-month-old puppies, living in harsh conditions. The report states they had feces up to their knees.

There were also goats, chickens and roosters with no food or water near them. Three horses were found as well, but appeared better cared for than the other animals.

The humane society, along with law enforcement, told Morse and Petitt the conditions their animals were living in were not humane, and they needed to decide to surrender the animals, or find a safe place for them.

All together, more than 250 animals were taken from this home in 2004. Both Morse and Petitt were convicted of 2 counts of intentional improper animal shelter and sanitation, and one count of intentional failure to provide food for an animal. Petitt and Morse were sentenced to 3 years on probation, including no contact with any animals.

A report has not yet been filed by the Sheriff's Office. Stay with NewsChannel 7 for the latest.


ORIGINAL STORY: Tues 4:53 PM, Jan. 7, 2014

Nine dogs that were left outside in the cold are at the Marathon County Humane Society. Executive director, Mary Kirlin, says they were seized from a home in the Town of Hamburg, between Marathon and Merrill Sunday night.

The sheriff's department says its investigating. It is unclear if charges will be filed.

"When the weather gets to be to the point of sub zero, it is detrimental to the animal's health, even a perfectly healthy animal. These didn't have a choice but to stay where they were at. They were tethered out and were not able to get enough water, or shelter they needed. So the best thing was for them to be brought it, which is what we did,” Explained Kirlin.

She says a vet gave the pups a routine check up and they all seem to be ok.

Temperature Sunday evening in the Wausau area were -15 with a wind chill of -40.

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