Charges filed in animal neglect case
Wendy Lucinda Saathoff, 35, faces 17 misdemeanor charges, including 13 counts of failing to provide proper food and drink to confined animals. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of nine months of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
Saathoff pleaded not guilty and was released on a $5,000 signature bond. Court Commissioner Rebecca Lovejoy ordered that Saathoff, who now resides in Duluth, not own, possess or care for any animals whatsoever.According to the criminal complaint: Douglas County Deputy Patrick Carey went to the Foxboro property May 31 to follow up on an animal complaint. Seven horses and three goats were found in outside pens lacking fresh water and food. A number of free-range chickens, geese and a turkey had no pen or shelter. The house where five dogs and three small rodents were being kept was a mess, with all rooms and basement covered in numerous piles of vomit, feces and urine. The air quality was poor and no food or water was in their dishes.A veterinarian who examined the animals noted that at least three of the horses had a body score of one, which meant they had poor diet or nutrition and needed treatment for starvation.When questioned by Carey, Saathoff told him she works three jobs and is gone from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays. She also said there was no running water or electricity at the residence. She said she had a water jug in the back of her pickup and she would carry water from Superior every day for the animals.All but three of the animals were surrendered to the Humane Society of Douglas County. A rescue fund has been set up for their care and rehabilitation. For information, go to www.hsdcpets.com.Saathoff’s next court appearance is slated for Sept. 2.