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May 22, 2009

The HSUS Applauds Prosecutors for Cruelty Charges Against Owner of Thyme and Sage Ranch

The Humane Society of the United States

CAZENOVIA, Wis. — The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, applauds District Attorney Andrew Sharp for filing criminal animal cruelty charges against Jennifer Petkus, owner of Thyme and Sage Ranch. These charges stem from allegations that Petkus neglected animals kept on her Cazenovia, Wis. property. These charges stem from an investigation begun by The HSUS.

"By pursuing charges in this disturbing case Richland County is sending the message that these types of cases will be taken very seriously here in Wisconsin," said Alyson Bodai, Wisconsin state director for The HSUS. "It is gratifying to know that the nearly 400 animals rescued from the Thyme and Sage Ranch will suffer no more."

Petkus was charged with 10 counts of intentional mistreatment of an animal, five counts of improper disposal of a carcass and one count of intentional improper animal shelter sanitation. The Richland County District Attorney called in The HSUS to assist with the recent raid of Petkus' property. The HSUS acted as the lead animal welfare organization in this rescue, overseeing the removal of 374 animals from the overrun facility. The HSUS also worked with the District Attorney in assembling evidence that led to the search warrant of the property. The HSUS still has a team of staff and volunteers on scene helping to care for the rescued animals.

Rescuers found a menagerie of animals at the ranch — including dogs, rabbits, exotic birds, horses and ferrets. Many were suffering from painful untreated skin infections and severely matted coats encrusted with fecal matter, among other conditions. With the assistance of several local and national animal welfare groups these animals have been settled comfortably at an emergency shelter set up on the grounds of the Dane County Humane Society. The animals are now under the custody of the Richland County Sherriff's Department pending further custody decisions.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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