Seized Pine County animals adopted into new homes after 'torture - KMSP-TV

Seized Pine County animals adopted into new homes after 'torture'


Pine County officials confirm that all the surviving animals that were seized from properties belonging to 65-year-old Kathleen Doenz and her 86-year-old mother, Gloria Carlson, have been adopted.

Both Doenz and Carlson are facing 14 charges of animal torture and stand accused of overworking and mistreating more than 160 animals that were rescued earlier this fall.

Chief Deputy Steven Blackwell confirmed to Fox 9 News on Tuesday that although several animals were euthanized due to the severity of their conditions after the seizure, those that were rehabilitated have all been placed in new homes.


- 84 chickens
- 36 dogs
- 26 horses
- 17 ducks

Blackwell had previously described the animal abuse case as the worst he'd ever seen, and the criminal complaint describes squalid conditions at the farm and several of the severe injuries the animals suffered while under the care of Doenz and Carlson.

Neither Doenz nor Carlson lives at the property where the animals were seized, charging documents allege. Instead, both reportedly told investigators they came to the property daily to care for the animals.


Charging documents state that the veterinarians who assisted in the rescue of the large animals noticed many of the horses on the rural Pine City property were so skinny their ribs were showing. One had long, overgrown hooves and another had an untreated leg injury that was so severe the animal's skin as peeling down its leg.

The horses ranged in age from mature stallions and mares to foals, a 2-year-old and a yearling. Veterinarians found that all scored below average on the Henneke Body Condition Scoring Chart, which rates the condition on a scale of 1 to 9 with 1 indicating the horses are near starvation and 9 indicating the horses are overweight. Two of the horses rated at 1 after they were evaluated and found to be the final stages of muscle wasting, and the rest rated between 1.5 to 4.5.

One horse named Summer scored a 2, but she walked with a painful gait linked to chronic overgrowth of her front hooves. She was found to be lame and euthanized due to her state, and was determined to be pregnant with twin foals during the post mortem necropsy. The criminal complaints explain the atrophy of her tissue extended to her bone marrow.

Another mare named Whitney was rated as a 1 on the scale, and was suspected of having rabies. Doenz told investigators the horse had been drooling for weeks and she had a visible wound that was swollen, infected and weeping blood as the flesh hung from her leg. Veterinarians found she had a permanently debilitating condition caused by a lack of hoof trimming. The mare was also euthanized.

Investigators found none of the enclosures had drinkable water, grain or hay. Rather, all the grass in the pasture had been overgrazed, leaving only weeds that are toxic to horses. Balling twine, another hazard for horses, was also found in their enclosures, which were constructed of haphazardly placed metal fence posts, according to the criminal complaint.

Doenz told investigators she conducts her own ferrier work on her horses, meaning she cares for their hooves and vaccinations; however, she also admitted that the horses were not properly vaccinated or de-wormed.

In addition to the seized horses, various skeletal remains -- including 6 horse skulls -- were also found. One still contained chestnut hair.


Pine County investigators who evaluated the conditions on the farm found a very strong, rank odor throughout the property, including the areas surrounding the external dog kennels and those in two poorly-ventilated barns.

According to the criminal complaint, there was little to no natural light inside the buildings that housed the dogs, and none of the kennels had food or drinkable water. In fact, investigators could not find any food on the property for them.

Doenz reportedly told investigators her mother intended to go buy 10 bags of dog food the day the seizure was conducted, but added that "money was very tight."

A Great Pyrenees named Hugo was referred for immediate veterinary care after he was seized because his dew claws were growing into the pads of his paws, leaving him lame and permanently disfigured. Veterinarians found his nails were so overgrown they curved under his paw to bear his weight, leaving open, necrotic sores. The dog had also developed joint and skeletal damage as a result, and his lack of grooming had left him unable to defecate, according to the criminal complaint.

A German Sheppard named Ozzie was also seized after it was found she was severely malnourished. Doenz told investigators Ozzie had been found hanging from a chain link fence by her paw two weeks before, and when she was taken by authorities, she would not bear weight on that foot. Veterinarians removed two toe nails and a toe that had become necrotic.


Although Doenz and her mother told investigators the ducks and chickens on the property were allowed to roam free, the criminal complaint states the animals were contained in one barn room with no access to the outdoors, fresh air, water or food.

Charging documents further allege that all ducks were covered in excrement and mud, and several could not float, which is a sign of malnourishment. No feed was found on the property, according to the charges.


Both Doenz and her mother are facing 5 felony-level charges, 5 gross misdemeanor charges and 4 misdemeanor charges of animal torture. In Minnesota, the felony charge is described as follows:

"Defendant did overdrive, overload, torture, cruelly beat, neglect or unjustifiably injure, maim, mutilate, or kill any animal, or cruelly work any animal when it is unfit for labor, whether it belongs to that person or another person and that animal is a pet or companion animal and the animal suffers great bodily harm as a result."

The gross misdemeanor charge relates to substantial bodily harm suffered by an animal, and the misdemeanor level charge relates solely to the treatment of the pet or companion animal.

Each charge carries a possible sentence of:

- Felony: 2 years in jail, a fine of $5,000, or both
- Gross misdemeanor: 1 year in jail, a fine of $3,000, or both
- Misdemeanor: 90 days, a $1,000 fine, or both

If convicted on all charges and sentenced to the maximum penalty, both mother and daughter would face 16 years imprisonment and fines totaling $44,000.

Both were charged by summons.

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