Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18130
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Prosecutor(s): Jane Landretti
Defense(s): Sheila Kessler
Judge(s): James Beer

For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

County: Green

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Alleged

» Allyson J. Williams
» Melissa Harrel
» Kathy J. Williams
» Donavan F. Williams

Case Updates: 4 update(s) available

Green County sheriff's deputies Wednesday afternoon arrested four adults on suspicion of mistreating animals and seized 46 dogs from a home near Albany, according to a news release.

According to the sheriff's office news release:

The sheriff's office executed a search warrant at N4651 County F, about three miles south of Albany. The purpose was to investigate reports that the occupants were raising a large number of Great Dane dogs in the home, that the home was unsanitary and that human and animal health were at risk.

Seven similar complaints had been made to the sheriff's office since February 2010, but authorities had been unable to develop enough probable cause to search the home. A recent event reported to the sheriff's office provided probable cause for a search warrant.

Deputies found 46 dogs in the home, including five mixed breed dogs and 41 dogs that appeared to be purebred Great Danes. Twelve were puppies.

A veterinarian examined the animals, and authorities determined that based on space and sanitation that the health of the animals and the residents was at risk.

The Green County Humane Society transported all of the dogs to sites where the animals have food, room and adequate sanitary conditions.

Four residents of the home were arrested on misdemeanor charges of mistreating animals: Allyson J. Williams, 24; Melissa Harrel, 57; Kathy J. Williams, 54; and Donavan F. Williams, 45.

The Green County Humane Society will house the dogs as long as necessary for evidentiary purposes.


The Green County Humane Society is seeking donations to buy food for the Great Danes seized by authorities from a rural Albany home Wednesday.

Great Danes have special dietary needs, including food with limited protein.

For more information, contact Rachel Schardt at or Tracey Pederson at

Case Updates

New evidence entered Wednesday in Green County Court suggests a woman charged with animal mistreatment has a history of neglecting Great Dane dogs.

Kathy J. Williams, 55, is scheduled for a jury trial in late February on five counts of mistreating animals and two counts of providing animals with insufficient ventilation. She and three others were charged after 42 dogs, mostly Great Danes, were seized in May from a home near Brodhead. Williams has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Williams was cited for animal neglect multiple times in Fitchburg and Madison in 2006 and 2007, according to accounts from Fitchburg police and Dane County Animal Control presented by prosecutors as evidence in the Green County case.

A Fitchburg building inspector denied a kennel application for Williams' residence in October 2007 after finding 14 Great Danes living "in various rooms in the first floor and basement" with "strong odors of urine, piles of feces and an infestation of flies."

She was cited for barking dogs on several occasions in the weeks following the inspection, according to documents filed in Green County Court.

Earlier that year, Williams reportedly was keeping 15 Great Danes at a residence on Madison's west side. Animal control officers responded to numerous complaints that the dogs were "running at large, biting neighbors and pedestrians," according to court documents.

In the early months of 2006, Dane County Animal Control found 20 adult and puppy Great Danes in her care at a residence on Madison's south side, according to the documents.

Officers "observed piles of feces in the yard around the residence after responding to numerous complaints that said Great Dane dogs were running at large and creating a nuisance in the neighborhood," according to the documents.

Care for the dogs seized in May has cost Green County almost $48,000. The Green County Humane Society has found homes for all eligible dogs and their 17 puppies except for one, Elle, a 1-year-old Great Dane.

Williams' case is scheduled for trial Tuesday, Feb. 28, and Wednesday, Feb. 29.

Among the three others charged with mistreating the dogs, Allyson Williams and Donovan Williams pleaded no contest to some counts and are in deferred prosecution. The case against Melissa Harrel is pending.
Source: - Dec 30, 2011
Update posted on Jan 1, 2012 - 1:21PM 
Dozens of dogs seized by Green County authorities will be on their way to new homes after their previous owners failed to post bond.

The Green County Sheriff's Department seized 46 dogs, mostly Great Danes, from a rural home in May due to what it called poor living conditions.

A judge gave the four owners seven days to post a bond of $10,300 or lose the animals permanently.

The dogs were seized from a rural Green County home shared by Allyson Williams, Kathy Williams, Donovan Williams and Melissa Harrel.

Harrel posted bond for 13 of her animals. But failure to post bond for the remaining dogs means they now belong to the Green County Humane Society and will be placed up for adoption.

"The Humane Society is going to work very hard to find homes for them. It's going to be a big task they have ahead of them to keep them well cared for," said Jane Landretti, attorney representing Green County.

Landretti said the bond amount represents what the Humane Society has spent caring for the animals. The total number of animals seized increased to more than 60 after two dogs gave birth.

Landretti said that if Harrel wants to see any of her animals again, she will have to show the court she has made some changes.

"The fact that she posted bond doesn't mean those dogs automatically go back to her. I still think she has an uphill battle to get those dogs back," Landretti said.

It's unclear when the animals will be heading to new homes.

In a statement, a representative for the Green County Humane Society said it's their policy to spay or neuter animals before they are adopted and they'll need some time to do that.

The four owners are expected back in Green County Court on Monday to deal with their pending criminal charges.

According to the district attorney, each defendant is facing a minimum of one misdemeanor charge of failure to provide shelter and animal cruelty.

If convicted of the maximum penalty, each person faces nine months in jail and a $10,000
Source: - Jul 7, 2011
Update posted on Jul 7, 2011 - 11:07PM 
A veterinarian present during the May 25 seizure of 46 Great Danes from a home near Brodhead testified Tuesday that the smell of feces and urine inside the house was so strong she had trouble breathing.

"My chest was tight, and it was difficult to breathe for a few days afterwards," Emily Dahlgran testified during a civil hearing in Green County Court on custody of the animals. "The adult dogs may have been able to handle it, but the small dogs wouldn't have."

Authorities executed a search warrant at the residence on County F near Brodhead and seized the dogs, which now number 60 because several gave birth since being taken.

Testimony in the civil case is scheduled to resume Thursday before Judge James Beer.

The defendants, Allyson Williams, 24; Kathy Williams, 54; and Donovan Williams, 45, all of Brodhead, appeared in court without an attorney.

Melissa Harrel, 57, Brodhead, appeared with her attorney, Sheila Kessler.

Green County's assistant corporation council, Jane Landretti, is prosecuting the civil case.

Tuesday's testimony came from three prosecution witnesses, a pair of Green County sheriff's deputies and Dahlgran.

Deputy Scott Ellefson told the court Allyson Williams was outside the house when deputies arrived to execute the search warrant.

Ellefson testified that he had started investigating in April 2010, acting on reports of animal abuse and neglect of horses and dogs at the residence.

Prosecution witnesses told the court that dirt, urine, and fecal matter were found throughout the property and inside the single-story, ranch-style house.

Ellefson said the home was poorly ventilated, with fresh air coming in only from a window that was slightly open in a bedroom, a fan in another bedroom and a partially open garage door. The kennels inside and outside were "dirty" and filled with new and decaying fecal matter, Ellefson said.

"Some of the animals had food and water available to them," Ellefson said.

Officials testified that seven Great Dane puppies were found in the kitchen.

"They were all in one enclosed area, and they were in one crate in that enclosed area," Deputy Joseph Youngblood said.

Five more Great Dane puppies were found in the living room. Cats were found, too, but were not seized because there were no complaints related to them.

Dahlgran, a veterinarian at Brodhead Veterinary Clinic, testified that the dogs were generally in good health, though some had preexisting conditions or genetic disorders that were unrelated to the conditions in the home.
Source: - Jun 22, 2011
Update posted on Jun 24, 2011 - 7:53PM 
The 46 dogs seized by authorities May 25 and the 17 puppies the dogs gave birth to while in custody won't be immediately returned to their owners, a judge ruled on Thursday.

However, the owners can post bond to prevent the dogs, mostly Great Danes, from being sold.

The ruling came after Green County Circuit Judge James Beer determined the owners might have violated animal cruelty laws.

"Clearly, there's a sanitary issue," Beer said of the Green County home on County F, where the dogs were living when they were seized on a search warrant.

Beer granted a prosecution request for a $10,329 bond, which reflects the county's costs to care for the dogs.

If the bond is not posted in seven days, the county can sell the dogs. How much each dog is worth and the bond amount each defendant owes is up to the Green County Humane Society.

Defendant Kathy Williams, 54, plans to appeal Beer's decision.

"No one bothered to ask if we have cleaned (the house) up, which we have," Williams said following the ruling.

Co-defendants Allyson Williams, 24, and Donovan Williams, 45, Brodhead, appeared in court without an attorney. Co-defendant Melissa Harrel, 57, Brodhead, appeared with her attorney, Sheila Kessler.

The defendants waived their rights to speak in their own defense.

Deb Broge, executive director of the Green County Humane Society, testified 15 of the dogs are at the Dane County Humane Society. The puppies, Broge said, were a surprise. Staff became aware the dogs were pregnant after they were seized.

Defense witness James McCready, a veterinarian assistant hired by Harrel, appeared Thursday.

He testified the dogs were in good health a few weeks after they were seized.
Source: - Jun 24, 2011
Update posted on Jun 24, 2011 - 7:43PM 


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