Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19115
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Thursday, Jan 12, 2012

County: Monona

Disposition: Alleged

» Denise Withee
» Georgia Scheer

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

A Mapleton woman convicted of dumping nearly two dozen dead or dying dogs in Nebraska three years ago faces charges after allegedly using an alias to buy more dogs.

The Monona County Sheriff's Office said officers found 13 dogs at Denise Withee's home at 832 Main St. during a probation compliance check on Thursday.

In 2009, a judge in Hall County, Neb., barred Withee, 49, from owning a pet for five years as part of her probation for a conviction for felony animal abandonment and neglect. She was charged after a farmer found 20 of her dogs dead and three live ones in a cornfield near Grand Island in July 2008.

The Monona County Sheriff's Office reported that Withee and her mother, Georgia Scheer, now both face charges of animal neglect and animal cruelty for dogs found Thursday in Mapleton.

Cindy Rarrat, owner of Sioux City Animal Control, said the agency removed six standard poodles, three Yorkies and three Chihuahuas from Withee's house in Mapleton at the request of the Monona County Sheriff's Office.

She said some of the sellers said Withee used an alias to buy dogs from them. One of them contacted law enforcement after learning of Withee's past troubles with the law, Rarrat said.

"I've had a couple other people from across the country contact me about their dogs," said Rarrat, who noted some sellers have reclaimed the dogs.

Sioux City Animal Control also took several of Withee's dogs found wandering along Monona County roads in August 2008, a month after the dead dogs were found in Nebraska. Police say several of the approximately 20 dogs discovered in rural Monona County were in such poor condition they were euthanized.

Withee was not prosecuted for those allegations.

Case Updates

The woman convicted of dumping 20 dead and three dying dogs in a cornfield near Grand Island in 2008 must return to Hall County next week to serve time in jail after being found with 13 dogs in her Iowa home.

Denise Withee, 49, of Mapleton, Iowa, was convicted in Hall County of three counts of felony cruel neglect of animals in July 2009. She was sentenced to four years probation and was ordered not to own, possess or reside with any animal for five years.

On Jan. 12, deputies with the Monona County, Iowa, Sheriff's Department conducted a probation compliance check at Withee's home in Mapleton, Iowa, and found 13 dogs. The presence of the dogs in her home is a violation of her Nebraska probation, according to a press release from the Monona County Sheriff's Department.

As a result of the check, Withee and her mother, Georgia Scheer, face charges of animal neglect and cruelty in Iowa, according to the release.

District 8 Chief Probation Officer Clay Schutz said, as part of Withee's probation, she could be ordered to serve incremental jail time. A Hall County judge has ordered Withee to return to Grand Island by 5 p.m. Wednesday to serve 120 days in the Hall County Jail as a sanction for her behavior.

Schutz said Withee's probation supervision was transferred to Iowa shortly after she was sentenced. When someone has her probation transferred from one state to another, she is subject to the probation rules in both places, Schutz said. As a result of the Jan. 12 check, Schutz's office will be filing a motion to revoke her probation. If the county attorney agrees to file the revocation, Withee could be resentenced on the original felony charges in Hall County, Schutz said.

In addition, there are animal cruelty charges pending against Withee and her mother in Iowa for the condition the 13 dogs were found in last week. According to the Monona County clerk's office, the paperwork required to file charges is waiting for the signature of the magistrate, who will return to the office on Wednesday.

Withee may have used an alias to buy the 13 dogs from various sellers. Sioux City Animal Control took the dogs, and new homes have since been found for them. Animal control also took several of Withee's dogs that were found wandering in Monona County in August 2008, but no charges were filed as a result.

During her trial in Hall County, Withee testified that she had health problems and became sick while transporting the dogs through Nebraska. She pulled over near Grand Island and passed out. When she awoke, some of the dogs were dead. She testified at her trial that she attempted to resuscitate the animals but eventually chose to leave them in a field.

The animals were eventually traced to Withee, who was arrested at a Grand Island motel on Aug. 2, 2008, with 13 additional dogs. The dogs, 36 total, had ridden from Mapleton, Iowa, to North Platte and back to Grand Island in Withee's 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee, according to trial testimony.

A veterinarian testified that he did autopsies on four of the dogs found in the field and determined they likely died of heat exhaustion.

At Withee's sentencing, then Deputy Hall County Attorney Aaron Kunz said he didn't believe her story, nor did he believe she would be successful on probation.

During the same hearing, Withee told the judge she intended to stay in Hastings, where she had been renting a trailer and undergoing counseling.

"I know what happened was wrong," she told Hall County District Judge William Wright. "I'll follow all the procedures they want me to. I'm sorry for what I did. I wasn't in the right frame of mind."
Source: - Jan 19, 2012
Update posted on Jan 20, 2012 - 12:09PM 


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