Case Snapshot
Case ID: 20068
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Prosecutor(s): Thomas L. Hoeh
Judge(s): Michael J. Bullerdieck

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

Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013

County: Perry

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 1 files available

Defendant/Suspect: Carrie L. Statler

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

Last Wednesday crowds scrambled to grocery stores buying up milk, bread, water, and other rations, stocking up for the impending weather approaching the Midwest. The weather man was calling for up to an inch of sleet and ice in some areas on Thursday, and significant snowfall on Friday. Everyone scurried at the news.

Conscientious pet owners with outdoor pets made haste to secure proper shelter for their animals, bringing some inside for the storm, while others did little to nothing to insure the comfort or even the lives of their pets. At least one Perry County dog has died from it's owner's lack of concern.

Sleet and ice covered Southeast Missouri in a matter of just a few hours and as predicted almost a foot of snow fell on the area shortly after. By 6 p.m. on Friday there was as much as 14 inches of snow on the ground in rural Missouri on top of a layer of ice. Temperatures dropped below freezing.

In a backyard in Brewer, Mo. two dogs were chained with no food or water, and had little more than makeshift shelters to protect them from the winter storm. The pet's owners were not home to care for them much less bring them in from the blistering cold.

The dog owners, however, were coming and going, moving belongings from their rental home. There were tracks everywhere to indicate the move, but there were no tracks to be seen, leading to or from the area in the back of the property where the dogs were chained. No one had even checked on them.

The call to Rough Road Rescue came too late for one of the Brewer dogs that had been forgotten. Upon arrival authorities and Rough Road Rescue discovered one dog dead and the other hanging on but cold and in poor condition.

It was apparent that the Boxer had made it through the storm. But malnourished, with no water and no way to maintain his own body temperature in the makeshift wooden box he was left to survive in, he died; cold, hungry, and alone. One can only guess as the misery this poor animal suffered in the blistering cold.

Authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding the dogs death.The outcome of the investigation will determine whether or not any criminal charges are in store for the dog's owner.

The second dog found on the property has been taken in by Rough Road Rescue.

Case Updates

Carrie Statler appeared in a Perry County court room Jan. 28, pleading guilty to Class C misdemeanor animal neglect.

In early December Statler abandoned her dog, Xavier, denying him food and water and left him without adequate shelter in zero degree temperatures. Xavier died from malnourishment, dehydration, and exposure to the elements.

Judge Michael J. Bullerdieck imposed the sentence of a $300.00 fine plus $108.00 court costs based on recommendations from Prosecutor Thomas L. Hoeh. It is unclear why the prosecutor neglected to ask the judge for the maximum sentence in this case.

Missouri law, section 578.009 states:

1. A person is guilty of animal neglect if he has custody or ownership or both of an animal and fails to provide adequate care.

2. A person is guilty of abandonment if he has knowingly abandoned an animal in any place without making provisions for its adequate care.

3. Animal neglect and abandonment is a class C misdemeanor upon first conviction and for each offense, punishable by imprisonment or a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars, or both.

According to witnesses, Statler appeared agitated and disagreeable with the sentence she received while Perry County citizens were upset by the leniency of the prosecutor in this case. Xavier died an agonizing death and most felt Statler should have received the maximum sentence, or worse.

It is cases like Statler's, and others, that dictate a need for harsher penalties for animal abuse and neglect in the Missouri court system.

If you have questions or concerns about this case, contact Prosecuting Attorney, Thomas L. Hoeh at email address, or by writing to P.O. Box 570, Perryville, Mo., 63775. Call the prosecutor's office at (573) 547-1023 or send a fax to (573) 547-4718.
Source: Examiner - Jan 30, 2014
Update posted on Apr 20, 2014 - 5:16PM 
Dec. 8th we reported an animal neglect case concerning two dogs left on a Brewer, Mo. property. Reports from witnesses say that dogs had not been cared for in several days and were in poor condition.

A concerned neighbor called Rough Road Rescue who visited the property along with a Perry County Sheriff's Deputy, and found both dogs malnourished, dehydrated, and without proper shelter. Xavier the Boxer was already dead. The Labrador named Hershey showed signs of serious neglect.

When leaving the scene, Sheriff's Deputy Brown instructed Steve Svehla, head of Rough Road Rescue, to take both dogs into custody. Svehla took the animals, gave Xavier a proper burial, and began caring for Hershey.

The investigation by Brown concluded that each dog was owned by separate individuals who both once resided at the property. The couple is believed to have vacated the property sometime before Thanksgiving and had only returned periodically to provide care for the animals. Witnesses say those periodic visits were days apart.

Carrie L. Statler of Perry County Missouri, the owner of the deceased Boxer (Xavier), was subsequently charged with misdemeanor animal neglect. She now faces possible incarceration and a fine not to exceed $500.00. (For a detailed explanation of Missouri Cruelty to Animals Statute, see below.)

Surprisingly the Sheriff's department instructed Rough Road Rescue to return Hershey to his owner, Andrea Unterreiner (Gravil). Svehla protested, but bound by law, was forced to make the return. Unterreiner retrieved Hershey from the rescue on Dec. 12. No charges have yet been filed against Unterreiner.

People are questioning why law enforcement demanded the Lab be returned to its owner after having instructed Svehla's rescue to take custody of the dog. But according to the law, only if the animal was in imminent danger would the seizure, as it happened, be considered a lawful act. Imminent danger is defined by which the animal is in danger of dying before a warrant can be obtained. In order for Rough Road Rescue to have retained custody of Hershey, the deputy would have had to obtain a warrant to legally remove the dog from the property. Warrants normally take less than an hour to obtain. It's clear that the deputy in this case did not act in accordance with the law and subsequently caused the dog to be returned to a dangerous situation.

In the eyes of many, Ms. Statler is getting off lightly, even if convicted. Unterreiner is simply getting away with a horrible crime without even so much as a warning.

It is of great concern that Hershey will not be cared for any better now than he had been in the past. Rough Rough Rescue made every effort to convince Hershey's owner to surrender him, but to no avail.

Deep concern from the public has generated a petition to have Hershey returned to Rough Road Rescue so that he can be brought back to health and be placed in a proper home. You can find the petition by clicking here. Concerned individuals are encouraged to sign the petition. As of this writing, 1250 signatures have been collected requesting that Hershey be returned to Rough Road Rescue.

No court date has yet been set for Statler. New information will be reported as it is received.
Source: Examiner - Dec 15, 2013
Update posted on Apr 20, 2014 - 5:18PM 


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