Case Snapshot
Case ID: 5658
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: cat, dog (non pit-bull), bird (wildlife), chicken, rodent/small mammal (pet), rabbit (pet)
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Thursday, Oct 6, 2005

County: Waupaca

Disposition: Convicted

Defendants/Suspects:
» Clifford H. Niemuth
» Brian C. Niemuth
» Jennifer E. Niemuth
» Duane M Niemuth - Acquitted
» Sandra J. Niemuth - Dismissed

Case Updates: 5 update(s) available

Following up on a complaint, the Waupaca sheriff's department searched a house along Highway 54 in the town of Royalton. They described what they found as "beyond belief."

Authorities say they found 115 guinea pigs in the house along with 50 dogs, 21 cats, 29 goats, 35 rabbits, 92 hamsters and 86 chickens. There were too many animals to get proper care and food, said a state veterinarian who advised the animals should be taken away.

"This is abuse, neglect, failure to provide proper food and shelter," humane officer Jennifer Furman said.

Some of the animals roamed freely on the property. Deputies and a hazardous materials team found more inside the house and behind buildings. They spent Oct 6 removing the animals from the property.

The animals' owner told local news that he does feed and care for every animal. "I put fresh bedding in for the guinea pigs and hamsters, and feed them," Cliff Niemuth countered.

Niemuth said he has a manger and water troughs for the sheep, goats, and dogs in the back of the building. "Like I say, if I can't take care of them I wouldn't keep them."

But the humane officer said she found some dead animals on the property, and inside the house was worse. "It's not fit for the animals much less the humans."

A Hazmat team needed to wear masks to go inside the house because of all the ammonia, feces, and parasites they feared they would find in there.

Furman said the case of abuse and neglect is indescribable. "I've never seen anything like this in real life. I've seen it in pictures and training."

The animals are being taken to shelters or foster homes for care and treatment. The sheriff's department plans to turn the case over to the district attorney for possible felony charges.


Case Updates

Brian Niemuth - convicted - 2 yrs probation with many conditions. Motion hearing set for June 12, 9am.

Jennifer Niemuth - convicted - 2 yrs probation with many conditions. Motion hearing set for June 12, 9am. It's expected that they will ask for sentencing to be reduced and the subject of restitution will likely come up..

Duane Niemuth - Charges were dismissed until only 2 remained, and he was found "Not Guilty" on both.

Clifford Niemuth Charges were dismissed until only 3 remained. He was found "Not Guilty" on the ones relating to the outside dog. He was found "Guilty" on the one count relating to the guinea pig housing conditions. Sentencing set for June 12, 9am. Also, the subject of restitution will likely come up.

Sandra Niemuth - All Counts dismissed.
Source: Wisconsin Circuit Court
Update posted on Jun 5, 2006 - 10:07AM 
Correction to previous update: Brian Niemuth was charged with 4 counts of animal cruelty related charges, not 54 as published.
Source: Wisconsin Court System
Update posted on Jan 24, 2006 - 12:18PM 
On December 1, 2005, five Niemuth family members have pleaded not guilty to the following charges:


Brian C. Niemuth was charged with 54 counts: Improper Animal Shelter Space, Intentional Failure To Provide Food for Animal, Intentional Failure To Provide Food for Animal, Improper Animal Shelter.

Jennifer E. Niemuth was charged with 4 counts : Intentionally Improper Animal Shelter/Space, Intentional Failure To Provide Food for Animal, Intentional Failure To Provide Food for Animal, Improper Animal Shelter.

Duane M. Niemuth was charged with 6 counts: Intentionally Mistreat Animals, Intentional Failure To Provide Food for Animal, Intentional Failure To Provide Food for Animal, Intentional Improper Animal Shelter/Space, Improper Animal Shelter/Outdoor, Improper Animal Shelter/Outdoor.

Clifford H. Niemuth was charged with 6 counts: Intentionally Mistreat Animals, Intentional Failure To Provide Food for Animal, Intentional Failure To Provide Water for Animal, Improper Animal Shelter/Outdoor, Improper Animal Shelter/Outdoor, Improper Animal Shelter/Space.

Sandra J. Niemuth was charged with 6 counts: Intentionally Mistreat Animals, Intentional Failure To Provide Food for Animal, Intentional Failure To Provide Food for Animal, Improper Animal Shelter/Outdoor, Improper Animal Shelter/Outdoor, Intentionally Improper Animal Shelter/Space.
Source: Wisconsin Court System
Update posted on Jan 21, 2006 - 12:45AM 
A Royalton family faces animal neglect charges in Waupaca County following a raid of their property in October. Charged are Brian C. Niemuth, 30; Jennifer E. Niemuth, 30; Clifford H. Niemuth, 59; Duane C. Niemuth, 68; and Sandra J. Niemuth, 61, all of E6460 State 54.

Brian and Jennifer Niemuth are charged with four counts of misdemeanor animal neglect and the other three are charged with six counts each.

An initial appearance on the charges is set for Dec. 1.

Police and animal control officers found several dogs and cats in ill health, poorly fed and living in their own feces when they raided the property in October.

There were several animal cages containing dogs that were stacked up in the house, and newspapers in the home were soaked with urine and feces.

Investigators said "the floor of the residence was covered with dirt, urine and fecal matter."

Several animals appeared to be malnourished and there didn't appear to be enough food available to feed the animals.

Officers found guinea pigs, cats, dogs, parakeets, ferrets, hamsters and gerbils all in cages in the house.

Two dead guinea pigs were found on a pile of clothing behind a door.
Source: The Post-Crescent - Nov 18, 2005
Update posted on Nov 21, 2005 - 2:06PM 
Veterinarians are examining for signs of abuse about 500 animals seized last week from a Royalton residence, a Waupaca County Sheriff's Department captain said Monday.

Niemuth has not been charged with any crime, although the Sheriff's Department may refer him for prosecution if the examinations show the animals were maltreated, Conat said.

Deputies seized two gerbils, two turkeys, two sheep, two goats, five ferrets, 17 kittens and cats, 29 goats, 35 rabbits, 51 puppies and dogs, 86 chickens, 92 hamsters and 115 guinea pigs.

Niemuth and county authorities have had ongoing disputes with Niemuth for years about his collection of junked vehicles. Niemuth has been cited numerous times for operating an unlicensed salvage yard.

"They found animals tied to vehicles and they were just about everywhere else on the property," Conat said. "There were quite a large number in the house. The guinea pigs and hamsters were all inside the residence. One officer made a comment about seeing a dead hamster on the kitchen cupboard."
Source: The Post-Crescent - Oct 12, 2005
Update posted on Oct 12, 2005 - 9:00PM 

References


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