More than 200 dogs and puppies connected to a northern Minnesota animal neglect case are going up for adoption starting this weekend throughout the Twin Cities in what the Animal Humane Society anticipates will be a popular placement campaign.
Deborah B. Rowell, 60, of Pine River, was charged in late July in Cass County with eight misdemeanors and one petty misdemeanor covering everything from animal neglect to deprivation of shelter, ventilation, shade and water.
On July 16, 104 grown dogs and 29 puppies were seized from Rowell’s kennel on the eastern edge of Pine River by the Humane Society with the assistance of the Sheriff’s Office.
But counting puppies born to dogs that were pregnant when they arrived at the Humane Society, the organization has been caring for more than 200 animals associated with the case.
Humane Society officials expect about 75 puppies and 65 dogs will be initially available for adoption. Additional dogs and puppies from the case will continue to be moved to the Humane Society’s adoption centers throughout the weekend and after, as space is available and as they become ready for placement.
The animals will be available at all five Humane Society locations — Golden Valley, Buffalo, Coon Rapids, St. Paul and Woodbury. The centers will be open regular hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Additional staff members are being deployed “in anticipation of strong interest in these dogs,” the Humane Society said in a statement.
The breeds available range from golden retrievers to German shepherds to Alaskan huskies to cocker spaniels.
According to the criminal complaint against Rowell:
• Many dogs, some of them large breeds, were packed in doghouses and runs.
• Some of the doghouses were not elevated properly to keep the dogs and their bedding from getting wet and muddy.
• Drinking containers had dirty, greenish water. One bucket had a dead mouse floating on the surface.
• Temperatures in the kennel at large and the doghouses were “extremely high” and they lacked proper ventilation and shade.
On the hot and muggy day the dogs were seized, temperatures in the doghouses ranged from 91 to 97 degrees, the complaint said.
Soon after the dogs were seized, Rowell’s attorney, Stephen Grigsby, vigorously defended his client on several fronts, contending that the investigation is part of a politicized effort to bring about state regulation of the dog-breeding industry.