Nov. 5, 2018 – Hartford, WI – On Oct. 29, 2018, at approximately 7:53 a.m., the Hartford Police Department received a call regarding suspicious circumstances at a residence in the 300 block of E. Sumner Street.
It was reported that the residence’s garbage can, recyclable bin, and as many as 10 to 13 large garbage bags were being put out for pick up weekly that appeared to contain large quantities of raw feces and what appeared to be bedding for animal pens.
Upon making contact at the residence that morning, a Hartford Officer questioned the owner about the issues that had been reported to our department. The resident claimed they were raising rabbits in their basement, and told the officer that they “only had 4 rabbits” living in their basement.
The officer did hear dogs barking inside the residence, and the resident informed the officer they also had three dogs in the home. A check revealed none of the dogs were licensed with the city, and the officer issued a 15-day notice to obtain licenses for the dogs.
Based on what the officer recognized to be an overpowering odor of feces and urine coming from within the residence, they requested the owner’s permission to enter the residence and check on the number of animals being kept in the residence. The owner refused.
Based on the inconsistencies between the resident’s statements, the reported information, the observations of the officer, the concern for the health and welfare of any animals in the residence, as well as for the public health in general for the residential area of the residence, the City Building Inspector served an inspection warrant on the residence on Nov. 5, 2018.
Over a dozen large garbage bags full of feces and bedding were located stacked just inside the back door of the residence, and an extensive system of animal cages were located in the basement of the home.
An officer accompanying the building inspector on the inspection observed 3 dogs, 3 cats, 2 ferrets, 21 rabbits, 90 guinea pigs, 5 mice, 3 rats, 3 quail, and 6 button quail being kept within the home.
The Washington County Humane Society was contacted and responded and filled two transport vans with the animals located inside the residence after being surrendered by the owner.
The owner has been issued-15 day notices to obtain a fancier’s permit to lawfully possess that number of dogs and cats in a single residence.
The owner is also being cited for Obstructing an Officer for their false statements regarding the number of animals when the primary officer attempted to investigate the matter, for municipal violations of ordinances regarding the storage and disposition of manure, the Keeping of Animals within the City, and for Failure to Provide Proper Shelter ventilation for the animals in their basement.
The owner is also being required to clean the residence and submit to a re-inspection by the building inspector.
The animals are being checked by the Humane Society staff and they will be placed for adoption.