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Another court date set for Washington Co. man facing 10 misdemeanor animal neglect charges

May 9, 2023 – Town of Wayne, WI – Russell Quaas, 67, from the Town of Wayne will be back in Washington County Circuit Court on August 16, 2023, for another plea hearing. Quaas is facing 10 misdemeanor charges following allegations of mistreatment of animals stemming from a Washington County Sheriff’s Office investigation that resulted in 34 dogs being seized from a property on Hwy D in late January.

Quaas animal

Quaas appeared Monday with his attorney in Judge Sandra Giernoth’s court. Quaas’s attorney asked for time to have “his experts” examine the dogs. Prosecuting attorney Jeanette Corbett offered no comment, and another plea hearing date was set for August 18, 2023, at 1:15 p.m.

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The dogs removed from the property on CTH D where Quaas lives in a trailer, were taken in by the Washington County Humane Society.

There were about five people in attendance at the court appearance who were advocating for the animals.

Questions were asked by people in attendance about how an examination of the dogs would be conducted, since the animals have now been successfully adopted from the Humane Society. There were also questions about how the dogs now are not the same as they were five months ago when they were first rescued from “inadequate” living conditions.

Calls have been placed to the Washington County Humane Society for its input on the health of the animals.

While the case of animal mistreatment is going on, there’s also another case involving the same players as officials in the Town of Wayne have questions regarding the legality of Quaas living in a trailer on a property owned by Steven Proeber. This is the property on CTH D where the Washington County Sheriff rescued the dogs.

A search of Wisconsin Circuit Court records shows cases and files dating back to 1986. In that case the Department of Revenue filed a delinquent tax warrant against Steven Proeber.

In October 2019 according to Wisconsin Circuit Court records the Town of Wayne filed 129 statute violations against property owner Steven Proeber. Most of the violations were issued as Accumulation of Equipment. Proeber was issued a fine of $19,062.70 in Judge Giernoth’s court. Proeber pled guilty to all but two of the charges which were tied to a temporary mobile home and parking of recreational vehicles.

Below is one entry from a court appearance in July 2021.

According to the Town of Wayne, the efforts to rectify the situation with the Proeber property on CTH D have cost them over $40,000 in attorney fees.

On August 2022, the State Bank of Newburg filed a foreclosure of mortgage against Proeber, two other family members, the Town of Wayne and Russell Quaas.

Since August 2022, court records show 13 entries/court appearances dating to May 2023.  The case is still in the system.

 

On April 3, 2023 Quaas appeared before Judge Giernoth and pled not guilty to the animal mistreatment charges.

According to a release from the Washington County Sheriff, Quaas was believed to be operating a non-licensed dog breeding business out of a property in the Town of Wayne. We have taken several complaints in the past about dogs barking and the living conditions on the property, however charges could not be substantiated. The latest investigation began when sheriff’s deputies received an anonymous complaint about dogs being tied to trees and not having proper shelter.

While investigating that report, Quaas was warned about having more than the allowable three dogs permitted by town ordinance. Several days later deputies returned with a town official to provide Quaas with a letter notifying him of the alleged violations. That particular day, the wind chills were well below zero. At that time deputies observed numerous dogs tied to trees and appeared to have inadequate shelter, food, and water. Washington County Sheriff’s investigators obtained a search warrant based on probable cause of the mistreatment of animals.

Murphy & Prachthauser

The property did not have running water or electricity and most of the dogs resided outside. Some of the dogs were found inside a camper trailer. In many cases, their short leashes did not allow them free movement within their shelter. A small amount of dog food was located on the property however it appeared as if the dogs were mainly provided leftover pizza from a local carry-out chain and frozen moldy animal carcasses.

Workers with the Washington County Humane Society worked alongside investigators to document and seize 34 dogs in total. All but one of the dogs that were seized were Jack Russell Terriers of varying ages.

Investigators also consulted with a doctor from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture who agreed that the animals were not provided with adequate shelter, food, or water under Wisconsin laws. Since January 31, all the dogs have been cared for at the Washington County Humane Society. Several of the dogs required medical attention, however, they have all survived.

Sheriff Martin Schulteis said, “Seizing this number of dogs puts an incredible logistical and financial strain on an animal shelter and we appreciate all of the work they have done in assisting our investigation and in caring for these dogs.

This property has been of concern for some time within our community and through partnerships, with the Washington County Humane Society, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, and the Washington County District Attorney’s Office we have been able to take steps toward finding a permanent solution.”

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