Former Orphan Kanines owner Debra Gray will still face 171 counts of animal cruelty provided the state can file an amended complaint attaching specific animals to each count.
Gray and her attorney, Alex Flynn, appeared before Racine County Circuit Court Judge Wayne Marik Monday to argue that the state’s amended complaint against Gray should be dismissed.
On May 28, Caledonia police seized 63 dogs, 8 cats and a pig from the Orphan Kanines kennel at 1922 Kremer Avenue. They took another 12 dogs and a second pig from a residence Gray owns on Main Street in the village.
Gray was arrested and charged with 85 misdemeanor counts of intentional mistreatment of animals and 1 count of operating an animal shelter without a license. A couple of weeks later the state filed an amended complaint with 85 misdemeanor counts of intentionally providing inadequate shelter to an animal.
Since then, all animals who were deemed healthy enough have been adopted into new homes.
Flynn asked the court to dismiss the amended complaint, saying the additional counts not only duplicate and contradict the original charges and, without a specific animal tied to each charge, he can’t mount a defense of his client.
“The problem is that the amended complaint does not articulate the who, what, where and when as required,” he said. “The state is using one set of facts for every animal that may have suffered injury. I’m guessing what the state is doing, but I can’t form a defense (without specifics).”
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Steenrod told the judge he could provide a matched list but would need some time to do so.
Marik denied Flynn’s motion to dismiss but did say that if the case goes to trial he could see how a jury would be unable to come to a unanimous decision without having the name or description of a specific animal match each of the charges against Gray.
“I am satisfied that a dismissal is not an appropriate form of relief in this case,” he said. “I do agree that each count should be tied to a specific animal or it’s impossible for the defense to move forward and a jury to accurately decide the merits of the case.”
Steenrod was given 45 days to file an amended complaint tying specific animals to each charge against Gray. A status conference is scheduled for Dec. 22 at 2:30 p.m.