The 22 dogs seized from a Racine couple last week are being returned to the dog rescue where the woman served as president.
Terry Bogard, 63, and Heather Jensen, 33, were charged last week with 26 misdemeanor counts of mistreating animals — intentional or negligent violation. If convicted on all charges, the couple faces up to 19 years, six months in prison and/or fines up to $260,000.
The couple volunteered for Lucky Mutt dog rescue. Jensen served as the president of the organization until she was relieved of her duties after the Racine Police Department, City of Racine Health Department and the Wisconsin Humane Society removed the animals, according to their Facebook page.
A post appeared Tuesday afternoon on the Lucky Mutts Facebook page announcing that the rescue will be getting the dogs back. It is not clear who wrote the post.
“Many of you, our wonderful supporters, have been waiting patiently to hear what is going to happen to our dogs as Lucky Mutts moves forward. We are pleased to announce that we will be picking our dogs up this week,” the post reads.
Angela Speed, spokesperson for the Wisconsin Humane Society, confirmed Tuesday that WHS turn dogs over to the rescue.
“They’ve provided ownership documentation for 22 of the 24 dogs, and they are the rightful owners of those dogs. Lucky Mutts is not surrendering the dogs to our care and has requested the return of the dogs,” she said in an email. “Because Heather Jensen was charged as an individual (not Lucky Mutts), the 22 dogs must legally be returned to Lucky Mutts.”
The Humane Society is working with representatives from Lucky Mutts to collect the dogs from all three WHS locations; Milwaukee, Racine and Ozaukee. Speed said WHS offered to take ownership of the dogs and administer their care and adoptions, but Lucky Mutts “declined that offer,” Speed added.
Lucky Mutts has incurred over $5,700 in veterinary care bills from WHS thus far, the organization’s post continues, and they are asking for donations to help cover it.
“The Humane Society has billed us $5700 so far for the boarding of our dogs. While we have the funds to cover this bill, it would significantly impact our rescue’s financial stability. If you can find it in your heart to help us financially, we would greatly appreciate it.”
Reaction was swift on both sides of the issue, with some questioning the logic of returning the dogs to Lucky Mutts and others supporting the organization’s choice.
“This organization has proven it is unable to care or provide for the animals under their supervision. The actions of the former President, Heather Jensen are deplorable and call into question Lucky Mutt’s abilities as an organization to oversee the health and living conditions of each of these deserving animals,” Jessica Hensley wrote.
But Teresa Rasmussen blames Jensen and not the rescue itself for the situation.
“Lucky Mutts Rescue saved my dog from being killed, along with hundreds of others. Should they stop saving these dogs that need saving because of one person?” she wrote. “I back up Lucky Mutts Rescue 100 percent for not giving up … and not hiding because of one person’s stupidity.”
According to Speed, the dogs cannot legally be housed at Jensen’s home, and the rescue is asking for potential foster families to step forward if they can help.
If anyone is interested in adopting any of the dogs, they can contact Lucky Mutts Dog Rescue at (262) 260-9715 or http://www.luckymuttsrescue.org.
As for the two dogs that legally belonged to Bogard and Jensen, their situation is still being worked out.
Editor Heather Asiyanbi contributed to this story.