Weather Forecast


Waupaca judge says wild animals are protected; felony charges remain in deer slaying

A judge in Waupaca says wild animals are protected under Wisconsin's animal cruelty laws.

Because of that, Circuit Judge Philip Kirk will not drop felony charges against one of three men accused of running down deer with their snowmobiles.

Public defender Troy Nielsen said the animal cruelty law demands that a victim belong to somebody like a pet owner.

And since deer belong to no one in particular, he said the most serious charges against Rory Kuenzi, 24, of Weyauwega should be dropped.

But Kirk said other laws make it clear that wild animals should be included.

And when juries are instructed about making verdicts, he says they're told to consider the treatment of any animal in cruel manner.

Nielsen says he's thinking about appealing Kirk's ruling which would hold up Kuenzi's case.

He, his brother, and another man face a host of charges for allegedly killing a half-dozen deer with their snowmobiles on a Waupaca County trail in January.

The two other defendants have also raised the animal cruelty issue before different judges.

Kuenzi is accused of stealing the machine he allegedly used. The next hearing in his case is set for June 9.