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Animal shelter where 370 pets were seized had 'pluses and minuses'

A Richland County panel was warned last December about possible problems at an animal shelter where 370 pets were seized this week.

Richland County's law enforcement committee was warned last December about shoddy conditions at the private shelter it uses for sending stray pets.

The Thyme and Sage Ranch near Cazenovia had more than 370 dogs and other animals seized this week, and its owner was charged with 16 misdemeanors and civil violations.

The Wisconsin State Journal reviewed minutes of the county's law enforcement panel.

The panel considered two contracting bids last December for handling stray animals, and it chose Jennifer Petkus's shelter for about $750 a month.

But the other bidder, who had the contract several years ago, said she kept getting calls about how bad the conditions were at the Petkus facility.

Committee chairman Larry Wyman said his panel relied on the sheriff's department's evaluation of the site, and it found no significant problems.

Sheriff Darrell Berglin said there were pluses and minuses to both operations, and it was the committee's decision to make.

It chose the Cazenovia facility for a two-year contract.

Petkus is free on a signature bond. She's due back in court next Friday.