Kathleen Doenz's career of official meanness toward animals started in 2004. Officials slapped the Pine County woman with 83 criminal counts. Among the charges: failing to provide water and adequate shelter to horses and dogs.
Doenz copped a plea deal in 2006 and was convicted of four counts of animal cruelty. She was fined $900, ordered to pay $6,300 in restitution, and placed on two years’ probation, according to Pine County District Court records. Doenz was also prohibited from owning any more animals.
Concerned locals again sensed evil unto God's creatures a few years later. Their intuition proved correct. After a months-long investigation in 2013, the Pine County Sheriff’s Office served search warrants on properties owned by Doenz and her mother, 86-year-old Gloria Carlson.
Discovered were dogs, cats, horses, and chickens in deteriorating health, living in squalor. The animals had been deprived of vet care, adequate food and water, even shelter.
The first seizure at a farm northeast of Pine City removed 22 dogs, 14 horses, 84 chickens, and 18 ducks. A second a month later found 15 dogs and 14 horses, of which three had to be euthanized. Many of the dogs were starving and struggled to smell because they had been exposed to so much ammonia from urine.
Both women were charged with five felonies, five gross misdemeanors, and four misdemeanor counts related to animal abuse and neglect.
Doenz pleaded guilty to one felony charge. All other counts were dismissed. The punishment: 90 days in jail, five years' probation, and an order not to get any more animals.
Ten days after being released from jail, however, Doenz acquired 29 mini horses. She'd violate her probation twice more in March, which is how it turned into hard time after the court tired of Doenz's lawbreaking.
Now she's serving what's supposed to be a one-year sentence. But since she's been given credit for 77 days already spent in jail, Doenz's anticipated release date, according to the state Department of Corrections, is September 6.