Pine River dog breeder pleads guilty, avoids trial

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The 60-year-old northern Minnesota woman charged in connection with the abuse of 130 dogs pleaded guilty and avoided a trial that was to start Monday, the Brainerd Dispatch reports.

Deborah Beatrice Rowell pleaded guilty to one count of failure to provide dogs with adequate shade, a misdemeanor, the newspaper reports. She was sentenced to pay a $135 fine and serve 90 days in jail, although that time was suspended for one year if she complies with court conditions.

A criminal complaint had been filed after a search warrant was executed on her property July 16 near Pine River found the dogs, including about 30 puppies, living in poor living conditions.

The Cass County Attorney's Office initially filed nine charges related to animal neglect against Rowell. Rowell had pleaded not guilty in August.

The case ended with a relatively happy ending for many of the pooches.

Hundreds of people this weekend lined up at five metro Animal Humane Society shelters to adopt dogs – whose numbers swelled at the shelters because many of the seized animals were pregnant and had litters – the Star Tribune reported. Each dog’s adoption was triumphantly announced on a public address system at the shelter, the newspaper reports.

“They met their great day today, these dogs,” Kristen Healy, one of hundreds of volunteers who spent months socializing the dogs, told WCCO.

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