Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that charges against Catherine Severin have been dropped.
By Shereen Siewert
Two people are facing felony charges after police removed six dogs, including the body of one animal discovered dead in a barrel, from a Marathon County home earlier this month.
William Hannahs, 54, and Catherine Severin, 66, both of Eland, face felony charges filed March 17 in Marathon County Circuit Court of mistreatment of animals causing death. Misdemeanor charges of intentionally failing to provide food and shelter for animals were also filed against both suspects.
Charges against Severin were later dropped.
A Marathon County deputy on Feb. 14 responded to an anonymous complaint at a residence in on County Road OO requesting a welfare check on several outdoor dogs. When police arrived, they found seven live dogs and several cats at the residence, which is owned by Hannahs. Six of the dogs were kept outdoors, according to the police report.
Police say six of the dogs were only given small blue plastic barrels without hay or straw to shelter in, and one of the six died prior to the deputy’s arrival. One dog had knocked its blue barrel out of place and could not access any shelter at all, according to the police report, while another had badly matted hair with a body score of two on a nine-point scale. On the day of the deputy’s investigation, the wind chill was about -30 degrees.
Those five dogs, all of which had “very low” body scores and two of which had frostbite on the tips of their ears, were taken to the Humane Society of Marathon County, while the deceased dog was taken to a veterinary hospital for a necropsy.
After their initial appearances on March 17, both Hannahs and Severin were ordered not to possess or care for any animals. They are both free on $2,000 signature bonds, with pretrial conferences set for the end of April.
Mugshots were not on file for either suspect when requested.