ELKHORN — The suspected owner of two dogs found malnourished in a Walmart parking lot on Thanksgiving is facing felony charges of mistreatment of animals.
Jeffery M. Freund, 48, of Elkhorn, has been charged with two felony counts, plus two counts of misdemeanor animal abandonment and one count of obstructing police.
If convicted on all charges, he could face a combined nine years and three months in prison, as well as $50,000 in fines.
The criminal charges filed by the Walworth County district attorney’s office are separate from municipal citations issued against Freund earlier by the village of Delavan, where the dogs were discovered Nov. 28 outside a Walmart.
The two small dogs, named “Dexter” and “Blackberry,” should have weighed 18 to 20 pounds each. But officials say Dexter weighed 9 pounds and Blackberry weighed less than 5 pounds.
According to the district attorney’s criminal complaint, Freund at first told police that he left the dogs in the Walmart parking lot with a woman who agreed to care for them. But he later changed his story, the complaint states, and admitted that he had dumped the dogs in the parking lot.
The two dogs are recovering at the Lakeland Animal Shelter.
Court records show that Freund is due in court Jan. 13 for a preliminary hearing on the charges.