WILKIN COUNTY, Minn. (FOX 9) - A 30-year-old woman faces several felony charges for animal neglect in Wilkin County after two dogs were found dead inside a garage with horrible living conditions.
On June 18, Wilkin County deputies arrived at 30-year-old Michelle Karch’s property in Foxhome after a woman reported seeing two dead dogs and one still alive inside Karch’s garage. When deputies looked inside the building, it had a "strong odor of urine and feces," according to the criminal complaint.
Authorities located a dog who was "skin and bones" lying on the garage floor and appeared to have died recently, the complaint states.
While searching the garage, deputies located the remains of a second dog, consisting of only a skull. The dog's jaw bone had chew marks on it, and what appeared to be dog fur next to it. Authorities suggest the dog was "cannibalized by others."
The skull was believed to be of a dog belonging to the woman who alerted authorities to the animal abuse. The woman said she dropped her border collie at Karch’s home four months ago to be looked after. Karch told her the dog ran away but recently came back, which is when the woman stopped by the home and saw the dead dogs, according to court documents.
Karch later told police she told the woman her dog ran away because she "didn’t have the heart" to tell her the dog was dead, according to the criminal complaint.
While searching the garage, authorities located a black dog who was alive but appeared to be malnourished. A deputy said he could feel the dog’s front shoulder blades, ribs and hip bones while petting the dog. The veterinarian said the dog had no muscles around the hip bone, and it took over an hour to groom the dog because of the burs in its coat.
On June 21, a deputy was dispatched to Karch’s home again around 6:10 p.m. after witnesses called saying a dog was left outside on a leash with no food or water. The deputy said he located a dog tied to a tree. One witness reported she saw the dog tied up since 7:00 a.m.
The dog was taken to the vet, and Karch called the deputy later claiming the dog was only outside for a couple of hours.
The following day, law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Karch’s property. When they entered the garage, the dead dog was still in the garage. They noted the garage floor was covered in feces, there was no food or water for the animals, and it was approximately 20 degrees hotter than outside.
A deputy said this was the "most abhorrent conditions" he had seen dogs living in during the 15 years he's been in law enforcement, according to court documents.
Karch was charged with eight counts of mistreating animals. She is scheduled to appear in court on August 2.