Animal abuse leads to prison time for serial abuser

Serial animal abuser is sentenced to one-year in prison after repeated acts of extreme animal cruelty and probation violations.

A serial animal abuser, Kathleen Doenz, was sentenced to hard time due to repeated violations of gross animal abuse. She was first investigated for animal abuse in 2004. She was charged with 83 criminal counts, including failing to provide adequate shelter and water to horses and dogs. In 2006, she took a plea deal that convicted her of four counts of animal cruelty. She was ordered to pay $6,300 in restitution and fined $900, placed on two years of probation and prohibited from owning any more animals.

Specific orders, like a prohibition against owning animals, are common stipulations enforced by judges. For example, it is very common for computer hackers to be prohibited from owning computers or accessing the Internet.

Lenient plea deals are typical for animal cruelty charges. Animal cruelty is not a priority for police, prosecutors or judges when there is an overwhelming amount of human on human crimes. Unfortunately, the plea deal did not deter Ms. Doenz as she re-offended in 2013.

After several months of investigation, the Pine County Sheriff’s Office served warrants on Ms. Doenz and her mother, Gloria Carlson, to search several of their properties. The investigators found dogs, cats, horses, ducks and chickens deprived of food, shelter and water living in squalor. Several of the animals were euthanized due to their poor health.

Both women were charged with five felonies, five gross misdemeanors and four misdemeanors related to animal cruelty, abuse and neglect. Ms. Doenz pleaded guilty to one felony charge, all others were dismissed. She served 90 days in jail, was put on five years of probation and a second order to refrain from owning animals was entered against her.

Within two weeks of her release, she acquired 29 mini-horses. She also violated her probation twice more the following month. Ms. Doenz was re-arrested and the court sentenced her to one-year in prison.

According to Max A. Keller, a Minneapolis defense attorney, “Animal abuse charges rarely result in felony charges or hard time. Only in the most extreme cases, like Ms. Doenz, is there a possibility serious punishment.”

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Knowing how to choose a criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, can help you hire a lawyer who will prepare an effective defense strategy and fight for the best result from your case. One of the crucial tips when selecting a criminal defense lawyer is to vet those with relevant experience in cases like yours. You can only do this when you thoroughly understand the charges you are facing.
People anticipating an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, might ask, “What is the role of a defense attorney during an arrest?” A skilled criminal defense attorney can explain your options, ensure the police follow the rules, and protect your rights. The attorney will build a solid defense, talk to the prosecutor, and fight for your best interests.
Knowing when to hire a criminal lawyer for your case in Minnesota can help protect your constitutional rights and turn the odds in your favor. You should retain a criminal lawyer immediately after learning you are under investigation, get arrested, or are charged with a crime. Seasoned criminal lawyers understand the criminal justice system, can build a winning defense strategy, and aggressively push for a positive outcome of your case.