June 5, 2013



Lidderdale

An assistant Carroll County attorney asked a judge last week to dismiss criminal charges against two Lidderdale men for allegedly chasing rabbits with dogs, golf carts and fireworks in April due to insufficient "factual basis," according to court records.

Lidderdale Mayor Randy Ayers, 52, and resident Brad Schleisman, 38, were each accused of disorderly conduct for the April 28 incident, in which another resident, Cheryl Printer, reported that she saw a rabbit run through her yard on that Sunday afternoon, followed by two dogs and two golf carts on the street.

Printer said Ayers and his wife rode in one of the carts, and that Schleisman, 38, rode in the other with his wife and two children.

The group cornered a rabbit under a driveway less than a block away and used firecrackers to try to scare the rabbit into a trap, Ayers admitted to a Carroll County sheriff's deputy.

Printer said the group chased other rabbits after.

A trial for the misdemeanor charges - punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $625 fine - was set for June 13, but Erik Howe, an assistant county attorney, asked that the charges be dismissed for the "best interests of justice," he wrote in a court document.

Magistrate Eric Neu dismissed the charges on Friday. Howe did not return a telephone call to comment on the matter.

Under Iowa law, people are guilty of disorderly conduct if they make a "loud and raucous noise in the vicinity of any residence ... which causes unreasonable distress to the occupants thereof."

Printer reported the alleged crime and pushed for criminal charges. She said Howe did not talk to her about the charge dismissals before or after they were approved last week.

"Does he not believe me?" Printer wondered in an interview with the Daily Times Herald. "I don't really have a lot of faith in the system anymore."

Ayers' actions drew universal condemnation from city council members at their meeting last month, but all wanted him to remain at the city's helm.

"He was wrong, 100 percent," Councilman Max Wenck said on May 13. "But he does a lot of good for this community. I don't want to see him resign."

Printer had asked Ayers to resign - which he initially told a sheriff's deputy he would do - but Ayers later reneged on that pledge. Printer said some in her town are angry that she reported the rabbit chase and fireworks.

"This hasn't been easy for me," she said. "Why bother? Why would I want to go through this again?"