Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Kiron woman who deprived more than 90 dogs of food and water on her farmstead early this year will serve 44 days in jail, under a plea agreement a judge approved this month.

Mary J. Brodersen, 45, faced a total of 93 animal-neglect charges for the 87 dogs, five dead pups and one cat a sheriff’s deputy discovered in late January in a wooden shed on the woman’s acreage northeast of Kiron.

The animals were crammed into cages without food, water or heat for an unspecified amount of time. The cages were stacked, and many of the dogs were covered with urine and feces.

The five criminal charges for the dead pups were each punishable by up to one year in jail, but they were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Brodersen, a former dog breeder, pleaded guilty on Aug. 3 to 44 less-severe neglect charges and agreed to one day in jail for each charge.

She must also repay about $25,000 that Sac County paid to remove and rehabilitate the animals, County Attorney Ben Smith said. The dogs were dispersed to six animal shelters in Iowa.

“For some people, anything short of her execution will not be sufficient” punishment, he said, “but the dogs are alive, they’re in good homes, she spends some time in jail and has to pay us back.

“I think she loved those dogs, but not in the way that most people do.”

Stacey Vonnahme, of Animal Rescue of Carroll, which helped remove the dogs from Brodersen’s acreage and found new homes for six dogs and four pups born after the removal, said she hopes Brodersen’s punishment will be a deterrent to other potential animal abusers.

“It’s a good thing that she got some jail time,” Vonnahme said. “I didn’t expect her to spend her life in prison, but she also could have gotten off with a slap on the wrist.”

A sheriff’s deputy discovered the animals in January when he tried to serve Brodersen notice of an unrelated civil lawsuit.

A house on the property appeared to be vacant, according to court records that listed Brodersen as a resident of Denison. But Brodersen claimed in her application for a court-appointed attorney that she lives on the Kiron acreage.

It’s unclear how long the animals were without food and water.