Herald JournalWinsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Nov. 4, 2002

Charges of animal cruelty filed against Winsted woman

By Ryan Gueningsman

Eighteen neglected dogs led to charges of animal cruelty being filed against a Winsted woman Oct. 21 after police executed a search warrant at her residence in Westgate.

Claudell Lorraine Grundstrom, 56, was charged with two misdemeanors when police discovered the dogs, two of which were dead, while serving the warrant.

"The city served a blight ordinance on the condition of her property ­ and she had a number of days to comply with that," said Winsted Police Chief Mike Henrich. "The notice was served in person by a police officer because of returned mail."

Grundstrom did not cooperate with getting her property in shape, and a series of events began from there. Police learned that there was a warrant out for her arrest in Carver County.

The Carver County warrant was for failure to comply with payments for a DUI arrest March 21, 2000, a Carver County court assistant said.

Grundstrom was arrested for that warrant ­ and she posted the $270 bail.

"It was at that time we discovered that there were more dogs at that residence than city ordinance allowed," Henrich said.

Winsted's city ordinance states that a residence can have three licensed dogs.

"If you have more than three adult dogs ­ excluding puppies ­ then you're required to get a kennel license," Henrich said.

The police gave Grundstrom three days to take care of the situation. When they returned after the third day, she did not let them into her house and a search warrant was obtained at that time.

"We had to do what we had to do," Henrich said.

The two dead dogs were found inside the residence. Grundstrom also did not have current dog tags for any of her dogs, which ranged "from newborn puppies to all ages."

"The dogs were york terriers ­ a smaller type dog. There was also a chihuahua, but the majority were york terriers," Henrich said.

The dogs were impounded. Some were taken to the Lester Prairie Veterinary Clinic, and others to the Crow River Veterinary Clinic in Hutchinson.

At this point, Grundstrom has the right to a hearing where she can plead her case to a McLeod County judge to regain custody of her dogs. She was given notice she could file for this hearing.

"She has a right within so many days of being served this notice to file for the hearing," Henrich said.

Otherwise, the city is going to seek custody of the dogs. They could be given to a humane society, or they could be put to sleep if homes could not be found for them.

"We've always encouraged people to get their dogs licensed ­ this is the expensive end of going against the city ordinance," Henrich said. "If there are more than three dogs in a house, the cleanliness of the residence ­ this one in particular ­ was in great question, also.

"The biggest penalty she can face is the fact she could lose her dogs ­ there's no doubt she loves her dogs."

The charge for unlicensed dogs is in violation of a city ordinance and could yield a fine of $700 and/or 90 days in jail. The charge of animal cruelty is a state violation and yields a $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail, said Winsted's attorney for this incident, Mike Long of Theis and Long.

"They charged it as a lump sum, not per dog," Henrich said. "They could have charged per dog, but that is not the premise. She needs to be in compliance of the law, and see that the dogs are in a fit place."

Grundstrom does not have a listed phone number and could not be reached for comment.

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