3 people charged after 36 dogs seized, dozens more found dead in freezer

SHEBOYGAN COUNTY (WITI) -- It's been more than three months since 36 dogs were seized from a kennel in the Town of Wilson, Sheboygan County. Now, three adults have been charged on dozens of counts of mistreating the animals.

38-year-old Christie Tuchel has been charged with the following:

  • Mental harm to a child, as party to a crime (one count)
  • Mistreatment of animals, as party to a crime (one count)
  • Failure to provide proper food and drink to confined animals, as party to a crime (36 counts)

31-year-old Anthony Keyport has been charged with the following:

  • Mental harm to a child, as party to a crime (one count)
  • Mistreatment of animals, as party to a crime (one count)
  • Failure to provide proper food and drink to confined animals, as party to a crime (36 counts)

20-year-old Breanna Mikula have been charged with the following:

  • Mistreatment of animals, as party to a crime (one count)
  • Failure to provide proper food and drink to confined animals, as party to a crime (36 counts)

According to a criminal complaint, the kennel is owned by Christie Tuchel, and her significant other, Anthony Keyport. The Town of Wilson revoked the permit for the kennel in 2014, resulting in the kennel no longer having a license to sell dogs. The Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office was also contacted about the kennel multiple times with many prior visits and inspections of the property.

6 PHOTOS
36 dogs seized, dozens more found dead in freezer
See Gallery
36 dogs seized, dozens more found dead in freezer
Charges have been filed after dozens of dogs were found dead in a nonfunctioning freezer at a Wisconsin kennel and more animals were found mistreated.
Charges have been filed after dozens of dogs were found dead in a nonfunctioning freezer at a Wisconsin kennel and more animals were found mistreated.
Charges have been filed after dozens of dogs were found dead in a nonfunctioning freezer at a Wisconsin kennel and more animals were found mistreated.
Charges have been filed after dozens of dogs were found dead in a nonfunctioning freezer at a Wisconsin kennel and more animals were found mistreated.
Charges have been filed after dozens of dogs were found dead in a nonfunctioning freezer at a Wisconsin kennel and more animals were found mistreated.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The criminal complaint states the sheriff's office received a tip on June 28th, that the dogs may not be getting enough food and water -- including reports of dead dogs being in a freezer at the kennel.

Authorities executed a search warrant on June 29th, reporting the property was rundown with dilapidated items and large rodents all around. Officials found wood shavings in the dog pens were soiled with urine and feces, and pens had heavy gauge wire exposed. One dog had its paw caught on fencing along the bottom of a kennel, which had to be pulled free.

Law enforcement located two chest-sized freezers on the property. They were not functioning. Inside, officials say both were "filled to the top" with deceased, decomposing dogs. The deceased dogs were found in garbage bags or dog food bags. There were a total of 31 to 40.

With the assistance of the Sheboygan County Humane Society (SCHS), 36 live, adult dogs were removed from the property. They were underweight, their hair was matted, and all had ear infections and dental disease. All but two of the dogs tested positive for worms.

Officials interviewed a 16-year-old boy who worked at the kennel. He told investigators Tuchel had not been helping at all with the kennel stating, "she could not go anywhere near the kennel or it would trigger her PTSD." The teen told investigators Tuchel was last at the kennel around two years ago, when they had a liquidation sale and got rid of 40 or 50 dogs. The worker said Keyport helped at the kennel, but stopped when he and Tuchel had a baby. Thereafter, the complaint states it was up to the 16-year-old boy to feed and care for the dogs.

The 16-year-old told investigators prior to the kennel losing its license in 2014, they were able to buy food on a daily basis for the dogs -- usually 200 pounds per day. However, getting dog food later went down to every other day and then on again and off again with the decision to buy food being up to Tuchel and Keyport.

The teen worker said Breanna Mikula, would drop food off "from time to time," but not often. The last time she brought food was approximately one month ago -- and it wasn't much -- "only like 40 pounds." The teen recalled a day when he could only give the dogs a "small, pink measuring cup of food rather than a big scoop full." He said "that day sucked."

The criminal complaint states the 16-year-old told investigators his Tuchel and Mikula would tell him to feed the dogs less, especially on days they had to ration food. He also said he would give the dogs water even on days when they did not have food. He added they blamed him for dogs dying of starvation as well as the filthy condition of the kennels. The teen stated the family was struggling with money, which is when they did not have food for the dogs. However, he said at the same time Tuchel would spend money to get her hair done.

The 16-year-old worker described another incident to investigators that happened in February 2017, when one of the dogs got out of its kennel, attempted to dig through a wall, hit a water line and flooded the kennel. The criminal complaint states the incident caused six of the dogs to drown. The teen told investigators the dogs should be in a freezer at the kennel, "along with a few other dogs that died of starvation." When asked why the dogs were still in the freezer, the 16-year-old worker replied "they are too (expletive) lazy to get a digger in and bury them."

The teen also shared with investigators that prior to any inspection request from the sheriff's office, they would work to clean up the kennel and take any unhealthy dogs out and hide them. The 16-year-old worker said the unhealthy dogs would be hidden either in the house or a vehicle that would be driven around until officials left the property.

Authorities interviewed 20-year-old Breanna Mikula, who told investigators she had been to the kennel on June 28th to feed and water the dogs. She stated when she saw the condition of the kennel, "she was upset because it was in such poor condition from when she saw it last." When asked about the dogs in the freezer, she said it was a practice, but not common, to put deceased dogs in the freezer and then take them to a vet to find the cause of death. Investigators say Mikula blamed her 16-year-old brother, who she said should have been caring for the dogs.

The teen worker told officials he became very depressed due to the stress of taking care of the dogs and believed he had PTSD. He stated Tuchel explained how taking care of the dogs would make him "big and strong and so attractive." The PTSD, he said, was from other things that have happened, including Tuchel telling him how he makes her want to kill herself. The teen stated Tuchel and Mikula would threaten he'd lose everything if he said anything to anyone in regard to the kennel.

The 16-year-old worker said he loved the dogs, but hated that they had them.

FOX6 News met with the dogs a little more than a week after they were seized, where they were on the mend and doing much better.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.