It Matters to One operator won’t face criminal charges
But animal rescue license still suspended
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
Following a settlement in the civil case involving the It Matters to One animal rescue shelter in Sugar Camp, where 39 dogs were seized Feb. 6 by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department and then turned over to the county Humane Society in response to an investigation into allegations of animal neglect, county assistant district attorney Mary Sowinski has announced no criminal charges are being filed against the facility’s co-founder and operator, Stephanie Schneider.
Schneider was arrested and subsequently released from custody in February following the seizure, but never was formally charged. The sheriff’s department had accused Schneider of failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals and obstructing law enforcement.
It Matters to One stated on its Facebook page in response to no charges being filed that the allegations against the shelter were false.
When Sowinski was reached for comment Tuesday, she said the decision not to file criminal charges against Schneider at this time was appropriate based on the evidence and law, though she didn’t go into detail.
Sowinski noted the dogs seized from It Matters to One that remain at the county Humane Society are available for adoption.
In the civil matter, an agreement was approved May 25 by Judge Michael H. Bloom to dismiss It Matters to One’s motion seeking a return of the dogs and the Humane Society’s motion seeking boarding fees from It Matters to One for the dogs that were seized.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, which was involved in the investigation that led to the dogs being seized from It Matters to One, suspended the facility’s shelter license with the stated purpose to protect the health, safety and welfare of dogs.
Colin Benell, an animal inspector with DATCP, testified April 25 in the civil case about It Matters to One not conforming to the state administrative code for licensed animal shelters, such as having dog feces that had not been removed for several days. He noted the accumulation of feces has the potential of transferring diseases and parasites.
DATCP spokesperson Raechelle Belli said It Matters to One’s license to operate as an animal shelter remains suspended because the facility must be reinspected to determine it meets the conditions required in the license.
“We have attempted on numerous occasions to reach out to them, to see if (Schneider) wants to reinstate her license, and we have received no returned phone calls about that,” Belli said.
According to It Matters to One’s Facebook page, there are “some more facility upgrades yet to do that will ensure there are no future issues.”