Dogs returned to Fall Creek breeder after animal abuse investigation

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(WEAU)--After six weeks and an investigation into animal cruelty an NFL player and Chippewa Valley breeder's dogs return home.

Back in May, 27 dogs were taken from Northland Pits in Fall Creek on suspicion that the dogs were being bred to fight and mistreated.

Eight of the dogs seized by an Eau Claire humane association officer belonged to Philadelphia Eagles Running Back Bryce Brown.

No formal animal cruelty charge has been filed against breeder Joseph Sudbrink with Northland Pitts, so under a court order he was free to pick up his dogs Tuesday.

“It's a good day, we have been waiting for this to happen,” Sudbrink said.

He says the last few weeks have been hard on his entire family and he feels targeted as simply because he breeds pit bulls.

“I have never thought about fighting dogs, I find it disturbing. I breed my dogs for family companions first and as working dogs second,” Sudbrink said.

According to court documents, Weitz took 27 dogs from Sudbrink for animal mistreatment. Weitz reported poor living conditions and that seven of the dogs had scars. Court records also show she found spring polls and sticks commonly used to break up dog fights.

"I would not have removed the dogs if I feel there was a reason too,” said Weitz.

Legal Analyst Harry Hertel says Wisconsin Law for crimes against animals is broad and works much like child protection; if abuse is suspected animals are taken from their homes until the allegations can be thoroughly looked at. But he says because it is so broad it is also leaves a lot up for interpretation.

"There are requirements that they have enough room to adequately move around and enough ventilation and enough food or water. But adequate depends on the size of dog or other animal so it is subject to interpretation and there is some uncertainty as to exactly what (the law) it means," Hertel said.

Sudbrink and Bryce Brown’s Lawyer Shelia Kessler say they whether or not formal charges are filed, the damage has already been done.

Bryce and Sudbrink have both been sent negative emails or tweets. Sudbrink says he has also lost clients and dog sales.

"It’s been miserable,” Sudbrink said.

Sudbrink has been charged with operating his breeding business without a proper license, which he says is has since been fixed.