Animal shelter owner charged with mistreatment of animals

By: Olga Michail Email
By: Olga Michail Email
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TOWN OF UNION, Wis. (WEAU) -- About 20 animals have been rescued from a local shelter after the owner has been accused of providing improper animal shelter sanitation standards and neglecting the animals.

Teresa Hestekin, 44, of Eau Claire now faces several felony charges of mistreating animals.

Hestekin runs Hestekin Hill Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Services , Inc. in the town of Union, on the west side of Eau Claire.

Two outbuildings on the Soley Lane property housed around 35 dogs and several cats.

The criminal complaint says some kennels housed as many as three dogs, and some were empty. Cases were made of coated and uncoated metal wire and PVC pipe.

Bekah Weitz, the Eau Claire County Humane Officer and a veterinarian who examined the animals say in the complaint that the smell of feces and urine in the buildings was so strong that they suffered from burning sinuses, coughing and watering eyes.

Many kennels had feces accumulating inside.

One dog was found dead in the larger building with its muzzle and eyes in a water bowl. Later, an investigation showed the female Basenji had stomach issues, and with no medical attention became dehydrated to the point of not being able to walk, stand or hold her head up.

The criminal complaint says some of the seized dogs were mutilated. It says lower bones of the digits of a male Japanese Chin were all gone.

Two more dogs rescued from the shelter had broken bones and open sores.

A total of 13 dogs, five cats and two birds were taken into protective custody from the shelter.

The animals are doing well and are now at the Eau Claire County Humane Association.

We did try asking Hestiken about the accusations, but she declined to comment.

She's due in court next month.

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