NFL player, Fall Creek dog breeder say they're the victims after dogs seized

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

FALL CREEK, Wisc. (WEAU) - An NFL player and a Fall Creek dog breeder said their dogs were wrongfully taken away.

Joseph Sudbrink of Fall Creek was arrested Friday for cruelty to animals.
Twenty-seven dogs were taken from the dog breeder's home in May, and eight of those dogs belonged to Philadelphia Eagles running back Bryce Brown.

Both brown and Sudbrink said they are the victims in this case.

They claim the Eau Claire county humane association took away their dogs with little evidence of any wrong doing.

According to Sudbrink's lawyer and court documents, the humane association claims Sudbrink mistreated the dogs, calling them ‘fighting dogs’ and found scars.

Brown brought his dog Eilis to Sudbrink to be bred for puppies for family and friends.

“Because Mr. Brown wasn't familiar with how to welp and wean puppies, Mr. Sudbrink offered to do that for him because he was more experienced with those types of things,” Brown's lawyer, Sheila Kessler, who primarily deals with animal cases, said.

She said the humane association unnecessarily separated the puppies from their mother after finding ringworm. She said the puppies were then bottle fed and one died.

On Friday, a judge ordered Brown's dogs be returned to him, and that all the other dogs must be returned to Sudbrink if a complaint isn't filed by July 8.

Kessler said Brown has gotten unfair attention regarding the case, with a negative perception stemming from his teammate, Michael Vick's past.

Vick was convicted of dogfighting in 2007, and served an 18-month prison sentence.

Brown tweeted Sunday that he's never been involved in dog fighting.
He goes on to say that he and Northland pits are the target of anti-breeding groups.

“If football players are not permitted to own this particular breed without having some prejudicial connotation applied to that, we have a serious problem,” Kessler said.

Northland Pits posted this statement on its website:

“Northland Pits has absolutely nothing to do with animal cruelty, or dog fighting. These allegations are absolutely absurd, and ridiculous. This is simply another case of the humane society trying to shut down another breeder. This stuff happens all of the time and is completely unjust. Since these articles have come out another breeder from my state has contacted me stating they have been targeted as well. On top of that an additional breeder said a department of agriculture an humane society employee were found trespassing taking photos and video of their facility without a search warrant. One of them flat out said " we're going to shut down every breeder in Wisconsin."

The humane association and its attorney declined to comment.

Sudbrink was also accused of operating without a license, which his attorney said would only result in a fine, not a seizure of dogs.

Sudbrink hasn't been charged in the case.

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