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NYM woman faces animal abuse charges

A New York Mills kennel operator faces nine charges for events that allegedly took place in April and May.

Kathy Jo Bauck, 52, who operates Pick of the Litter Inc. at 51402 410th St., is charged with five counts of animal cruelty, two counts of torture and two counts of practicing veterinary medicine without a license, Otter Tail County District Court documents show.

The charges came after a kennel worker approached authorities and said he saw several instances of animal cruelty at the kennel, County Attorney David Hauser said Wednesday.

The kennel worker, identified in court papers as Jason Smith of the Companion Animal Protection Society, complained to the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department on May 13 and gave investigators video and audio footage he captured with a recorder. He also took photos and video footage of two instances with a cell phone, court papers say.

According to court papers:

- On April 22, Smith said he saw an injured female white American bulldog limping with wounds to both cheeks, with the left side being the worst. Smith said he was directed by Bauck to treat the dog's left cheek with "Clorox water."

Smith obeyed and said the dog kept pulling away as he dabbed the solution on the wound. Smith said that by April 26, the dog's cheek appeared to be infected and was bleeding again.

- On May 10, a pregnant English springer spaniel gave birth to a litter of nine puppies; two died at birth. Bauck told Smith she later treated the puppies' mother with a shot of penicillin/genocin.

- On May 5, Smith said he found a pregnant bichon giving birth to puppies. One was already dead and another was hanging from its umbilical cord. Smith reported the births to Bauck.

Smith said Bauck treated the mother with a shot of calcium sulfate to "aid contractions," then reached inside the mother to pull a puppy out - without washing her hands.

Bauck and two female kennel workers worked to pull more puppies out. The three women used surgical clamps to remove the puppies, which resulted in one puppy's tail being torn off.

Bauck continued to pull tufts of puppy fur from the mother until she allegedly tore the rear leg off the dead puppy. On May 9, the mother dog was found dead in her pen. Her hindquarters were still covered in afterbirth.

This is not the first time Bauck has been accused of these charges.

Bauck pleaded guilty on May 19 to one charge of practicing veterinary medicine without a license. As part of a plea deal, four similar charges and one animal cruelty charge were dismissed.

She served 10 days in jail with 110 days stayed, and was fined $900 and given two years of probation.

The state Board of Veterinary Medicine also took action against Bauck in October 2006. The board ordered Bauck, who has never held a veterinary license, to stop performing surgeries and vaccinating dogs or puppies.

The action was taken after the board determined that Bauck performed neutering, hernia repairs and ear crops on dogs she owned, according to the order signed by Dr. John King, the board's executive director.

King could not be reached for comment Wednesday. It's unknown how the latest charges will affect Bauck's probation.

Hauser doesn't know if other kennel workers will face similar charges.

Several calls to the kennel and Bauck's residence were not answered on Wednesday.

Bauck made an initial court appearance on the latest charges Monday, Hauser said. She is slated for a probation hearing Monday.