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Brodhead man pleas in animal neglect case
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MONROE - A Brodhead man charged with neglecting four young calves this winter pleaded not guilty at his initial appearance Monday in Green County Circuit Court.

Chase Austin Klemm, 22, also signed a $2,000 signature bond in the case.

He faces three Class A misdemeanor charges: intentionally mistreating animals, negligently providing improper outdoor animal shelter from inclement weather and failing to provide proper food and drink to confined animals. Each misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.

His next court date is a pre-trial conference May 1. He's being represented by attorney Amanda M. Fields of the Monroe law firm Kittelsen, Barry, Wellington, Thompson and Schluesche, S.C.

The case stems from an investigation Jan. 16 into a report of animal neglect on the land just north of Brodhead where Klemm was keeping calves and a herd of 30-plus beef cattle, according to the criminal complaint.

Green County deputies found four calves outdoors with no water or food and "very limited bedding." The temperatures that day and in the preceding days were well below freezing, with gusty winds and lows in the single digits.

Two of the calves were already dead and frozen stiff to the ground. They "appeared to have been in that state for a length of time," a deputy noted.

The two living calves had signs of frostbite and were so skinny their eyes and bodies had a "sucked-in appearance" that indicated they were dehydrated and had not been fed recently.

"These calves would not survive the night if left uncared for," the deputy wrote in his report.

Klemm was out snowmobiling but eventually returned to the property to meet with deputies that night. He claimed he had been out to feed the four calves twice that day already and all four were alive at the time. The deputies pointed to holes in his claim, telling him the two dead calves appeared to have already been frozen stiff for a while when deputies arrived that afternoon, and the absence of tire or foot tracks in the snow indicated that no one had been on the land since it snowed several days earlier.

Klemm said he bought the calves at Equity Co-op Livestock Sales in Monroe and estimated they were a month old or younger.

The deputies got a search warrant that night and seized all four calves. The two living calves were taken to a nearby farm for care under the approval of the Sheriff's Humane Officer, warmed under a heat lamp and blankets and fed every four to six hours.

One didn't survive the night. The other showed signs of getting stronger but died about a week and a half later.

Necropsies on the four calves showed causes of death included hypothermia, pneumonia, swelling of the kidneys and "lack of receiving the necessary calories that milk supplement would have provided."

As part of the investigation, deputies also checked out Klemm's herd of 30-plus beef cattle on the same land and found them to be healthy and kept in adequate conditions.