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Red Wing woman faces animal cruelty, child endangerment charges

Dianna Lyng

A Red Wing woman faces child endangerment and animal cruelty charges after authorities took seven dogs and 19 cats from her 814 West Ave. home this spring.

Dianna Fay Lyng, 41, was booked into the Goodhue County Adult Detention Center June 25. She was formally charged with one count of child endangerment and two counts of overwork/mistreat animals -- as well as animal waste and licensing violations -- in a court complaint filed April 30.

According to that complaint, a friend of Lyng's daughter reported poor living conditions in Lyng's home March 3. A responding officer noticed a strong smell of dog and cat feces as he walked toward the front door. The odor became "quite overwhelming" once the front door was opened, the complaint states.

At that time, Lyng would not let the officer in the home, but told him that there are six dogs and seven cats -- as well as her 12-, 17- and 18-year-old children -- living in the house.

A search warrant was executed March 27, the complaint states. Police detectives and representatives from the Goodhue County Humane Society, wearing protective suits, entered the home and could hear "several dogs barking and cats meowing." They also found several piles of animal feces behind furniture, on countertops and throughout the home.

Animal control officers noted that there were several empty food dishes and only small amounts of water for the animals. They also found three litter boxes -- all filled with feces -- in the home.

Six full-grown dogs, one puppy, five cats and 14 kittens were taken to the Goodhue County Humane Society. The dogs were either undernourished or overweight, had overgrown nails and loose teeth and matted hair. Several of the cats had head injuries caused by head shaking and scratching due to severe ear mites. Some of the kittens had broken tails caused by trauma or malnourishment.

Veterinarians concluded that the animals had all been neglected by not getting sufficient food or potable water and they showed a lack of proper veterinary care, the complaint states.

Lyng told officers that people keep dropping animals off at the home and that family members couldn't take them to the humane society because they can't afford the $75 surrender fee, the complaint says. She said she and her husband, Robert Lyng, have been trying to find other homes for the animals using ads in the newspaper. Lyng also stated in the complaint that she must get rid of the animals because she has pancreatitis and that she was about to get a feeding tube put in.

In addition to the animal problems, authorities also noticed that there was no insulation or sheetrock in an upstairs bedroom, exposed wiring in the living room ceiling and that they could see through the upstairs floor. They found several television tubes -- which could contain lead and other hazardous chemicals -- had been improperly dumped in the back yard, the complaint states.

A representative from Goodhue County Public Health stated that he was concerned for the welfare of the children due to "ongoing lead exposure that may be in the home."

Lyng will make her first court appearance Sept. 19.

Sarah Gorvin
Sarah Gorvin has been with the Republican Eagle for two years and covers education, business and crime and courts. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2010 with a  journalism degree.