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Jury deliberates on alleged puppy mill case

Pierce County District Attorney Sean Froelich points to a photograph Oct. 25, 2017, during closing arguments in the jury trial of Stuart West, who is charged with 125 counts related to treatment of dogs in 2016. Michael Brun / RiverTown Multimedia

ELLSWORTH — Jurors began deliberating Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 25, in the case of a rural Elmwood man charged with 125 misdemeanor counts related to treatment of Labradors at his Alma Bottom Pointing Labs facility.

“This case all comes down to real basics,” Pierce County District Attorney Sean Froelich said Wednesday during closing arguments. “Food, shelter, water, air and the treatment these Labradors received.”

Froelich highlighted photographic evidence and testimony from a veterinarian the state claims prove Stuart Earl West mistreated four dozen dogs found on his property in 2016.

Defense attorney Keith Belzer said that while West’s beliefs on raising dogs may be controversial, they are not criminal. He also called into question the bias of members of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals who testified during the trial.

Belzer suggested jurors look at the facts of the case devoid of feelings.

Pierce County deputies executed a search warrant April 22, 2016, at West's property after a prospective dog buyer called in a complaint following a visit to the facility. Authorities seized 48 yellow Labradors.

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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