WAUSAU (WAOW) - After repeated warnings late last year, a 40-year-old Eland farmer failed to properly care for his 48 cattle, horses and chickens, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.
Lance Rogalla is charged with six misdemeanors - three counts of failure to provide food and water to confined animals, two counts of improper animal shelter sanitation and one count of intentional failure to provide shelter to some horses in the extreme cold - in incidents Dec. 28.
Each charge carries a maximum punishment of nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Rogalla and a woman at the farm were warned Nov. 29 to clean up the barn and make sure the animals had food and water after a veterinarian checked the property and advised it looked bad from the road but the animals were not in any danger, the complaint said.
"Deputies have been dispatched to this residence several times in the past month for animal welfare checks," the complaint said.
About a month later, sheriff's deputies went to the farm again on an anonymous report that the animals were without food or water as below-zero cold engulfed central Wisconsin, the complaint said.
That led to another veterinarian inspecting the farm, the complaint said.
"The conditions in the facility do not meet the definition of humane care and treatment," Dr. Thomas Albrecht of Athens Veterinary Service wrote in a report.
The two horses had no food or shelter, the 28 chickens had no water service available and "the small group of cattle had almost no feed and what was there was mixed with rotten feed," Albrecht wrote.
The cattle also had no water available and the condition of the pen provided no place for them to lie down or get any protection from the extreme cold, the veterinarian reported.
The day deputies went to the farm the temperature was four below zero and neither Rogalla or the woman were home, the complaint said.
All the animals were removed from the farm and Albrecht looked at them more closely the next day at a holding facility, determining that one horse with the "poorer body condition" suffered from a respiratory condition called COPD, the complaint said.
No date has been set for Rogalla to make his first court appearance, according to online Marathon County court records.