According to the Leader-Telegram, Eagles running back Bryce Brown is having his dogs returned to him from Wisconsin after they were involved in an illegal dog-fighting ring.
Eilis, one of 27 dogs seized on May 21 from a rural Fall Creek property, is returning to her owner — Philadelphia Eagles running back Bryce Brown, along with the animal’s seven puppies.
Eau Claire County Judge Michael Schumacher Friday ordered the dog and her litter be returned to Brown, but he didn’t take any action concerning the 19 other dogs, mainly pit bulls, which remain in the custody of the Eau Claire County Humane Association.
Joseph A. Sudbrink was arrested and charged with mistreating animals and operating as a dog breeder without a license.
Sudbrink was arrested Friday — between hearings in front of Judge Paul Lenz and then Schumacher — on preliminary charges of mistreating animals and operating as a dog breeder without a license, and a criminal investigation is continuing, said Sarra Kiaie, assistant district attorney.
Earlier in the day, Lenz ordered the dogs be returned to Sudbrink within five business days — or by the end of the day July 8 — unless a criminal complaint is issued with reasonable grounds to believe he has mistreated the animals.
In a petition he filed May 28 seeking the return of the dogs, Sudbrink said he thinks the animals were removed because Bekah Weitz, the humane officer for the Eau Claire County Humane Association, believed they were fighting dogs.
During the hearing in Schumacher’s courtroom Friday, Weitz said one of her concerns regarding the animals was they were being trained for fighting. When the dogs were seized, she saw scarring on seven animals.
Some of the dogs also had contracted ringworm and possibly other skin issues, said Weitz, noting she was concerned about the conditions they were being kept in. The animals were living in substandard housing — houses without bottoms — in moist conditions.
It sounds like Brown had no idea what Sudbrink was doing with the dogs.
Brown, who did not appear in court Friday, purchased Eilis in 2010, and the dog has been a pet, according to an affidavit. He sent her to Northland Pits for stud services in February. After a week, she was returned to Brown in Wichita, Kansas.
Shortly before the birth of her puppies, Eilis returned to Northland Pits, where Sudbrink offered to whelp and wean the pups for Brown, who knew little about that, according to the affidavit. The dog and her puppies were seized, along with the others, when a search warrant was executed on May 21.
It’s sad that Brown trusted Sudbrink to take care of his dogs and he turned out to be a criminal.