The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

January 17, 2014

DeWitt man pleads guilty to animal neglect

By Charlene Bielema
Herald Editor

---- — A DeWitt man has been granted a deferred judgement after pleading guilty to animal neglect that led to the death of a dog early last year.

Jacob Maxwell, 32, was accused of that crime last July based on a report made five months earlier by his estranged wife. According to court documents, Jennifer Maxwell on Feb. 18, 2013, reported to police that one of her dogs had died and the other was malnourished. At the time of the complaint, she said that the Maxwells had separated in early 2012, she had moved to Delmar and Jacob had stayed in their home at 611 Seventh Ave. South in Clinton with the teenage children and two family dogs.

In January 2013, Jacob moved from the home to DeWitt, leaving the two dogs in the house in Clinton, court documents state. Those documents say that Jacob Maxwell said he left the dogs alone at the house in Clinton because he believed Jennifer would be coming to get them in the next week. He said he left extra water and an open 50-pound bag of food out for the dogs.

The documents further state Jacob Maxwell did stop by the residence around Feb. 11 with his son and put more food out for the dogs. Jennifer Maxwell said her son told her the dogs looked sick so she drove to Clinton to check on them. That's when she found the male dog was deceased and the female dog was malnourished.

An autopsy on the deceased dog indicated it died as the result of starvation.

Jacob Maxwell was charged with animal neglect for confining the two dogs in the house and depriving them of sustenance, which led to serious malnourishment for one and the death of the other. He also was charged with abandonment of the dogs since he left the dogs with no human care for an extended period of time in the house, police alleged.

The abandonment charge was dismissed as part of the plea agreement. His judgment will be deferred for one year and he is to pay a $315 civil penalty and $200 to the Clinton County Attorney's Office to cover the costs of the autopsy.