Who, age What Where When Last known address
Cheryl Zeimann, 43 neglect of puppies and kittens

Pender, NE

Thurston County

Cheryl Zeimann, 55 neglect of a horse resulting in euthanasia

Pender, NE

Thurston County

June 23, 2003  
Cheryl Zeimann, 55 neglect of 2 horses

Pender, NE

Thurston County

July 8, 2003  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date
Misdemeanor animal cruelty 3 horses, puppies & kittens Convicted  

The Thurston County Sheriff office received information from an electrician who had been working at Cheryl Zieman's farm located between Walthill and Pender regarding 2 horses which appeared to be without food or water.  The Sheriff and 2 deputies went to the farm and found that it appeared to be abandoned and found 2 horses in a grove of trees behind the house.  1 was tethered and the other appeared to have broken free.  The horses were found without water, that there was no grass within reach of the horses and that the leg of one of the horses had a cut that was bleeding and oozing pus.  The horses appeared very thin, with their ribs visible.  The Sheriff and the deputies got water for the horses and then contacted Larry Lown, the jailer for Thurston County, who had experience caring for horses.  Because of the horses conditions they were impounded and taken to Lown's farm for care.

On July 9, 2003, the Sheriff went to David Hunter's resident and observed horses that were said to be the property of Cheryl Ziemann.  The Sheriff took possession of 4 more horses as well as a 5th horse on the following day.  Ziemann eventually telephoned the Sheriff's office and identified herself as the owner of the horses.

The state filed a complaint against Ziemann on August 1, 2003 charging her with 1 count of cruelty to animals and 6 counts of animal neglect.  On August 25th Ziemann plead not guilty to all 7 counts.

On January 5, 2004, Ziemann filed a "Motion to Suppress Physical Evidence".  The motion alleged that all "items of evidence were taken from her or other area in whish she had an expectation of privacy without any valid or legal consent to search and that there existed no probable cause for the search or seizure of any of the evidence.  Ziemann also filed a motion to quash, alleging that the complaint was defective on its face because it designated all 7 counts as a Class I misdemeanor, when, by statute, they were Class II misdemeanors.

On January 15, 2004 at Ziemann's arraignment on the amended complaint Ziemann again plead not guilty to all 7 counts.  A motion to suppress hearing was also held on the 15th where the Sheriff testified that he had talked to Cindy Rarrat, of Sioux City Animal Control, who had advised him that they were already working with a situation involving a horse belonging to Ziemann.  Sheriff Charles Obermeyer also testified that when he seized the horses from Hunters farm that he did not think he needed to obtain a warrant to seize the horses because Hunter had given permission and because it was an emergency situation.

Rarrat testified that on June 23, 2003, she received a call from Hunter, stating he could not care for a horse in dire shape he had obtained from Ziemann.  Rarrat testified that the horse known as Dee had lice, maggots and an infection and was given food, water and antibiotics.  The veterinarian who examined Dee graded her as a 1 and that he would have graded her a zero but there was not such an option on their chart.  The American Humane Association rates the condition of horses on a scale from 1-9, with 1 being the worst possible condition and 9 being a horse that is extremely overweight.  The rating of 5-6 would indicate a healthy horse.  Rarrat testified that Hunter allowed her and the Sheriff onto the property and that Hunter signed a release form regarding every animal that was removed from the property.

Update 2/20/04:  The county court overruled Ziemann's motion stating Ziemann failed to establish that she had standing to challenge the search, and that she had no reasonable expectation of privacy and that a search warrant was not required by statute in this case.  The court also stated that the warrantless search and subsequent seizure of horses found on Hunter's premises were justified by Hunter's consent to the search.  Moreover, the court found that at both locations the Sheriff had the right to be in the position where he had plain view.

Update 5/7/04:  The jury trial has begun with counts 4 through 7 being dropped.  The count 1 charge remained for the horse known as Dee and counts 2 and 3 for the horses known as Ace and Moon.

Mr. Lown testified that he went to the farm to help Ace and Moon.  He stated the horses did not look good and when given water, they consumed 15-20 gallons in 5 to 10 minutes.  Lown testified that Ace had an injured leg that probably had occurred within the prior 2 days.  Lown further testified that he thought the horses would die.

Hunter testified that he agreed to watch one horse, Dee, for Ziemann for a weekend for approximately $90 and that he was to provide food and medication for the horse. Hunter said that Dee had a swollen leg and a hole in its stomach and that he had to pick the horse up so that it could digest food, because the horse would not get up on its own. Hunter was worried about Dee's life and called a veterinarian, who told him the horse should be "put to sleep." Hunter testified that he did not do that because Dee was not his horse. Hunter said that he called Rarrat and took Dee to her at the Siouxland Animal Rescue League (Siouxland Rescue). Hunter testified that he was keeping seven horses for Ziemann's daughter and that the people from Siouxland Rescue took those horses as well.

Rarrat testified that in addition to owning and operating the Sioux City Animal Control Center, she is also a volunteer and board member for Siouxland Rescue. Rarrat confirmed that Hunter had contacted her and later brought the horse to her in "horrific" condition, and she stated that "it was the most unbelievable case I've ever seen." Rarrat testified that Dee's hair was falling out and that Dee was skin over bones, was very weak, had sores all over her body, had a swollen leg, had maggots around infected areas, and had lice. Although Rarrat treated Dee with antibiotics, cold packs, and Epsom salts, Dee was eventually euthanized. Rarrat said that she saw Ace and Moon on July 9, 2003, and that they were also in bad shape.

Court records show that in 1991 Ziemann was convicted of 11 counts of animal cruelty involving puppies and kittens and was placed on probation for 2 years and ordered not to have more than 1 dog and 1 cat on her property during the probation period.

Update 7/13/04:  A Lyons, Neb., woman has been sentenced to more than a year in jail for cruelty to animals and animal neglect.

Cheryl Ziemann, 55, was sentenced in Thurston County Court to 240 days in jail for cruelty to animals and 90 days each on two counts of animal neglect. The sentences will be served consecutively for a 420-day jail sentence.

A jury in June found Ziemann guilty of mistreating a horse in June 2003 and neglecting two other horses in July 2003. One of the horses had to be euthanized.

Ziemann is appealing the verdict.

In addition to the jail sentence, the horses were to be put up for adoption and Ziemann must pay restitution for the care of the horses since they were removed from her farm.

Update 10/18/05:  Ziemann appealed the decision of the district court for Thurston County. (Case #A-04-1483).

The appellate court upheld the conviction.


The Sioux City Journal

State of Nebraska vs Cheryl Ziemann