Who, age What Where When Last known address

Christopher A. Walter, 35

home condemned after discover of dozens of animals, 1 dog found dead

Norfolk, NE

Madison County

February 10, 2009  

Michelle A. Ziemer, 30

home condemned after discover of dozens of animals, 1 dog found dead

Norfolk, NE

Madison County

February 10, 2009  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date
  child endangerment 21 dogs, 3 cats, 1 hamster, 1 ferret, 1 chinchilla, 2 mice, 2 rabbits, 4 birds, 1 lizard, 2 turtles & 2 fish tanks containing several fish Alleged August 4, 2009

A Norfolk, Nebraska, man and woman were arrested on child abuse and animal cruelty charges after police were called to their residence about a dog bite.

Police Captain Leon Chapman says officers were called to 1213 Hayes in Norfolk about a 3 year old child being bitten by a dog. Upon arrival officers found the home's porch to be full of trash and the home itself extremely dirty.

The odor from animal feces and ammonia made it difficult for the officer to breath as he entered the home.

Officers found a total of 21 dogs, 3 cats, a hamster, a ferret, a chinchilla, 2 mice, 2 rabbits, 4 birds, a lizard, 2 turtles and 2 fish tanks containing several fish. Officers also found a dead dog under a blanket.

Two children were in the home ages 3 and 5 a grandparent took the children from the home and Nebraska health and human services were contacted. The city health inspector then condemned the home.

Officers arrested 35-year-old Christopher A. Walter and 30-year-old Michelle A. Ziemer both of Norfolk on 4 counts of Child Abuse and 38 counts of Animal Cruelty. Two other children live in the home but were at school when officers arrived on the scene. A total of 20 dogs and three cats were impounded by Norfolk police.

Update 2/10/09:  Norfolk police officers initially went to the house at 1213 Hayes Ave. to follow up on an investigation into a dog bite complaint.

A dog at this residence had bitten a 3-year-old child while under the care of 35-year-old Christopher A. Walter and 30-year-old Michelle A. Ziemer, the occupants of the house.

Upon arrival, officers noticed a large amount of trash on the porch and three dogs in a pen outside. One of the dogs appeared to be in very thin and lethargic with a growth on its side. The pen and deck were covered in dog feces, Chapman said.

When the occupants of the home answered the door, the officer noticed the smell was horrendous, making the officer gag, Chapman said.   The officers noticed dirt and debris on the floor where a boy was playing.

The officers also observed several animal cages with animals in them and several dogs and cats running around in the home. The cages were dirty and had not been cleaned for some time. One dog cage had about one inch of feces on the bottom of the cage. Officers picked up a blanket and a dead dog fell out, Chapman said.

20 dogs and 3 cats were impounded by the police division. The other animals were taken by another individual, Chapman said.

Walter and Ziemer were lodged in the Norfolk jail and transferred to the Madison County Jail.

The dog bite case is still under investigation, Chapman said.

According to court records, Michelle Ziemer is due in court for a pretrial hearing on 8/4/09 at 9:15am - case # CR09000100.

Reference:

KTIV

Norfolk Daily News

Nebraska Judicial branch