Former Van Wert Dog Warden sentenced to 30 days jail

First Posted: 2/3/2015

VAN WERT — Once in charge of the well being of animals at the Van Wert County Humane Society, the former dog warden will spend 90 days behind bars, in addition to other conditions for charges related to animal cruelty.

Former Van Wert County Dog Warden Richard Strunkenburg, 38, of Van Wert, was sentenced Tuesday on two counts of prohibitions concerning companion animals, each a fifth-degree felony.

According to a report from the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office, a woman called the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office at about 2:45 p.m. July 20 to report three deceased dogs at the Van Wert County Humane Society, where Strunkenburg was the dog warden.

When an officer arrived on scene, he noted a “strong odor of decaying animal and animal feces” that he later described as “overpowering.”

The officer reported there was feces and urine strewn throughout many of the cages and the majority of the animals did not have food or water bowls in their cages. Some had water bowls that were turned upside down.

After arriving on scene, Strunkenburg said, “‘I know there are dead dogs,’” according to the sheriff’s report. Strunkenburg later said the dogs had been dead for a few days.

Strunkenburg said the company who removes the dead animals would be coming that Monday.

Also found in the building was a humane trap containing six kittens, according to the report.

Strunkenburg was sentenced to 90 days in Van Wert County Jail. Once his 90 days in custody has been completed, he will serve 90 days under house arrest. He will then face three years probation once his time under house arrest has been completed, if he commits a crime while on probation, he could serve between 30 days and 12 months in prison.

Strunkenburg was also sentenced to 200 hours community service, two years under “intensive probation” and was ordered to pay court costs. A 12-month prison sentence, to run concurrently, was deferred.

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