Woman Attempting to Recover Dogs Given Friday Deadline to Pay $71K

April 16, 2017 10:38 PM

A Minneapolis woman faces a Friday deadline to pay up or give up the right to retain dozens of dogs that were taken from her in December following an investigation. 

Twenty-four-year-old Elizabeth Osterbauer used to run a rescue called Close to Home Canine, where she kept dogs at a rural farm near New Prague.  


Officers seized the dogs, some of which were puppies, after finding them in what they called, "deplorable" conditions. In court documents, officers said they found some dogs outside with no shelter when the temperature was 22 degrees below zero. Officers also claimed some were maltreated. A few needed surgery, and one died. 

A total of 66 dogs were confiscated and taken to Minneapolis Animal Care and Control for housing and medical treatment in December. 

A judge has given her until Friday to pay a $71,000 boarding bill for Animal Control. If it's not paid in full, 38 dogs remaining could be disposed of consistent with Animal Control policies. That means either put up for adoption, given to rescue agencies or possibly even put down.

Osterbauer was also arrested at the time for a different incident. 

RELATED: More Criminal Charges of Animal Abuse Filed Against Woman Who Runs Dog Rescue

Shelly Byzewski, who met Osterbauer through the dog rescue community, came forward with concerns about a break-in at her home in South Minneapolis and the disappearance of her Miniature Pinscher, Ducky Mom-Mo, in 2015. That tip led investigators to Osterbauer and the other animals.

"This girl shouldn't have animals, she shouldn't be allowed to hurt any more animals," Byzewski said.

In a social media post, Osterbauer wrote that she wants the confiscated dogs back.

"I'm doing everything possible to work through the red tape and get them back home, but everyone knows how slowly the court system moves."  

RELATED: Woman Accused of Stealing, Drowning Dog

Osterbauer has since been evicted from the New Prague property. Given that, the judge feels she doesn't have a place to care for the animals. There is a hearing on the seven criminal charges involving those seized dogs Friday in Rice County.

Ahead of that, Osterbauer has a court hearing in Hennepin County Monday afternoon on a separate burglary and animal abuse charge. 


Beth McDonough

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