FORT ATKINSON (WKOW) -- The owner of a dog training and boarding facility was criminally charged Wednesday following the deaths of two dogs at her business since August.
The Jefferson County District Attorney's office filed a charge of Intentionally Mistreating Animals, a misdemeanor, against Tammy Flemming, who told 27 News that she is in the process of changing her last name back to Olson.
The charge is in connection to the death of an eight-month-old husky mix who was left in Olson's care for a five-week training program. On September 11, Fort Atkinson police said Olson called to report the dog's death. Lindsey Davidson, the owner of the dog, Cooper, told both police and 27 News Olson admitted to her she had 'messed up.'
According to the criminal complaint, Olson said she was using a choke chain on the dog and was in a 'power struggle' with Cooper. Olson allegedly told the officer Cooper continued 'trashing his head back and forth' before she noticed the dog's hind legs became weak. She released pressure but the dog's breathing slowed and it died at the facility.
In an interview with 27 News Monday, Olson denied admitting to any kind of wrong-doing with Cooper. She said she was working with the puppy when she noticed one of his hind legs giving out. When she took him off the block, Olson said the dog's entire body went limp.
"He went from looking at me directly, ready to do the next task, to not," Olson said. "In a matter of seconds."
About five weeks earlier, Chase Peterson said his family's one-year-old dog, Marley, died in Olson's care. Peterson told 27 News it was his understanding Marley had somehow hung himself. Olson said she used a choke chain on Marley but denied doing anything to hurt the dog.
Marley's death was not mentioned in the complaint against Olson. Peterson said he regretted not seeking a necropsy, which Davidson did after Cooper's death. The necropsy found the dog died of strangulation, citing redness around the dog's neck, which was consistent with pictures Davidson provided to 27 News.
If convicted, Olson faces a maximum sentence of nine months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.