by Lorien Nettleton ~ January 24th, 2012
Frank Rich, the Willow man who had more than 150 abused dogs taken from his property last year, was sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years on probation.
Rich pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, which were condensed down from the 50 counts he had originally been charged with. During his probation period he cannot own or care for any animals.
In January 2011, Alaska State Troopers seized 168 dogs from Rich’s property. Nineteen dogs were found dead, according to veterinarian Katrina Zwolinski. In court Zwolinski testified the animals were emaciated, and many had parasites, cancer and wounds.
At least 20 other dogs were euthanized, before some of the seized animals were adopted out.
Rich had appealed the dogs’ seizure. He declined to comment following his sentencing, but during the hearing he told the judge he loved his dogs and they were like family.
Looking back, he said he now understands he had too many dogs and needed help. He testified he spent up to $36,000 a year on dog food.