MADISON — A 42-year-old Madison man who police said failed to give his dog named "Boston" proper shelter in late January after the temperature dropped to minus 18 degrees — with wind chills around minus 50 — was charged with a misdemeanor Monday.
Eric L. Fjelstad was charged with negligently failing to give his dog adequate shelter against the extreme cold on Jan. 30. He made his initial appearance Monday and was released on a signature bond after his lawyer's motion to dismiss the complaint was denied by Dane County Court Commissioner Scott McAndrew, according to online court records.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court:
A Madison police officer arrived at a house on the 200 block of Waubesa Street at 12:50 a.m. following a report that a dog had been left outside in the bitter cold and had been howling for 10 minutes. Two police officers tried to make contact with the dog's owner and could see him on a couch inside the house, but he did not get up after they rang his doorbell and knocked on his window.
The officers took the dog to the Dane County Humane Society. The dog was returned to Fjelstad the next day after he filled out a form that included the dog's name.
No breed of dog was listed in the complaint for the Jan. 30 incident. But during two other calls to that address in November and December, the dog was described by police as a chocolate or brown lab that weighed around 60 pounds. The calls were for a dog left unattended and barking in poor weather.
On Nov. 18, Fjelstad brought the dog inside after police found it outside with the temperature at 17 degrees.
On Dec. 30, Fjelstad ignored police requests to bring the dog inside after it was left outside barking for two hours. Police then took the dog to the Dane County Humane Society. Fjelstad was later issued a municipal citation for animal cruelty.