GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The Animal Humane Society and two other groups are suing the Minnesota Board of Animal Health claiming it violated the law.

The other groups include Animal Folks, along with Steve and Denise Sterling of Cass County.

The suit alleges the board of animal health violated state statute after issuing a breeder license to Deb Rowell, who runs Country Pride Kennel in Cass County, despite being convicted of a misdemeanor crime “that meets the definition of cruelty to animals."

The lawsuit further contends, “despite Ms. Rowell’s conviction of a crime that meets the definition of cruelty to animals, the Board has not revoked Ms. Rowell’s license as mandated under Minn. Stat. § 347.61, subd. 5(b).”
Last month, a KARE 11 investigation profiled the case after advocates complained inspection reports were kept secret.

A spokesperson for the Animal Humane Society said they would like Country Pride Kennel’s license revoked and clarification on what constitutes animal cruelty.

“The goal is to get some clarity around animal cruelty. What is animal cruelty? I think we need some clarity around that,” said Kathy Mock, Chief Government Affairs and Community Engagement Officer for the Animal Humane Society.

Rowell told KARE 11 she has passed recent inspections and believes the state does a good job inspecting her.
In a statement, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health said it was aware of the lawsuit, but added, “We have nothing further to say about the pending litigation at this time."