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Animal shelter operator agrees to pay $741 fine

The owner of the former Cats Meow Dogs Bark Animal Welfare Society was fined $741 and half the public health nuisance charges against her were dropped last week.

Jen Kamish, Newport, Minn., agreed to pay a fine of $148.20 for each of five charges. The other five citations were dismissed by Pierce County Circuit Judge Robert Wing.

Kamish took over the shelter, located on Hwy. 65 just outside River Falls, in early 2006 after the Humane Society of Pierce-St. Croix announced it could no longer afford to run the facility.

She ran the shelter--renamed Cats Meow Dogs Bark--for less than eight months before it was raided and closed by public health and law enforcement officials in late September.

Inspections and the subsequent closing were prompted by reports of rat infestations.

After the raid, the Pierce County Public Health Department issued one non-compliance citation a week for 10 weeks from Nov. 6, 2006, to Jan. 9 of this year.

Pierce County District Attorney John O'Boyle said that, after talking to her attorney Michael Waterman, it's apparent Kamish doesn't plan to reopen the shelter.

She has 60 days to pay the fines or she will face 15 days in jail.

Neither Kamish nor Waterman attended Tuesday's hearing.