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Puppy mill trial moved to fall

Stuart West

ELLSWORTH -- The jury trial for a man accused of operating a Pierce County puppy mill, originally slated for this week, now won’t happen until the fall.

Pierce County Circuit Court Judge Joe Boles moved the trial date for Stuart E. West to Oct. 20.

According to online court records, the trial was reset at a Wednesday, March 8, motion hearing.

Boles approved defense attorney Keith Belzer’s request for a continuance at the hearing. Records show that both PIerce County District Attorney Sean Froelich and Belzer had filed motions to continue the trial, but Froelich attempted to withdraw his motion March 6. Boles turned down Froelich’s effort to withdraw the motion at last week’s hearing.

Froelich didn’t return a call seeking comment by the press deadline.

The attorneys had been at loggerheads at a previous hearing over the release of data from organizations that examined the dogs found at West’s town of El Paso home. Boles ordered the documents to be made available to defense at that hearing in February. Belzer sought a 30-day trial delay during the hearing in order to review the voluminous records, which Boles denied at the time.

West faces 125 misdemeanor counts alleging he mistreated dogs and failed to provide proper food, shelter and ventilation at his home-based Alma Bottom Pointing Labradors business. The trial is now set to run from Oct. 20 to Oct. 27.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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