No Jail for Landlords Who Confessed to Stealing Tenant’s Dog

( – Two Wisconsin sisters pleaded guilty in Dane County Court on Tuesday to stealing their tenant’s dog last year, WKOW reported.

Susan Haas of McFarland, Wisconsin, and her sister Sarah Engeseth of DeForest, admitted to Judge Ellen Berz on Tuesday that they took the dog from a dog sitter last Halloween without permission.

The dog, a rat terrier named Simon, has not been seen since.

The sisters, who are the landlords of Simon’s owner Linnea Sandlin, took the dog over a dispute about the lease.

Haas said she took Simon to the Humane Society in Dane County to surrender him, but when she was in the parking lot, the dog ran away. She admitted that she made no effort to go after Simon.

As part of the plea agreement, the sisters will face no jail time. Instead, Judge Berz placed them in a first offender’s program. If the sisters complete the program successfully, the charges against them will be dismissed.

Simon’s owner, however, is not happy with the arrangement. Sandlin told WKOW that the charges dropped from a felony to a misdemeanor, and with the judge’s sentence, the sisters would end up with “nothing at all.”

The sisters were initially charged with felony theft, but the charges were downgraded by Dane County District Attorney Paul Humphrey. Humphrey defended the plea agreement, explaining to WKOW that it is common for first-time offenders who take responsibility for their crime to receive deferred prosecution.

Jonah Bednarik, the attorney representing both sisters said the outcome was appropriate in the case since neither Haas nor Engeseth had a previous criminal record.

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