Crime & Courts

Spring Grove couple disowns Great Danes

WOODSTOCK – A Spring Grove couple accused of neglecting 17 Great Danes has relinquished ownership of the dogs to McHenry County Animal Control.

Patricia and Sal Messina turned in paperwork Wednesday giving up all rights in regard to the animals’ care, placement and medical treatment.

Last week, the Messinas were ordered to pay thousands of dollars by Monday for the dogs’ care while in the custody of McHenry County Animal Control.

“Because they couldn’t post the money, their attorney contacted me and they executed a voluntary relinquishment,” Assistant State’s Attorney Karen O’Brien said.

The dogs have been at Animal Control since Sept. 27, when officials seized them from the home the Messinas rented on South Solon Road in Spring Grove.

Animal Control officials have said many of the dogs were severely malnourished and living in feces.

Four of the dogs will go to a Pennsylvania breeder, Susan Fioravanti-Weaver, who staked her ownership claim at an earlier hearing. She said she had no knowledge of the alleged abuse. She has paid about $2,500 for the care of the dogs by Animal Control.

“The dogs are going to live, and Susan gets her four back,” Fioravanti-Weaver’s attorney, Ward Brown said.

Animal Control spokeswoman Debra Quackenbush said it is not the agency’s policy to euthanize animals that are in good to excellent condition, which she said is the case with the Great Danes.

O’Brien said the intention of officials is to transfer the dogs to a breed-specific rescue, Woodstock-based Great Dane Rescue Midwest.

That rescue already has nine female dogs from the Messinas’ home, which were turned over several days before officials searched it and seized 17 Great Danes.

The Messinas both face 17 misdemeanor counts of violating the Humane Care for Animals Act. Their next scheduled court date is Nov. 20.

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