Cass Lake man sentenced for poisoning animals with anti-freeze
BEMIDJI -- A man who authorities say poisoned his neighbor's pets in January, killing several animals, was sentenced last week for a gross misdemeanor animal cruelty charge.
William Lee Croaker, 39, of Cass Lake, will serve 30 days in jail, with a yearlong sentence stayed for two years. He was also placed on two years probation.
Croaker admitted to police that he poisoned the animals in an attempt to keep them away from his home, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Beltrami County Attorney's Office. But he failed to show up for a March 20 court date and a warrant was issued.
On Jan. 16, police were called to Mission Road Southeast, near where Croaker lived, by a man who said his dog was not moving. When police arrived the dog had trouble standing up. Leech Lake Police had previously received several reports from the area about dogs and cats being poisoned, according to a search warrant.
The next day officers searched the area for evidence of the poisonings, and found a dog bowl with green liquid around it outside Croaker's home. When questioned about the substance in the bowl, Croaker admitted to poisoning the animals, according to the warrant.
Police later learned that several dogs and cats in the area had become sick recently, and a few had died.