Animal cruelty case back in Nevada County court | TheUnion.com

Animal cruelty case back in Nevada County court

A couple accused of inflicting unnecessary cruelty to a pit bull mix has missed court twice, leading a Nevada County judge to issue arrest warrants in the case, records show.

Melissa Chantel Holtze, 36, and Michael Ford Wheeling, 38, each face a felony count of animal cruelty and a misdemeanor accusation of abandonment of animals. Both are accused in the death of "Louis," who was put down because of his injuries, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Hotaling and reports state.

"It didn't have any food or water," Hotaling said.

The couple first missed court on Jan. 22. Holtze and Wheeling were arrested and appeared Feb. 1 before a judge. At some point they were released and again missed court on May 31, leading a judge to issue arrest warrants for them, Hotaling said.

A judge on June 1 issued the warrants, and Wheeling appeared Friday in Nevada County Superior Court in custody. He's next scheduled for court on Thursday, reports state.

Holtze remained at-large on Monday, reports indicate.

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The charges against the pair stem from the Dec. 11 discovery of Louis in the couple's home, Hotaling said.

A woman spotted the dog inside, saw it had no food and water and took it to her home. She called Animal Control after the dog wouldn't respond to food, the prosecutor said.

A veterinarian determined Louis had internal medical issues that could have been treated, if discovered earlier, she added.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.