Nevada County prosecutor: Couple facing animal cruelty charge again miss court
Melissa Holtze and Michael Wheeling, both accused of animal cruelty, are again wanted by Nevada County authorities after missing their third court appearance in the case, a prosecutor said.
Holtz, 36, and Wheeling, 38, failed to appear Sept. 13 in Nevada County Superior Court for their preliminary hearing. A judge issued arrest warrants for them, and the pair will face an additional charge of failure to appear to court on a felony charge, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Hotaling said.
“We can’t do much until they’re picked up on the warrant,” she added.
Facing a felony count of animal cruelty and a misdemeanor charge of abandonment of animals, the pair was accused in December in connection with the death of Louis, a pit bull mix, the prosecutor said.
According to Hotaling, a woman spotted the dog, saw it had no food or water and took it home. She contacted animal control officers when the dog wouldn’t eat.
A veterinarian euthanized Louis after realizing he couldn’t survive, the prosecutor said.
“It had a really large mass on its stomach that had been going on a long time,” Hotaling said.
Prosecutors filed a complaint against the pair, which was scheduled to appear Jan. 22 in court. They failed to appear and were arrested, appearing Feb. 1 before a judge. They were released at some point and missed their second court hearing May 31. That led to another arrest warrant, Hotaling said.
Court records show Holtze and Wheeling were arrested in June and released that month on their own recognizance.
A judge scheduled last week’s hearing in July, records show.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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