A 72-year-old Brady woman was fined $75 and ordered to pay more than $400 in court costs after her conviction for poisoning her neighbor’s dogs. Hazel L. Brackman, 121 N. Harrison, pleaded no contest and was found guilty Sept. 10 of cruelty to animals.
Brackman was charged with cruelty to animals after she put D-Con rat killer and gopher poisoning in tin cans of tuna and placed them in the yard she shares with neighbors.
When Darrin Messersmith’s two dogs, Roscoe and Jackson, began having seizures and died, he called the Lincoln County Sheriff’s office.
The investigation began and a long-standing feud between neighbors that resulted in the death of two pets came into the open.
But Brackman wasn’t the first person arrested for poisoning the dogs. It was her brother, Dan Ruetzel who lives with her.
The incident began in 2006.
Ruetzel, 58, had complained publicly to Messersmith that he did not like those dogs peeing on his property. He said he was sick of all the dogs deficating and peeing in his yard.
Messersmith, who lives at 113 N. Harrison, shares a yard with Ruetzel and Brackman without fences.
Messersmith told investigators that Ruetzel warned him to keep the dogs tied and threatened to poison them if he didn’t.
On Dec. 12, 2006, Jackson and Roscoe were let back into the house from the yard and began having seizures. They both died later that day.
An autopsy revealed Messersmith’s dogs died of strychnine poisoning.
Kevin Earl, 307 E. Commercial, also believes his dog was a victim of poisoning. At around the same time, Earl noticed his dog Sophie having seizures but she didn’t die.
Investigators from the LCSO found tuna cans in the yard and the trash dumpster with pink pellets inside the meat, according to prosecutors. They powder was determined to be gopher poison.
Investigators also searched Ruetzel’s trash cans and discovered empty D-Con rat killer boxes.
When Ruetzel came to trial in Lincoln County Court in April, Brackman surprised everyone by saying, “Dan didn’t do it, I did it.”
Prosecutors dismissed charges against Ruetzel and filed two counts of cruelty to animals against Brackman.
On Sept. 10, Brackman did not contest one charge of animal cruelty and was found guilty. For her plea, prosecutors dropped the second charge.
Brackman is required to pay fines and court costs by Dec. 12, 2007, one year to the day that Messersmith’s dogs died.