- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed four years ago by a dog breeder against the former Turner County State’s Attorney and the manager of a now-defunct animal shelter is set to go to trial next year.

A recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier cleared the way for former Turner County dog breeder Dan Christensen to legally pursue damages against former state’s attorney Tiffani Landeen-Hoeke and Rosie Quinn, who managed the Sioux Falls-based Second Chance Rescue Center.

In 2009, Christensen was charged with 173 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty after the Humane Society of the United States raided his dog breeding business near Hurley. But the charges were dropped in 2010 when a judge ruled the search warrant used to search Christensen’s property was illegal because Quinn had lied to obtain it.

In his lawsuit filed in 2010, Christensen alleged that Quinn and Landeen-Hoeke had conspired with the Humane Society to shut down his operation and defame him. He also said that Turner County’s commissioners and its sheriff were negligent in their support for the raid.

In her ruling, Schreier’s dismissed every charge brought by Christensen against Turner County’s commissioners, its sheriff and the national animal rights organization he’d named as defendants. She said they had acted in good faith on what they saw a legitimate puppy mill case.

But she did allow Christensen’s case to proceed against Landeen-Hoeke and Quinn.

Despite allowing the case to proceed, Schreier still scolded Christensen in her 101-page ruling, noting that just because the evidence against him was suppressed it doesn’t prove he was innocent of the charges. The Christensen farm was littered with feces and the animals were drinking from muddy water bowls.

A jury will decide in March whether Christensen should be awarded damages from Landeen-Hoeke and Quinn.

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