Three Blackwell residents charged with eight counts of animal cruelty

January 31, 2023 | Courts|Featured

UPDATE: Police release body cam footage

BLACKWELL — Blackwell police have released the body cam footage of officers investigating the reported animal abuse on west Lincoln Street. Police chief Dewayne Wood said on Wednesday that Campbell still hasn’t been taken into custody. Anyone with information on her location is asked to call police. To view the video click here.

NEWKIRK — Two Blackwell residents are free on bond while a third is on the lam after animal cruelty charges were filed against them in Kay County District Court.

Craig Allen Bergman, 42, Melonie Ann Marie Bartlett, 42, and Serrissa Marie Jessica Campbell, 25, are facing eight felony charges of cruelty to animals and one count of conspiracy after officials visited their home and found dogs and cats being kept in crates in a room reportedly covered in feces and urine.

Animal Control officer Cindy Yinger reports that she was contacted by Campbell on Oct. 4 about surrendering a dog.

Campbell reportedly told Yinger about several animals locked in a back room of her rent home located in the 1000 block of west Lincoln Ave. Campbell reportedly told officials that her landlords, Bergman and Bartlett, had not given her access to the back room for at least two weeks.

She reportedly told police that the pair put a lock on the door. She claimed she had an agreement to take care of the animals in exchange for rent assistance but reportedly admitted that she had not taken care of the animals for at least two months because they were not hers.

Officers and Yinger went to the home and made contact with Bergman.

He reportedly let officials in to see the animals and claimed that he checks on them two times a day.

Officials report that a putrid smell was emanating from the room through the locked door. The stench was reportedly so strong that officer Kenton Westermier reportedly became nauseous and had to leave.

Yinger reports that she entered the room and, “Smelled the worst urine smell I have ever encountered in my career.”

Officials report that three adult dogs and four adult cats were in a 12X10 foot room with feces covering the walls and the kennels.

The dogs reportedly were stained in urine and the cat litter boxes were reportedly overflowing. Officials report that some of the animals were in 24 inch kennels with little room to move in and water contaminated with urine to drink.

Yinger reportedly spoke to Bartlett who agreed to go into the room.

Officials report that she was horrified and claimed the animals were her babies but that she had not seen them in two years because she did not want to deal with Campbell. She reportedly agreed to surrender the animals and agreed that the room conditions were inhumane.

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The next day Yinger took one of the dogs named Freckles to Blackwell Animal Hospital for treatment.

Veterinarian Ashley Senn, treated the dog and provided a report to Yinger.

Police report that DMV Senn found that Freckles had a pot belly appearance which is commonly caused by internal parasites and that the dog was suffering from severe dermatitis in the back perineal region and the hand legs. The vet reported that Freckles had discolored fur, which is common for dogs who are kept in their own urine.

“My observation as a veterinarian deems that Freckles has not been cared for appropriately and has had inhumane living conditions,” Senn wrote in her report.

The vet attempted to treat one of the cats from the home. The cat was reportedly 15-16 year tortoise calico. Officials report it had to be euthanized because of its condition.

After the feline was euthanized, the vet examined it and reportedly found large amounts of urine scalding on the legs and pads of its feet. The cat’s nails were growing into the pads of its feet. 

Bartlett and Bergman have been booked in the county jail and released on $5,000  bond. Campbell remains a fugitive with bond endorsed at $5,000.