Pet salon

Charges: Lakefield pet salon owner neglected animals, resulting in death

Dwight the cat

A pet salon owner is accused of neglecting the animals in her care, resulting in the deaths of several beloved pets.

Amanda Lee Martens, 37, of Lakefield, was charged in Jackson County Court on Monday with two counts of animal cruelty.

A criminal complaint says Martens, the owner of Happy Tails Pet Salon, was hired to look after two pets for a couple while on vacation in February/March 2021.

Martens was supposed to make regular trips to the couple’s rural home in Jackson County to feed, water and watch over Bentley, a 12-year-old Beagle, and Dwight the cat.

The couple spoke with Martens several times a day to check on the animals, and she assured them that their pets were fine, according to the complaint. But Martens allegedly called them later during their vacation and told them that Bentley was dead. Court documents say the dog was in good health when the owners left for the trip.

Bentley had been with his family since he was a puppy

When they returned home on March 7, the couple found Dwight near death, lying in his litter box, according to the complaint. Court documents say there was so much urine and feces throughout the house that the carpet needed to be replaced.

Dwight was later euthanized due to fluid in his lungs and his inability to stand, according to the complaint.

The charging document says security camera footage showed Martens was not home to care for animals until March 6, 2021. The couple went on vacation on February 21, 2021 and returned on March 7, 2021.

Martens allegedly admitted in text messages that she had not been on the property, even though she had told her clients that she was. The complaint says Martens refunded the couple’s money and claimed someone else was supposed to help, but declined to name that person.

A member of the couple’s family had also left their three dogs in Martens’ care, and police say those animals were also neglected.

Libby died on March 24, about 2 weeks after her owner returned from vacation

The woman said she left her pets at Happy Tails so Martens could take care of them while on vacation. Upon his return, one of his Yorkies required extensive veterinary care and died from kidney problems caused by dehydration, according to the complaint.

A second Yorkie needed antibiotics and the third dog showed symptoms of a “kennel rash” after being left locked up too long, according to the charging document. The three dogs were covered in urine and could barely stand when she picked them up, according to their owner.

Martens also faces three felony animal cruelty charges.