RHINELANDER (WAOW) - A 29-year-old Rhinelander man pleaded no contest to one felony Monday in the death of a dog poisoned with toilet bowl cleaner, according to online Oneida County court records.
In a plea deal, Robert Runnerstrom was convicted of mistreatment of a dog in a cruel manner resulting in its death for a May 28 incident in rural Rhinelander, court records said. He is to be sentenced March 2. The maximum punishment is 3 1/2 years in prison.
In the deal, prosecutors dismissed two misdemeanors - possession of drug paraphernalia and bail jumping - in the dog case and two misdemeanors in an unrelated case, court records said.
According to the criminal complaint, a woman called police reporting someone had killed her boyfriend's dog - named Bambi - and she blamed Runnerstrom, telling police he had called her and said the dog was dead.
At Runnerstrom's home, a woman told investigators that he told her the dog got into some poison in the bathroom, the complaint said.
Deputies found toilet bowl cleaner tipped over on the floor and "some foam that looked like it was from a dog with some blood in the foam," the complaint said.
Nearby, investigators found a wooden leg from a chair and another piece of wood, the complaint said.
Deputies found the dog under a tree in a bag but alive and it was rushed to a veterinarian, the complaint said. "The dog had a skull fracture and some bruising underneath the belly area."
The woman at Runnerstrom's home told investigators that earlier in the day, she and Runnerstrom had purchased a case of beer for him, the complaint said.