Rachwal faces misdemeanor animal abuse counts

Sterling Rachwal (Brown Co. Jail)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) - Sterling Rachwal, 53, was charged Wednesday with three misdemeanor counts for alleging having inappropriate contact with a horse on Feb. 17.

The charges are mistreating an animal, disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer. He returns to court Tuesday for the balance of his initial appearance.

According to the criminal complaint:

Deputies were called to a ranch on the town of Eaton for a suspicious person complaint, after the owner saw a suspicious person leaving a barn. Police found the horse bleeding.

When questioned, Rachwal denied ever assaulting horses, despite previous convictions. He said it was a conspiracy created by his sister and a veterinarian.

A boot print found at the scene appears to match boots found in his Green Bay apartment.

Police also investigated a Manitowoc County case from April 29, in which there was trail camera video showing a horse being assaulted by someone that appears to be Rachwal.

Police then interviewed Rachwal again.

"Sterling again said it could be him it looks similar but he is not saying it is him," the complaint states. And at one point he added, "You do realize if I go away I'm going away for life" and that he was trying to 'straighten up his life."

Rachwal has not been charged in Manitowoc County, however.

The Brown County criminal complaint also refers to the Waupaca County investigation of a November, 2015, incident in the town of Lebanon, where a pregnant horse was assaulted and later died.

That case remains under investigation and no arrests have been made but Rachwal is a person of interest, according to Sheriff’s Sgt. John Mocadlo.

Forensic evidence is still under review. The assault method appears similar to the incidents in Brown and Outagamie counties, he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Waupaca County Crimestoppers by phone at 888-258-9955 or online.

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