EC man sentenced to five years in prison in dog death case

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Nov. 25 – CHIPPEWA FALLS – An Eau Claire man charged with kidnapping and killing a dog following a dispute over a stolen generator will serve a five-year prison sentence.

Joshua W. Erickson, 40, 2624 Bauer St., pleaded guilty Wednesday in Chippewa County Court to animal cruelty – causing death, producing meth and robbery.

Judge James Isaacson ordered the prison sentence, along with two years of extensive supervision. The sentence is consistent with Erickson’s current sentence for other convictions.

“I think it shows some depravity,” Isaacson told Erickson of the facts of the case. “The owner of the dog was not involved in the underlying issues.”

Defense attorney James Krave told Isaacson that Erickson has a drug problem and that the joint recommendation was the right outcome.

“When we look at this, I think in many ways this is not an ordinary drug case, but it has many of the hallmarks of someone who is severely dependent on chemicals and has their life ruled by illegal substances,” Krave told Isaacson.

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Erickson appeared via video from the Jackson Correctional Institution. Before sentencing, Erickson expressed remorse for killing the pet.

“I just want to say that I am deeply sorry for my actions,” Erickson said. “It was the lowest low of my life.”

Isaacson ultimately decided to follow the joint recommendation of five years in prison and two years of extensive supervision.

“In some ways I think you’re lucky that this came to me in a joint recommendation,” Isaacson told Erickson.

Erickson must also pay approximately $3,000 in court costs, fines and restitution to the dog’s owner.

According to the indictment, a woman who lives in the town of Wheaton told police on April 16, 2020 that her 1-year-old husky, named Kawani, was missing. Kawani wore a shock collar and they had an underground electric fence. Kawani had never left the premises before.

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The woman later found the shock collar at the end of the driveway and the buckle was not broken.

An informant later told police he saw a dog matching Kawani’s description in a car outside a tavern in Chippewa Falls, and that car belonged to Erickson.

When the officer spoke to Kawani’s owner, she said Erickson had an argument with a man who lived on her property over a stolen generator.

On May 5, 2020, the deceased dog was found curled up in a reusable blanket, stuffed into a 50-gallon white plastic drum, which was placed at a dock in the town of Wheaton.

A microchip reader confirmed that the dog was Kawani.

On May 10, 2020, Erickson was interviewed while incarcerated at the Dunn County Jail, but Erickson claimed he knew nothing about the deceased animal.

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Another informant later told police that Erickson killed Kawani in a caravan on the informant’s property. When the officer entered the trailer, “he perceived an odor of animal decomposition.” Several tufts of animal hair were found and a sketch of where the dog lay on the floor while decomposing was visible.

On June 15, 2020, the officer obtained a search warrant to view Erickson’s phone. He found Facebook posts with a friend, who wrote to Erickson, “You gotta give that dog back, man.” Erickson replied, “I killed the dog. It’s in the RV behind it (the informant’s house).”

Erickson was sentenced to bail by Dunn County Court in May 2020 and initially served two years’ probation. However, that probation was revoked in September 2021 and Erickson was ordered to serve 18 months in prison, court documents show.

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