Mayo employee charged for killing pets, trying to burn them at incinerator

A Mayo Clinic employee is scheduled to make his first appearance in Mower County District Court on Thursday after being charged with killing his two pets and attempting to burn the bodies at the Mayo Clinic incinerator.

Daniel Joseph Carlson, 61, of Grand Meadow, was charged Sept. 10 with two felony counts of overwork/mistreat animals-torture based on an incident that allegedly occurred on Aug. 21.

According to the criminal complaint, an unnamed motorist informed an Olmsted County deputy at 8:18 a.m. Aug. 22 that Carlson, who works at the Mayo Clinic Waste Management Incinerator, had brought in a dog and cat that he’d killed in order to burn the bodies. The motorist claimed that Carlson said he’d “beat the dog to death with a stick and shot the cat” before placing the carcasses in a Mayo Clinic freezer.

Since Carlson lives in Grand Meadow, the incident report was forwarded to the Mower County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 25 for investigation; Sheriff Terese Amazi has expressed frustration that Olmsted County shared the incident with local media prior to sending her office the report in question.

During the ensuing investigation, Carlson told a Mower County deputy that he’d “had enough” with his pets urinating in his house and shot them both outside his home on Aug. 21. The cat had been experiencing “medical issues” for about a year and he’d been unable to house train his 5-year-old poodle, according to the criminal complaint.

Carlson told authorities that he put the dead animals in the incinerator’s freezer storage area. The deputy seized the animal’s bodies, which were stored in a black garbage bag, from the freezer as evidence.

On Aug. 26, the Austin Veterinary Clinic examined the dead animals. According to the criminal complaint, a single bullet wound was observed on each, but there was no other damage. The vet disposed of the bodies.

The Mayo Clinic released the following statement Tuesday on Carlson: “Mayo Clinic is aware of the charges and is fully cooperating with law enforcement. We cannot provide further comment on private, personnel issues, or issues involving legal proceedings in progress.”

If convicted, Carlson faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine for each charge.

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