CROWN POINT — A warrantless search was conducted in a case against a St. John dog trainer charged with cruelty to animals, but prosecutors say there's no need to suppress evidence, because the search was lawful.

Larry Brodanex alleged in a motion to suppress that a St. John animal control officer violated his Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure when she told the owner of the property Sept. 11, 2017, that she could have police let her inside if the owner refused her access to the facility in the 9600 block of Industrial Drive.

Deputy Prosecutor David Rooda wrote in a response to Brodanex's motion that the animal control officer had a legitimate reason for returning to Brodanex's facility. The officer previously had noted a lack of rabies vaccinations and a permit for the business, he said.

Brodanex is facing nine felony counts of torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal and 34 counts of cruelty to animals. 

Evidence already presented to the court shows the property owner, Gary Rassel, granted permission to the animal control officer and police to enter the property, Rooda wrote.

According to a motion filed by Brodanex's attorney, Matthew Fech, Rassel testified in June he thought he had no other choice than to let the animal control officer inside.

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"Shortly thereafter, approximately six St. John police squad cars arrive on scene," the motion states.

Rooda wrote Rassel denied the officers' testimony he was upset with Brodanex, but admitted he granted them permission to enter willingly.

Brodanex's next hearing is scheduled for Friday. A jury trial is set to begin May 20.

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