Oshkosh dog groomer arrested for opening business hours before state changes guidelines

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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - An Oshkosh dog groomer was taken into custody Monday for violating the governor's Safer at Home orders restricting non-essential business during the coronavirus pandemic. It happened not long before the state adjusted its guidelines to allow dog groomers to open up again.

Dog Depot Arrest. Screen shot from Facebook video.

On April 24, the Winnebago County Health Department contacted Oshkosh Police to inform them the Dog Depot, 1225 S. Main Street, was open even though the Winnebago County Public Health Department has deemed the business non-essential.

A sergeant with the Oshkosh Police Department went to the business and spoke with the owner. The sergeant informed the owner that she had to close immediately.

"The owner was WARNED several times and explained why she needed to close. The owner said that she disagrees with the Winnebago County Health Department and that she would not comply with the Governor’s Orders and that she would not close her store," reads a statement from Oshkosh Police.

Police say they consulted with the District Attorney's Office and they agreed it was a violation of Gov. Tony Evers' Safer at Home order.

"Due to her disregard and the multiple warnings she received, the sergeant advised the business owner that he was going to refer her to the District Attorney’s Office for the charge of violating the Governor’s Orders and that each day that her business continued to stay open would result in another charge," reads a statement from police.

On Monday, the owner, Lisa Binning opened the Dog Depot. Police took her into custody.

Video of the arrest has been shared thousands of times on Facebook. CLICK HERE to watch the video. The group Wisconsin Conservatives posted the video, saying the actions of authorities are "asinine and goes against everything this country was created for."

Binning says she was abiding by a previous safer at home order allowing non essential businesses to re-open April 24th.

"Why we're considered non essential is beyond me, first of all, but that's why we opened on the 24th, because we legally waited until the 24th to do that," she told Action 2 News Monday afternoon.

Binning says the arrest was an over-reaction and even after her release from custody was still seeing clients.

She added,"You know I didn't appreciate being handcuffed in front of a client that was sitting her waiting to pick up his dog, but then I came right back to work to finish the dogs I had sitting here waiting for me."

Minutes after we published this story, Gov. Tony Evers announced dog groomers and some other non-essential businesses would be able to reopen in Wisconsin.

An emergency order signed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services allows dog groomers, small engine repair shops, and upholstery businesses to open. CLICK HERE to view that order.

Action 2 News has reached out to Oshkosh Police to see what happens now in this case.

Oshkosh Police ask people to comply with the statewide orders. Winnebago County has 48 confirmed cases, one death and 1,084 negative tests. CLICK HERE to track cases by county.

"The Oshkosh Police Department understands that this is a new, challenging, and difficult situation that we are all dealing with during this pandemic. We wish that we weren’t all going through these challenging times," reads a statement from police. "For the health and safety of our community the Governor has issued orders to help protect our city and its citizens. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services along with the Winnebago County Health Department are tasked with determining which businesses are essential or non-essential. They advise us of their decisions and we make contact with these persons or businesses in question."

The governor's Safer at Home order is in effect until May 26. CLICK HERE for guidelines and to learn about the Badger Bounce Back plan to reopen businesses.

"We have responded to 122 different calls for service since March 17th at numerous locations in the City ranging from playgrounds, residences and businesses that have dealt with violations of the Governor’s Order. All of these individuals were very cooperative and complied when we explained that they were violating the Governor’s Order. They were all warned and no arrests had to be made for any visitors or residence in the City of Oshkosh. This is the first time that we have had a business owner or citizen who defied the Governor’s Order and continued to not comply numerous times. Our goal is always voluntary compliance. Filing charges is always our last resort. We have also received messages from similar businesses who were very appreciative that we are treating everyone fairly," says Oshkosh Police.

In response Binning said, "As long as we keep our clients safe and happy, mind you, we're not doing anything wrong."

The Winnebago County Health Department posted about the incident Monday evening: