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Duluth man charged with shooting, killing roommate's ferrets

"Dude, I killed his ferrets," the suspect allegedly told officers. "Give me a break."

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DULUTH — An Endion neighborhood man remained jailed days after he allegedly shot and killed his roommate's four pet ferrets following an argument over personal belongings in their shared apartment space.

Levi James Arneberg, 27, was charged Thursday in State District Court with four gross misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. He allegedly admitted to police that he killed the animals before discarding their carcasses near the alley of their North 23rd Avenue East apartment.

Levi James Arneberg.jpg
Levi James Arneberg

"The conduct is concerning," St. Louis County prosecutor Tony Rubin told the court. "It is clear that the defendant's mental health could use care, treatment and attention."

Court documents say Duluth police were called to the apartment shortly after noon Tuesday, when Arneberg's roommate called 911 to report that he had returned home from work and found several of his items thrown outside. Officers reportedly learned the men had been in an argument the previous night and Arneberg had grabbed a kitchen knife, saying: "It would be bad if one of them (ferrets) were hurt."

Police said they saw blood on the apartment's floor, walls and inside the pets' cages before discovering the carcasses near the alley. A witness also told officers she saw Arneberg walk into the alley and heard him say that "a ferret smiled at him, so he shot it 10 times," according to the complaint.

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When Arneberg was found by police, he allegedly said: "Dude, I killed his ferrets. Give me a break."

The defendant went on to complain about the smell of the animals, according to the probable cause statement, adding that "the big one was hard to kill." Once taken into custody, he allegedly told officers: "I swear the thing was laughing and breathing, laughing and breathing and I just kept shooting it in the f***ing head."

Rubin requested that Arneberg receive screenings for mental health and chemical dependency issues as part of any conditional release. He also asked that unconditional bail be set at $20,000 — "$5,000 for each deceased ferret" — which was granted by Judge Shawn Pearson.

But Arneberg remained jailed Friday afternoon due to an alleged probation violation. He is currently under supervision for two impaired driving cases that occurred a week apart in July 2020.

His next court appearance was set for Feb. 14.

Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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