Johnson pointed out that Westphal's ruling said he wasn't sure if the boy's eating problem was the result of a lack of food or if it had been caused by something else. Fischer said that didn't matter because the Hauers didn't get the boy any help even though there were clear signs he was ill. He was eventually taken to the hospital because Mona Hauer thought he was coughing up blood. At that point he was so malnourished his body could no longer process food. It turned out the red on the boy's shirt was from a frozen treat, however.
Fischer told the judges that the boy's situation wasn't any different than being beaten.
"Being starved to the point that when your body is given food it shuts down, I submit that child was suffering pain every day," she said.
The attorney for the Hauers, Jason Kohlmeyer, argued against Fischer's appeal. He also filed a counter appeal arguing that the boy who was removed from the house should be returned.
There isn't any evidence of egregious harm because the Hauers did what they could once they realized there was a problem, Kohlmeyer said. He said several witnesses called to testify during the trial were mandatory reporters, meaning they are required to report child abuse if they suspect it is taking place. No one made a report. Although the Hauers didn't ever bring the child to a medical doctor, they did seek help from a chiropractor and a dentist, he said.
"The child had some eating issues and they did what they could with that," Kohlmeyer said during his oral arguments. "Nobody did anything except the parents. When it came to a point that they had to do something, they did."