Prosecutors filed charges for animal cruetly against Dayna Bell for the death of 16 dogs at her Dakota County mill in Northfield. Jessica Miles and Leah MCLean report from Chanel 5 News.
Bell's family said that "none of this is true," and that "they are accusations levied by a disgruntled former employee out for revenge," as stated by Channel 5 reporter Nick Winkler. In court documents, Bell is accused being a "cruel puppy killer." "She's my wife," Bell's husband David Johnson said. "She loves animals." Johnson said his wife is a federally licensed dog breeder, having been in business for 40 years, and not capable of drowning puppies in buckets or pools. "She's not strong enough to [drown puppies by tying cinderblocks to them and drowning them]."
Two of Bell's kennel workers said they witnessed the cruelty and reported it six months ago, Winkler reports. One worker said Bell was angry at a dog who had bitten her. The other worker said Bell put a sick dog out of its misery. "[The accusations are] a vendetta. It's someone who's trying to get even with her," Johnson said. Johnson also said the accuser is a teenager who was fired.
Channel 5 reporters asked Dakota County attorney James Baxter whether he's concerned about the credibility of the accuser. "I'm not going to discuss any of the credibility of any statements that i've given," he said.
During the search, deputies said they found 10 dogs in a freezer, but they said Bell denied knowing anything about them and did not know how they got there. The dogs' fur appears to have been frozen while wet, the Northfield Patch reports. Deputies said Bell did admit to [them] drowning four dogs, but court documents do not say why she allegedly did that. "It looks bad, but scientific proof will prove that it's a case based on lies," Johnson said.
Bell just posted a $50,000 bond, the higher of two options, which means she's allowed back on the farm and can continue her breeding business, pending this case, Winkler reports.
At this time, Minnesota has no state laws to license and inspect or regulate dog and cat breeding, McLean reports. Minnesota is one of the top producers of puppies in the nation--some kennels house more than 1000 dogs--but there is a bill in the legislature that would change the law by requiring commercial cat and dog breeders to be licensed, but also impose penalties on those who violate the law. However, the bill has not made it to any committee hearings yet.