April 18, 2012
A dog breeder in Dakota County has been charged with 16 counts of felony animal cruelty for the inhumane deaths of dogs in her care. A complaint to this degree is rarely seen in criminal animal cruelty cases in Minnesota.
On September 27, 2011, the Dakota County sheriff’s office received a report of cruelty and maltreatment of animals by 61-year-old Dayna Kristine Bell, owner and operator of Bell Kennels and Farm in Sciota Township in Dakota County. Witnesses reported Bell has been known to drown dogs in a bucket or in a swimming pool as a method of euthanasia.
Animal Humane Society Humane Agent Keith Streff assisted the Dakota County Sheriff’s Department while executing a search warrant on Bell’s property on September 29, 2011.
Investigators found a blue bucket and cinder block with a rope tied to it, items that former employees said she used to drown the puppies. Investigators also found 10 small breed adult dogs in a chest-type freezer. The evidence suggests that the dogs were wet when placed inside the freezer based on the ice coating their fur.
Bell admitted to drowning some puppies but denied knowing anything about the dogs in the freezer and told deputies she didn't know how they got there.
Bell was charged April 17, 2012 by the Dakota County attorney's office with 16 counts of felony animal cruelty. That same day she posted bail and was released. Her first scheduled court appearance is set for July. If Bell is convicted of all the charges, she could be sentenced to up to two years imprisonment, $5,000 in fines, or both for each count.
“The drowning of animals results in long-term pain and suffering prior to death,” says AHS Humane Agent Keith Streff. “The crimes that Dayna Bell is alleged to have committed are very serious and the consequences she faces reflect that.”
Click below to watch WCCO's report on this case.