A Cass County dog breeder faces six criminal charges of animal neglect following the seizure of about 170 dogs from an apparent puppy mill operation at his home near Wheatland.
Darcy Darrell Smith, 51, was charged Aug. 15 with six counts of depriving an animal of necessary food and water, a Class A misdemeanor.
Smith waived his rights to the dogs three weeks after authorities seized 168 dogs from his rural Wheatland property July 10. Authorities said the dogs were found stacked in cages three deep, some dogs five to a cage, in piles of their own feces and urine-soaked paper.
Cass County Assistant State’s Attorney Leah Viste said prosecutors didn’t file a charge for each animal individually because state law requires time in each count to be served concurrently if it is in the same course of conduct.
Instead, each of the six charges covers allegations linked to different places where the dogs were held on Smith’s property.
The dogs have been treated for medical issues and placed for adoption in rescue organizations. Several of the animals were pregnant when seized, and authorities estimate that more than 200 animals will be linked to the case.
Smith’s next court appearance is set for Sept. 10.