A Northfield woman charged with 16 counts of animal cruelty for in her care has posted bond and is allowed to continue to work with animals.
Dayna Kristine Bell, 61, who owns and operates Bell Kennels in Sciota Township just northeast of Northfield, posted a $50,000 bond on Tuesday after making her first appearance in Dakota County District Court on the charges.
The $50,000 bond's conditions include keeping her attorney and the court informed of her current address, no contact with the victims, remain law-abiding and make all future court appearances.
Bell could have posted a $10,000 bond with more conditions, which would have called for no contact or possession of animals, according to the Dakota County Attorney's Office.
According to a criminal complaint filed with the court, the Dakota County Sheriff's Office received a report of cruelty and maltreatment of animals by Bell in September 2011.
A former employee reported that Bell was drowning puppies, in one case taking a rope that was attached to a cinder block and tying it around a puppy's neck and throwing the block and puppy into a pool, according to the complaint.
The former employee also told authorities that Bell claimed to break the neck of a small dog that bit her and then said, "That (expletive) will never bother any of us again. I broke its damn neck."
Another witness, also a former employee, told police that Bell put a puppy in a bucket of water and then placed another bucket on top to hold the puppy down.
When investigators searched Bell's property, they found 10 small breed adult dogs in individual plastic bags in a freezer chest believed to have been put in the freezer while wet, according to the complaint.
"The abuse of animals in the manner alleged in this criminal complaint is unconscionable," Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a press release.
Bell's husband, Dave Johnson, told the Pioneer Press that the claims are lies and that his wife "wouldn't hurt a flea."
Bell's initial charges included eight felony counts of animal cruelty and eight misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. All 16 counts are now felony charges, according to an updated criminal complaint.
Each charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
Bell next appears in court July 23.
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