Attorney says Centerfield kennel was
‘dilapidated and gross’, dogs seized
By Kacie Reese
Jan. 25, 2018
CENTERFIELD—A Centerfield couple got in over their heads in late 2016 trying to make some side money on a home-based dog kennel, according to the city attorney.
Richard and Dixie Smith had a license to operate a kennel and had started selling the dogs in the KSL classifieds.
In late 2016, a lady bought one of the dogs and later discovered the animal had parvovirus. She complained to Centerfield City, and Jordan Horst, the Centerfield code enforcement officer, investigated the matter.
In January 2017, Horst obtained a search warrant and made a visit to the Smiths. He asked them a series of questions about the dogs before seeing them for himself.
“The area where the dogs were being kept was dilapidated and gross,” according to Centerfield City Attorney Kevin Daniels.
Horst seizing six of the dogs that appeared to be in poor condition and took the animals to a veterinarian. Some of the dogs were euthanized on the veterinarian’s recommendation.
Daniels said of the Smiths, “They’re elderly, and I don’t think they had the resources to do the job properly. Otherwise they’re good people.”
After completing his investigation, Horst wrote a 32-page report.
Richard and Dixie Smith were each charged with a single count of animal cruelty, a Class B misdemeanor. Around December 2017, the couple accepted plea in abeyance, which will last one year.
The conditions are a $100 plea-in-abeyance fee, along with 30 hours of community service for each of them. After one year, if they have no further criminal convictions, the charges will be dropped from their records.
An agreement was established that the couple would not operate a kennel again within Centerfield City limits.
On Wednesday, Jan. 17, Daniels reported to the Centerfield City Council on the only remaining issue: whether the Smiths could be permitted to keep a limited number of dogs as pets. He asked the council’s advice on the matter.
Mayor Thomas Sorensen preferred the couple not be permitted to keep any dogs.
Councilman David Beck suggested that the dogs “are like family, more like children” to the couple and that it would likely be better for them, mentally, if they were able to keep a dog.
Councilwoman Becky Edwards agreed, “I see no problem with one dog.”
Daniels clarified, “I can make sure the language is clear that they can have one singular dog.”
In an interview Monday, Daniels stated that while it is clear a limit will be set in place on how many animals the couple can keep in the future, the limit is “not ironed out fully” yet.