Case Snapshot
Case ID: 12758
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Prosecutor(s): Jennifer Utter
Judge(s): Janine Kern

For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.

Tuesday, Nov 20, 2007

County: Pennington

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Chad L. Cooper

Case Updates: 4 update(s) available

The Rapid City man accused of starving and abusing two dozen Alaskan malamute dogs found Wednesday was officially charged Monday when he made his initial appearance in court.

Chad L. Cooper, 35, is charged with one count of aggravated assault against a law-enforcement officer, one count of domestic violence simple assault and five counts of inhumane treatment of an animal.

Sarah Seljeskog, deputy state's attorney for Pennington County, said Cooper was arrested on the domestic-violence charge, for which there was a warrant out for his arrest.

Seljeskog said 7th Circuit Magistrate Judge Shawn Pahlke granted the state's request that Cooper's bond be set at $250,000 cash or surety.

Authorities said Friday that Pennington County Sheriff's deputies noticed the dogs Nov. 20 when they arrived at Cooper's home to arrest him on the warrant.

They found several dead dogs and 24 dogs that were alive but in poor condition.

Cooper was not home at that time. Deputies returned Wednesday to seize the malnourished dogs.

At that time, Cooper arrived home and is accused of driving his vehicle toward the deputies. No one was injured.

Phil Olson, executive director of the Humane Society of the Black Hills, said Friday that the dogs were responding well to the change of environment.

Olson said he was unsure at that time whether the dogs would be put up for adoption.

Cooper remains in custody at the Pennington County Jail.

He faces up to 25 years in prison on the charge of aggravated assault against a law-enforcement officer. He faces up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines on each of the other counts.

Case Updates

A Pennington County State's Attorney says she made a mistake in a case involving the inhumane treatment of dogs.

In a plea agreement last month, 36-year-old Chad Cooper plead guilty to the inhumane treatment of just two Alaskan Malamute dogs and one count of obstructing a police officer. In exchange for his guilty plea, the state dropped the remaining felony animal abuse charges that involve the other 22 malamutes.

Now, State's Attorney Jennifer Utter says she made a mistake because she failed to bargain for medical costs for 'all' of the sick dogs. 7th Circuit Judge Janine Kern says because Utter didn't negotiate restitution for the rest of the dogs she can only award compensation for the dogs Cooper plead guilty to abusing.

Judge Kern decides how much cooper will have to pay next month. Judge Kern says the Humane Society and the American Malamute Society can file civil lawsuits requesting restitution.
Source: KOTA-TV - Aug 26, 2008
Update posted on Aug 26, 2008 - 11:59PM 
Chad Cooper became emotional Tuesday as he admitted to 7th Circuit Judge Janine Kern that he neglected malamute dogs at his home last November.

Cooper, 36, of Rapid City, pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing law enforcement and two counts of animal neglect or abuse as a part of a plea agreement. Cooper was scheduled to go on trial next week.

He said he became very sick while the dogs were in his care, and at one point didn't feed them for as long as four days.

"I didn't care for them as well as they deserved," he told Kern, his voice breaking with emotion.

He also admitted to not burying some of the dogs after they had died.

In exchange for Cooper admitting to the three misdemeanor charges, the state agreed to drop a felony assault charge and three additional animal neglect charges.

He had been charged with aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer for allegedly driving his car at a law enforcement officer.

Cooper told Kern he pulled up to his house and drove his car to the left to avoid running into his father's car, which had stopped ahead of him, and didn't immediately notice a police officer standing in front of his car.

Cooper said he stopped as soon as he noticed the officer, but admitted that he wouldn't get on the ground for the officer and, upon being forced to the ground, wouldn't allow the officer to handcuff him.

Officers served a search warrant at Cooper's home Nov. 20 for a domestic violence incident and noticed the dogs after arriving at Cooper's rural Pennington County home, according to previous reports. Several were dead, and 24 were in poor condition.

Cooper said the reason some had died and were emaciated was because they became sick, but he also admitted to not properly vaccinating the animals.

Obstructing law enforcement and neglect or abuse of an animal are Class 1 misdemeanors that carry a maximum of one year in prison and a $2,000 fine.

Cooper will be sentenced July 22 at 8:30 a.m.

His bond was also reduced Tuesday from $100,000 to $1,000. The state objected to lowering the bond, but Kern deemed it appropriate because of the reduced charges. Cooper will have to comply with a number of restrictions that go with the bond reduction.

Cooper is still facing a simple assault and marijuana charge in Magistrate Court but is expected to plead guilty to disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia as a part of his plea agreement.

He had not yet been released from jail as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The dogs were taken to Humane Society of the Black Hills. Many have been adopted out or put in foster homes.
Source: Rapid City Journal - July 2, 2008
Update posted on Jul 2, 2008 - 1:27PM 
Final preparations are under way for the trial of a man accused of abusing several dogs and assaulting a Pennington County sheriff's deputy in November.

Chad L. Cooper, who is 36, is charged with one count of aggravated assault against a law officer, one count of simple assault-domestic violence, and five counts of inhumane treatment of animals.

His trial is scheduled to begin July 8.

When Cooper was arrested, police say they seized nearly 30 malnourished and abused malamute dogs from his Rapid Valley home
Source: KXMC - June 24, 2008
Update posted on Jun 24, 2008 - 10:30AM 
A 7th Circuit judge on Tuesday granted a motion to sever domestic-violence charges from charges of animal cruelty and assault against a police officer in the case of a Rapid Valley man arrested in November on accusations that he abused several malamute dogs and assaulted a sheriff's deputy.

Chad L. Cooper, 36, is charged with one count of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, one count of simple assault domestic violence and five counts of inhumane treatment of an animal.

He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison on the aggravated-assault charge and up to one year in jail on each of the other counts.

Cooper's attorneys, Paul Winter and Randy Connelly, asked 7th Circuit Judge Janine Kern to separate the domestic-violence charge from the rest of the counts because, Connelly said, there is not a common scheme or plan between the charges.

Sarah Seljeskog, deputy state's attorney for Pennington County, objected to the motion to sever, saying separating the cases would be a waste of taxpayers' money.

Kern ruled that the counts meet the criteria necessary to sever and moved the domestic-violence count to magistrate court, where another judge will handle it. Kern will continue to handle the remaining counts.

She set another hearing on those counts for March 21.

Cooper remains in custody at Pennington County Jail.
Source: Rapid City Journal - Feb 20, 2008
Update posted on Feb 20, 2008 - 5:42PM 


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