Case Snapshot
Case ID: 4118
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Wednesday, Mar 2, 2005

County: Hutchinson

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Marcia Lee

Case Updates: 3 update(s) available

A Dimock woman accused of neglecting and mistreating dozens of dogs on her property will answer criminal charges in court and could face up to 18 years in jail and an $18,000 fine if convicted.

Marcia Lee was indicted Wednesday in Hutchinson County Court on 16 counts of keeping diseased or injured animals that are suffering and two counts of inhumane treatment of animals.

The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society rescued 67 dogs from Lee's property March 2 after an anonymous tip. Dogs were found sheltered in two buildings and living in filth, said Suzanne Zutter, executive director of the Humane Society.

"In one building, there was no ventilation. The odor was so bad you couldn't breathe," she said. "The dogs were in crates, and the crates were stacked on top of another."

The crates, which had trays to hold feces and urine, were overflowing, Zutter said.

"In the other building, the dogs were in pens that had feces about 10 inches deep," she said.

The Hutchinson County Sheriff's Department assisted in the rescue of the dogs, which include dachshunds, Westies, Yorkies, papillons and shelties.

Zutter said the animals are in bad shape. "A lot of them don't have teeth," she said. "There is one with teeth so rotten, his jaw broke."

A veterinarian has examined the dogs. Some needed surgery right away; others will have to wait until the court determines who will have ownership of the dogs.

"At this time, she has no comment other than to say that she hopes the public will withhold judgment until all the facts are out," her lawyer, Jay Leibel of Madison, said in a statement.

Hutchinson County State's Attorney Glenn Roth was not available for comment.

Foster families are caring for the dogs for now. The animals are not available for adoption.

Lee is scheduled to enter a plea Monday in Hutchinson County Court.

Case Updates

A judge decided Monday that a Dimock dog breeder convicted of animal cruelty and neglect may keep up to nine dogs as pets, but she is barred from commercial breeding for two years.

In March, 67 dogs were rescued from Marcia Lee's property. In May, a jury found her guilty of two counts of inhumane treatment to animals and two counts of allowing an injured or diseased animal to suffer.

Lee had faced a maximum sentence of four years in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Magistrate Judge Bruce Anderson ordered Lee to pay $75 in fines and $53 in court costs for each count. Glenn Roth, Hutchinson County state's attorney, said the judge also sentenced Lee to 180 days in jail for each count, but the jail time was suspended.

"I was not seeking active jail time," Roth said.

Lee said she accepts the sentence.

"I think the judge finally saw the light, and he gave me a sentence I could live with," she said. "He understood how much I loved my dogs."

Lee said she is not sure whether she will breed dogs again.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which had sent a letter to Roth urging that Lee be vigorously prosecuted, was upset with the sentence.

"I'm appalled," said PETA cruelty caseworker Daniel Paden. "The most appalling part of the sentence is that she is allowed to have a single animal in her callous hands.

"Someone dropped the ball big time," Paden said from his office in Norfolk, Va.

Lee, who had been a breeder for 30 years, said it was one complaint that led to the charges and cost her her investment of $127,000 in the pedigree dogs.

"I was gone for four days," she said. "My kids did not change the cages as they were supposed to. I got home on Tuesday, and they (the Humane Society) were here on Wednesday."

The judge gave Lee several stipulations to follow.

If any of her dogs become pregnant, she must notify the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society. She also must allow court service officers to inspect her property without notice during her two-year probation.

After her probation, if she decides to engage in commercial breeding, she must follow a plan approved by the Humane Society.

Roth had recommended that Lee be allowed to have only two dogs and that breeding be prohibited on her premises.

One of the 67 dogs died as the result of an accident. The Humane Society has ownership of the rest, which will be available for adoption in a few weeks.
Source: Argus Leader - July 26, 2005
Update posted on Jul 26, 2005 - 8:56AM 
Sixty-seven dogs taken from a dog breeder at Dimock will be sold at public auction and not returned to the owner, although she can buy them at the sale, Circuit Judge Glen Eng ruled on Friday.

Sale proceeds will be used to pay the cost of removing the dogs, the cost of housing and feeding them while under the care of the Humane Society, and any veterinary bills.

Eng's decision came in a civil trial against Marcia Lee, of rural Dimock. She'll be sentenced in July for her conviction of inhumane treatment of animals and keeping an animal that is injured, diseased or suffering.

During Fridays testimony, Lee said her dogs were valued at $127,700
Source: - June 11, 2005
Update posted on Jun 12, 2005 - 1:46PM 
Marcia Lee, a breeder accused of neglecting 67 dogs and leaving them in filthy cages has been found guilty of animal abuse.

A jury found Marcia Lee guilty of two counts of inhumane treatment of animals and two counts of keeping an animal which is injured or diseased and suffering.

Lee faces four years in jail and a $4,000 fine. She is due to be sentenced May 16, 2005.
Source: - May 7, 2005
Update posted on May 7, 2005 - 1:13PM 


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