Colton man charged with animal cruelty in ‘gruesome’ death of dog, puppies

Jerry Lee Smith
Jerry Lee Smith(Dakota News Now)
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 1:29 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A Colton man has been charged with felonies in the “gruesome” death of a dog and her puppies.

Warning: Readers may find the following descriptions to be graphic.

According to court documents, a Sioux Falls Humane Society humane officer responded to Jerry Lee Smith’s residence in Colton on Monday after Smith reported he had killed his dog.

A Minnehaha County Sheriff’s deputy already at the residence reportedly told the humane officer that the scene in the home was “gruesome.”

Inside the residence, the humane officer discovered puppies laying on a blanket covered in blood. Two of them appeared deceased or injured, according to the humane officer’s statement. The officer then found the puppies’ mother laid “lifeless” in the middle of the kitchen. Documents say based on evidence, the dog was killed in a corner where she was kept with her puppies before being moved.

Smith reportedly told authorities that the dog had bitten him and that he killed her with a knife. According to the documents, authorities smelled alcohol on Smith’s breath at the time.

Documents say the puppies were transported to an emergency vet clinic. The surviving puppies were examined with one of them suffering what was described as a large slash across its back, documents say.

During the investigation, officers spoke with Smith’s ex-girlfriend, who said she is the owner of the dog and her puppies. She told investigators she had been in a relationship with Smith, but it had ended earlier that same day. Court documents state she had a phone conversation with Smith earlier that evening where Smith told her he stabbed the mother dog after it bit him.

The next day, a witness called authorities saying they had additional information about the incident. The witness told investigators they saw a large fire outside Smith’s property the night before. The following morning the witness found the remains of a deceased dog in the fire pit.

Smith has been charged with three felony counts of cruelty to an animal.

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