Sioux Falls kennel under investigation following abuse allegations

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 6:46 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Our pets are a big part of our families and when we leave them in the care of others, we assume they are in good hands.

Before setting out on a trip, Christine Schaeffer arranged to board her dogs Marley and Chewy at Hidden Paradise Kennels in Sioux Falls.

“I’ve had Marley since he was eight years old,” Schaeffer said. “Chewy, she was no bigger than a loaf of bread when we got her.”

Knowing she could watch the kennel video was reassuring, but when she logged on and saw what was happening to someone else’s dog, she cut her trip short and picked up her dogs without saying a word to the owner.

“It was the first time I’ve ever seen any dog get abused and that’s horrible, Schaeffer said. “Rip the collar right off of this dog’s neck and then kicked them. I instantly started crying. You want to say something to the person right when it happens, but you can’t because your dogs are there. And you don’t want that being taken out on your dog.”

Her concern for the other dogs at the kennel meant breaking the silence.

“Went through crying. I went through anger. Who can do that to a dog?” Schaeffer asked.

We spoke with Curtis Melton, owner of Hidden Paradise Kennels. He wouldn’t provide a comment, but did post on the Kennel’s Google review page, “Sometimes I use a dog’s collar as a handle. If a dog bites me when I am trying to get him/her into their kennel, I will remind that dog that biting humans is not acceptable ever. Yes, I do get aggressive when I am bit/threatened by a dog.”

Sioux Falls Animal Control confirms an investigation is underway.

You have to do your research on these people,” Schaeffer warned. “And my instinct was right when we pulled up to that building, I told my boyfriend something isn’t right sitting with me. And I was right.”

According to South Dakota Law, a person who neglects, abandons, or mistreats an animal can face a class 1 misdemeanor charge, and a person who subjects an animal to cruelty could face a class 6 felony charge.