Published June 24, 2022

Dead Dogs in Court

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan
[Image: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay]
[Image: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay]

MINOT — Two persons implicated in the deaths of two dogs and the near starvation of three others, made their initial appearance in North Central District Court this week.

Kayelynn Mercier, 20, and Jim Diaz, 21, both Minot Air Force Base, are each facing five counts of Animal Cruelty, Class C felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and $10,000 fine per offense.

On May 26, the Ward County Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of animal neglect received from MAFB law enforcement. Upon arriving at a MAFB residence, two deceased dogs were located. Three other dogs found inside the residence were malnourished to the point where a veterinarian rated them one on a scale of 1-9.

According to a statement of facts filed with the court, one of the deceased dogs was locked inside a kennel, in a closet, and the other in a bathroom of the home. It was determined the dead dogs, a two-month-old Golden Retriever and a three-month old Boxer mix, died of starvation.

Three other dogs, a 3-year-old mixed breed, 6-month-old shepherd/husky mix, and a 1-year-old shepherd mix, were deemed significantly malnourished. In addition, reads the affidavit, a Ward County Sheriff’s Department deputy “observed the entirety of the home as being in disarray, with garbage, dried animal urine, and animal feces all around the home.”

In their initial appearance before Judge Gary Lee, Mercier and Diaz told the court they understood the charges against them and asked to apply for court appointed counsel.

Judge Lee set bond for each defendant at $5,000 cash, post 10%. Both defendants paid the $500. Among the conditions ordered by Lee was that they “may not possess any pets or animals.” Lee scheduled a preliminary hearing for both defendants for 10:30 a.m., July 28, and a pretrial hearing for 8:30 a.m., October 5.

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