SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — The three people arrested in an animal cruelty investigation in Brookings made their first court appearance Monday. 57-year-old Debra Schulte, her son 28-year-old Brandon Schulte and daughter 26-year-old Jordan Schulte are charged with 10 felony counts of animal cruelty after officers removed 31 dogs and 4 cats from their home on Friday.
The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society is sheltering roughly half of the animals seized last week in Brookings.
“We can house about 400 animals at a push. Brookings is a little bit smaller than us and so when there’s large seizures like this, we like to work together to make sure every animal can find somewhere,” Sioux Falls Area Humane Society Executive Director James Oppenheimer said.
Brookings police say the dogs and cats were living in filthy conditions and malnourished. According to the detective in charge, the vet who examined them said they suffered from the worst case of fleas he’s ever seen.
The Humane Society had to clear out extra space because the animals have to be isolated from the rest of the shelter pets.
“Right now, we’re just day-to-day care, making sure kennels are clean and dry. Making sure they have food and water and of course, assessing them throughout the day,” Sioux Falls Area Humane Society Animal Welfare Manager Caley Harr said.
Some of your donations to our KELOLAND Media Group Pet Food Drive earlier this month are going to feed the neglected animals.
“Any of the food donated will help these animals. They are eating. We’re able to feed them. They are in difficult shape but we’re hoping to nurse them back into great condition,” Oppenheimer said.
The Humane Society is already receiving calls from people wanting to adopt the animals. But that can’t happen until the animals are fully recovered and the criminal case goes through the courts.
This is the second animal cruelty case in Brookings in less than two months. Authorities arrested 33-year-old Cory Martinson on three counts of animal cruelty at the end of July.
He’s accused of strangling three cats that he got from local shelters. He pleaded not guilty to all three counts.
According to the jail log, he is still in custody and is scheduled to go on trial in November.