A Mitchell mother and son are both facing animal cruelty charges after authorities seized more than two dozen cats.
According to Mitchell Police, a majority of the animals were found at a mobile home.
According to the affidavit, 44-year-old Brandy Smith told investigators she owns the trailer, but that she had not been at the trailer for over a month.
Smith claimed to operate a sanctuary for elderly, disabled and abused cats.
Court documents say she was having her 19-year-old son Michael Smith take care of the cats.
When officers searched the mobile home they encountered several cats, along with mounds of feces, empty food cans, and an odor so strong it could be smelled through the officers’ respirators, according to the affidavit.
As of Friday, 30 live cats and one dead cat had been seized.
There are a lot of new mouths to feed at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society.
That’s because the shelter assisted with the cat rescue in Mitchell.
Sioux Falls Area Humane Society Humane Officer Andy Oestreich wasn’t on this particular call, but she’s been involved in several animal seizures in the past.
“Anytime you have a colony of cats at large they’re almost on the feral side because they’re scared of humans and they haven’t had a whole lot of human contact,” Humane Officer Andy Oestreich said.
Executive Director Kori Baade says the shelter took in most of the cats in this latest case.
“A lot of them had upper respiratory disease, some of them dehydrated of course. I think they were extremely scared of humans,” Executive Director Kori Baade said.
The shelter has already received support from the community since issuing a callout on Friday, but even more donations are needed.
They’re currently in need of Purina dry Cat Chow and Kitten Chow.
They also need fleece blankets and towels.
It’s unknown how soon they’ll be up for adoption.
“We’re glad they are here. I think with the conditions they were living in that’s what we were more worried about is getting them out of that,” Baade said.
“It just takes a lot to comprehend what was going on. How did this animal get in this position?” Oestreich said.
Since we first learned about this case Friday, the Mitchell Assistant Police Chief says more live traps have been put out, but he isn’t sure how many additional cats have been caught.
This isn’t the first time Brandy Smith has faced charges because of her cats.
We tracked down some Iowa court documents. In 2015 a judge ordered her to remove six cats from her Mapleton, Iowa home.