Crime

Charges to be filed in Bellefonte animal cruelty case

Video shows neglected animals seized from vet's home

The Polk County Sheriff's Office seized 38 neglected animals from a veterinarian's home. Gail Nichols and her husband Paul S. Smith, were charged with animal cruelty and confinement of animals without sufficient food, water, or shelter.
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The Polk County Sheriff's Office seized 38 neglected animals from a veterinarian's home. Gail Nichols and her husband Paul S. Smith, were charged with animal cruelty and confinement of animals without sufficient food, water, or shelter.

Bellefonte police rescued five dogs and one cat from a home Monday morning, but two of the animals have life-threatening medical issues.

A Bellefonte Police Department release detailed the environment the animals were living in.

The animals appeared to be abandoned in the undisclosed residence, where officers received a request to check. The release did not specify what the check was for or who made the request.

The animals had been locked in an upstairs bedroom that was full of feces, had no food and “very minimal water,” according to the release. The person who reportedly was responsible for the animals told police he had been providing food and water to the animals. He also told police that the animals were not being taken outside due to the cold.

All of the animals required medical attention and were immediately taken to an undisclosed veterinarian for treatment.

Bellefonte police said charges will be filed after a complete investigation.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli

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