Police arrested two suspects after dozens of cats were found living in squalid conditions at two Mitchell residences.
Forty-four-year-old Brandy Smith and her 19-year-old son, Michael Smith, were arrested Thursday, according to Det. Lt. Don Everson of the Mitchell Police Department.
Officers executed search warrants at one residence on the 1400 block of Main Street, and another on the 200 block of East 15th Avenue on Thursday.
Initially, officers found 20 cats in various degrees of sickness at the Main Street residence, and one cat that appeared to be ill was found in the 15th Street residence. Police say there was apparent cat faces and garbage throughout both residences.
On Friday, officers found nine additional cats and one dead cat at the Main Street residence.
In total, 30 live cats and one dead cat have been seized in the investigation. Police believe several other cats are hiding in the walls of the Main Street residence, and they say this an ongoing animal rescue operation.
Most of the cats were taken to the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society for treatment and evaluation. Police say one cat was near death, and was taken to a Mitchell veterinarian.
Police say Brandy Smith maintained or lived at the residences where the cats were living, and Michael Smith gave the cats food and water. Both were aware of the living conditions of the animals.
Brandy Smith allegedly maintained the Facebook site “Heart and Soul Kitty Sanctuary” where she apparently solicited money for the care of elderly, disabled and abused cats.
Both face ten counts of cruelty to animals.