The woman behind the unopened pet store that was raided last month by animal control is now facing more than 200 charges in criminal magistrate court.
On Friday, a deputy attorney with the City of Rapid City filed a long list of charges, including 101 counts of municipal cruelty to animals, 101 counts of abuse and neglect of animals, and 1 count of dirty kennel, against Marinda Parks, 38, of Rapid City in the 7th Judicial Circuit. Animal control says it seized 36 dead and more than 100 living animals in the morning impound action on Aug. 16.
The city's deputy attorney who is leading the prosecution, Kinsely Groote, said she could not release animal control or veterinarians' reports that could confirm the type of deceased animals for fear of tainting a jury pool. Animal control representatives have not made those details public yet. Groote did say under city code, insects are not considered animals.
Parks, who owned Pitter Patter Pet Store in the Rushmore Mall until its closure in July, will make her first appearance on Sept. 19 before Judge Scott Bogue. Timothy Rensch, a Rapid City attorney, is representing Parks. A message left for Parks' attorney was not returned by deadline.
In the search warrant issued on Aug. 15, obtained by the Journal, Circuit Judge Jeffrey Connolly gave animal control authorities in Pennington County permission to search the newly located Pitter Patter Pet Store at 2415 Mount Rushmore Road, in a building shared with a Subway restaurant. The search warrant said there was probable cause to find "evidence of the commission of a criminal offense" and authorized officials to look for "domestic animals including but not limited to canines, felines, horses and mules."
The warrant also stipulated the property included "[a]ny and all deceased animals."
Each of the three codes deal with the city's rules on humane treatment of animals and violations carry up to 30 days in jail or a fine of $122.50 for each offense. While state statute also provides protections against animal cruelty and negligence, no further charges are expected.
In an interview, Kelsey Harty, one of the responding officers with Animal Services and Enforcement, said investigators found signs during the four-hour raid of animal abuse, including feces-smeared cages, pools of urine, and lack of adequate food and water. She also said the structure housing the animals contained "material laying around that was not safe for the animals."