Whitewood man charged with animal neglect, cruelty of more than 30 dogs

Black Hills law enforcement seized more than two dozen dogs north of Whitewood.
Black Hills law enforcement seized more than two dozen dogs north of Whitewood.(Connor Matteson)
Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 3:38 PM MDT
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WHITEWOOD, S.D. (KEVN) - A man from Lawrence County has been charged with 31 counts of animal neglect and cruelty after starving 35 in-bred dogs, according to law enforcement and a shelter.

Thomas L. Mraz was charged with five counts of animal cruelty and 26 counts of animal neglect, abandonment or mistreatment.

Animal cruelty charges are Class 6 felonies punishable up to two years. Neglect is a Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable up to one year in jail.

According to Patrick Johnson, Lawrence County deputies seized the dogs after an Oct. 13 call about neglected animals near Whitewood.

“I have never seen something to this magnitude,” Patrick Johnson from the Lawrence County Sherriff’s Office said.

The Western Hills Humane Society assisted in assessing the animals and providing shelter. Jennifer McCambridge, from the shelter, said the dogs' ages range from three days old to three years old, but all of them were malnourished, not trained, and not even close to being housebroken.

“Some of them are very sweet, and some are very terrified, but they’ve never been trained, and they haven’t had a whole lot of human interaction, some are starving for it some are scared of it,” McCambridge said.

She said there’s also been a lot of inbreeding in these dogs due to their deformed feet. The dogs aren’t yet ready to be fostered or adopted due to their medical needs and the open court case.

Tuesday, Mraz was arrested and is held in the Deadwood Jail at a $1,000 bond. Mraz is scheduled to appear at the Lawrence County Court in Deadwood at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

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