By John Lauritsen

NORTHFIELD, Minn. (WCCO) — A Northfield dog breeder facing 16 charges of animal cruelty says there is nothing worse than being accused of something she didn’t do.

Dayna Bell, 61, is charged with killing 16 dogs and puppies, possibly because they were injured or sick. Former employees say they saw Bell drown the dogs and in one case break a dog’s neck.

In September, investigators searched Bell’s kennels and said they found 10 small adult dogs in a freezer chest.

“My animals are healthy and happy. They live in harmony. I’ve been doing it for years,” said Bell.

One day after posting bail, Bell told WCCO-TV she was back at work. She posted $50,000 bail so she could have contact with her dogs. She said the accusations are a lie and she blames former employees for starting them.

“Apparently they did what they could do to make such terrible, scathing lies that they want to see what they can do to put me out of a job. It’s a terrible, vindictive retaliation and the scathing lies are awful, awful,” said Bell.

“It’s just not in her. She’s just not capable of doing something like that,” said Bell’s husband, Dave Johnson.

Johnson said his wife’s dog-breeding business has dropped 90 percent since the accusations came out last fall. But he doesn’t think they will go anywhere in court.

“It’s going to hit the floor with a loud thunk,” said Johnson.

Johnson said Bell loves the small breed dogs that she sells, which are mostly labra-doodles. He calls his wife an excellent person, and other than hugging a dog, he’s never seen her lay a finger on one.

“I’ve seen her in the backyard throwing a ball to 15 to 20 dogs for hours and hours and they keep coming back and jumping on her and wanting her to throw it again. Animals are her life,” said Johnson.

Johnson says there’s evidence to prove his wife is innocent. Dayna Bell said she’s hoping she will have a chance to prove exactly that.

“There’s nothing worse than being accused of something you didn’t do,” said Bell.

Dayna Bell and her husband said they had been advised by her attorney not to go into too many details about the case.  But Bell’s husband said he is looking forward to her next court appearance on July 23, and that his wife will definitely plead “not guilty.”

Keith Streff of the Animal Humane Society is one of the lead investigators on this case. He called this case a significant one, and he thinks there is evidence to prove it.


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