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Published July 12, 2013, 06:24 PM

Area animal advocates are speaking out about dogs seized

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- Area animal advocates are raising concerns about North Dakota's animal cruelty and breeding laws after authorities cracked one of the state's largest hoarding operations.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- Area animal advocates are raising concerns about North Dakota's animal cruelty and breeding laws after authorities cracked one of the state's largest hoarding operations.

Ever since authorities seized 170 dogs from Darcy Smith's property in Wheatland.

People have been speaking out to protect the animals who cannot speak for themselves.

Amy Kracht- 4 Luv of Dog Rescue: Dogs are incredibly resilient. They can come back for just about anything.

For dog lover Amy Kracht, the images say it all.. Quick snapshots of the largest dog hoarding operation she's ever heard of around here.

Kracht: Maybe our point of starting to fix this would be better legislation.

Dr. Beth Carlson, Deputy State Veterinarian: The state of North Dakota has no specific laws or rules regarding breeding of any animals.

That goes for licensing too. All dog breeders who sell to stores must be licensed by the USDA. But not the state. That makes them subject to USDA annual inspections..

Kracht: "this guy very well could have been inspected by the laws are so lax that there's not a lot they can do."

But a puppy mill spokesperson for the USDA says there's not a licensed breeder by Darcy Smith's name or location.

Meaning no state or federal rules tie him to inspections. And on a state level, that would mean more money.

Carlson: "it would probably require numerous extra people"

Under state animal cruelty laws Smith could face a class A misdemeanor for every dog. Each with a year in jail and 2,000 dollar fine. In Minnesota. These charges could go anywhere from the misdemeanor to felony level. bringing greater punishment.

Shaun Evanson- Pets R' Inn Manager: "There's more restrictions in Minnesota so if North Dakota had more restrictions, to make routine check ups or just more laws against things like this so it doesn't get out of hand and doesn't happen again."

Kracht: We can look all we want and if there's no laws to back us up, there's no re-percussions."

Under USDA regulations. Any breeder selling to a pet store without a license is doing it illegally.

The new North Dakota laws increasing animal cruelty penalties do not take effect until August 1st.

That will bring the state's first felony-level penalties for some cases of malicious animal cruelty.

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