According to sources Jan. 4, Maudrice Daniels and Crystal Wright, both of Kennett, have been charged with 10 counts of animal abuse and neglect.
On Dec. 28 a neighbor of Daniels and Wright posted an image on social media with the caption, “I’m tired of seeing this man doing this to his dogs, beating them n starving them it’s pretty damn sad to stay next door to them, and watch these things go on outside of your bedroom window, he tried to kick at our fence cause my family dog was outside but dad this what I’m talking about SHARE THIS.” The image revealed a dog laying on the ground and what appears to be Daniels stand over the animal holding a pole.
The post was quick to go viral showing more than 53,000 shares as of 10:00 p.m. Monday, and with almost 200 comments. Daniels himself commented on the post several times claiming he was “playing” with the dogs with the original poster replying that he had watched it all happen and that Daniels had struck the dog in the head leaving it stunned, injured, or dead. That’s when the poster snapped the image. The owner of the account claims that he has witnessed Daniels abusing his dogs in the same manner on several occasions. Most of Daniels’ comments have since been removed.
The young neighbor then contacted Kennett Police Department and Kennett Humane Department and wrote out an official complaint against Daniels which prompted an investigation into the well being of the dogs.
After being contacted repeatedly about the dogs located on Harrison Street, Tena Petix, Kennett Animal Control Officer, made a post on her own social media page.
In her statement at 10:05 p.m., Dec. 28, Petix states, “For everyone that is tagging me and private messaging me about the Harrison Street dogs, our night shift commander was out at the residence just now. He was able to view the adults and puppies and everyone appeared to be fine. If the dogs would have been injured, starved or had physical signs of abuse the matter would have been handled abruptly. If abuse did take place unless we have a statement and a signed complaint from the person that had seen it taking place, then we have nothing to go on. KHD and KPD takes crimes against animals very serious. We have had four different officers dispatched at different times to check the wellbeing of the animals and no one found any evidence of a crime.”
As the original image and post made its rounds through social media, law enforcement and animal welfare organizations in several states were inundated with calls, messages, and emails demanding something be done about the situation.
On Dec. 29, Petix again posted on her social media account stating she had nothing to go on to pursue the case. Petix writes, ”One last time. If I have no evidence, no dead dog, no injured dog and I do not see neglect on the other dogs, I have nothing to go on. I have asked that anyone that has seen this go to the PD and write out a statement and sign a complaint. No one has made an effort to do so. I have no way to prove in court who hit the dog, who actually took the picture or when because I did not see it. I am not disputing or agreeing with anyone. I am stating the facts as how the law works. Anyone that knows me knows I do not hesitate to issue a citation or if necessary apply for a warrant and remove the dog or all animals from a bad situation.”
Contrary to what Petix had previously shared on her social media account, Monday evening reports indicate that during their first two visits to the Daniels/Wright residence, officers observed dogs that were thin and one with mange but no outward signs of physical abuse.
Police and ACO Petix made a third visit to the home after a witness gave an official statement about seeing actual physical abuse of the animals, at which time Petix was allowed by Wright to check the dogs in the home. The report states that one dog appeared to have mange, puppies had bloated bellies, several dogs were underweight, and at least one of the dogs was injured.
Petix then instructed Wright that she was required to have at least three of the dogs seen by a veterinarian within the next 24 hours.
Subsequently, Daniels and Wright were charged with animal abuse and neglect and official reports were turned over to the city’s prosecutor for formal proceedings.
For the past year Daniels has been breeding and selling Pit Bulls and even has a social media page just for that purpose. It is unclear how many female dogs Daniels had in his possession for breeding purposes or whether or not the Missouri Department of Agriculture can or will get involved due to Daniels running an unlicensed breeding operation.
In 2014 Daniels was cited on Kennett city ordinances for Animal Health and Safety, pled guilty, and received a suspended execution of sentence and was placed on probation. Previous arrests for drug and alcohol charges, driving on suspended license, DUI, and distributing/manufacturing/possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance litter Daniels arrest record.