WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A man who left his black Lab mix dog shut up alone in his apartment for three or more weeks until it died pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge.
Dakota Schmidt was sentenced by 89th District Judge Charles Barnard Thursday, May 12, to 10 years probation and a $3,500 fine. Conditions of his probation include performing 160 hours unpaid community service.
In November 2019, management at Arbor Creek Apartments reported to police a foul odor coming from an apartment and mail piling up at the door.
They told officers the tenant, Schmidt, had not been seen in weeks, possibly months.
When officers were let in, they said they found a medium-size black Lab mix dead in a wire kennel. The dog had been dead for some time, and there were dog feces, urine and trash throughout the apartment.
Officers said there was dog food in the apartment but no water.
The dog was a female estimated to be 8 to 10 years old and very malnourished.
Animal Services officers said the dog weighed about 28 pounds, while a healthy weight would be around 50 pounds. They said it appeared the dog died from dehydration.
When Animal Services was at the scene later that day, they said Schmidt had arrived and was going to dispose of his dog in a dumpster.
Officers later spoke to him and said he told them he had not been to his apartment in several weeks, possibly a month, while staying out of town with a friend, and that he left food out for the dog, but he had not checked on his dog or had anyone else check in that entire time.