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Polk Veterinarian, Husband Accused Of Animal Cruelty

Polk County Sheriff's Office

A Polk County veterinarian and her husband have been arrested on felony animal cruelty charges.

Polk County Sheriff's spokeswoman Carrie Hortsman said in a news release that 66-year-old Gail Anne Nichols and 74-year-old Paul Craig Smith investigators followed up on a tip about animals not being properly cared for and arrested the couple Tuesday.

An arrest report says they failed to provide 28 miniature horses, two full sized horses, eight dogs and two birds with the basic level of care. Five of the dogs were confined to cages without access to water and the house had a strong odor of ammonia and was infested with rats.

Three of the miniature horses required euthanasia because of their conditions and the others suffer from various medical conditions.

A lawyer wasn't listed on records.

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