Charges Dropped For Woman Accused Of Animal Neglect

Jessica Swain was arrested in January

A Sioux Falls woman says she is glad things are back to normal after her arrest on animal neglect charges.

Jessica Swain was arrested in January after leaving her dog outside in sub-zero temperatures.

But now those charges have been dropped.

Swain says she was playing video games with her kids when Sioux Falls Animal Control and Sioux Falls Police showed up after hearing reports of her husky being outside for too long.

They then cuffed her and took her to jail, all in front of her kids.

Swain says she’s had no previous run in with the law, so the incident was terrifying and completely unnecessary.

“I felt I was being harassed at that point, because I know and my family knows that we weren’t doing anything wrong,” says Swain.

Swain says she knew the temperatures were low that day, but says her husky enjoys the cold weather.

“On really cold days we have to force him to come inside because we feel bad,” says Swain. “It’s too cold for us, so we’ll make him come in after so long, but then we’ll let him go back out.”

Letting him outside caught animal controls attention, which Swain admits wasn’t the first time.

She says animal control previously went to her home two times in one day, and threatened a citation for her dog being outside.

So this was the third visit taken, and resulted in an arrest. 

“I just think they should have investigated the situation a little more rather than going to the extremes they did,” says Swain. 

She says the allegation that Mickey was let outside for several hours wasn’t true. 

“My dogs in or out multiple times a day, and so in that time, they said between 10 and 1 o’clock, my dog was probably out 6 or 7 times during that time frame,” says Swain. 

However, she’s just glad the incident is over. 

“The thought of even having a record was terrifying,” says Swain. “Losing my animals, going to jail, paying a large fine, it was like living in a nightmare.”

Sioux Falls City Attorney Keith Allenstein says after the case was turned over to their office, they decided to drop the charges but didn’t make a comment as to why.

Sioux Falls Animal Control told KDLT News at the time of the January arrest that there is a city ordinance and a state law that indicates an animal has to have adequate shelter, and because the dog was left outside without shelter, Swain was arrested.