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Accused Bemidji dog hoarder to remain in hospital pending hearing

Carol Schmidt, the rural Bemidji owner of more than 50 dogs, holds the agreement she signed with the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, Minn., to have all but seven of her dogs taken to an animal shelter and potentially put up for adoption. On the right is Bill Patnaude, director of Beltrami County Environmental Services. Forum Communications photo

BEMIDJI, Minn. - Carol Schmidt, 63, who had more than 100 dogs removed from her property near Bemidji two weeks ago, will remain at a behavioral health hospital pending her commitment hearing scheduled for Friday.

According to the court proceedings from a hearing held last Friday, George Duranske, Schmidt's court-appointed attorney, asked that Schmidt receive a second evaluation, adding Schmidt's daughter, Melissa Selzler of Florida, would like to have her mother live with her.

He said Schmidt's 40-acre property has value and urged Beltrami County to find someone to assess the value of Schmidt's assets and to arrange for her financial protection, proceedings state.

Assistant county attorney Randall Burg said the Beltrami County Environmental Services Director would be contacted about Schmidt's nephew assessing her belongings and taking an inventory of the property, according to the court proceedings.

Schmidt has been a patient at Bemidji Community Behavioral Health Hospital since Jan. 26. District Judge John Melbye has ordered Schmidt to remain confined pending Friday's commitment hearing.

A mental illness petition was filed by Diane Boben, supervisor of adult services with Beltrami County Human Services, Jan. 31 with Beltrami County Attorney's Office asking for the commitment of Schmidt.

Public health hazard signs have been placed on both mobile homes on the property, as well as "Do not enter" signs from the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, according to a public health hazard complaint submitted by the Beltrami County environmental services director.

According to the complaint, the two homes have been officially condemned by county based on the following conditions:

* Neither home had sanitary services.

* The only source of drinking water is a hand pump well outside the homes.

* Large amounts of urine and dog feces were found on the floors in both homes.

* The acidity level in Schmidt's home revealed an acidity level of 12. A normal acidity level is around 7, the complaint states.

* Accumulation of rubbish and garbage in both homes.

* Accumulation of dog and cat feces, which is a serious health hazard to humans.

* An electric stove with no door was being used to supply supplemental heat in one of the homes, a serious fire hazard.