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Trial set in puppy mill case

A five-day trial has been set in the case of the rural Elmwood man accused by Pierce County prosecutors of running a puppy mill.

The trial for town of El Paso resident Stuart E. West was set for March 13 during a Sept. 20 hearing in Pierce County Circuit Court.

West, who operated the Alma Bottom Pointing Labs business out of his home, faces 125 misdemeanor counts alleging animal mistreatment, failure to provide proper ventilation, shelter and food for animals.

His N4758 350th St. home was raided on April 22, where Pierce County authorities and officials from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals allegedly found dogs at his property packed together inside assorted urine-soaked kennels and left to feed on rotting carcasses and roadkill. Dead dogs were also found on the property.

West pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The surviving dogs were taken in by the Animal Humane Society, which began adopting out some of the animals last summer.

The incident raised numerous questions among county and town officials about the inspection process and how the alleged puppy mill was allowed to operate unabated. That included discussion by El Paso Town Board, which revised its kennel ordinance earlier this month.

The board on Sept. 12 amended the law to require biennial inspections.

A final pre-trial hearing in West’s criminal case is set for Feb. 14.