Plea Bargain Reached In Pit Bull Case

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

An Omaha man arrested last spring for the abuse and neglect of more than 20 pit bulls on a property near Pacific Junction has agreed to a plea bargain with the Mills County Attorney’s Office.

Michael J. Simet, 56, pleaded guilty on Sept. 21 to animal torture and animal neglect, both aggravated misdemeanors.

If the sentencing judge agrees to the deal, Simet will receive a suspended jail sentence of four years, placed on supervised probation for a year and serve a week in the Mills County Jail. Simet will also not be allowed to own any animals during his supervised probation.

“If he messes up, commits some sort of other criminal offense or somehow violates the terms of his probation, he can be sent to prison for four years,” said Mills County Assistant County Attorney Eric Hansen.

The arrangements for Simet’s plea on the 14 counts of simple misdemeanor animal neglect charges is still in the works, added Hansen.

Simet will appear in Mills County District Court on Oct. 4 for sentencing.

The 27 dogs seized on Simet’s Pacific Junction property were all of the pit bull variety and all were restrained by heavy chains and in poor physical health. Most of the dogs were malnourished and severely neglected and many suffered infections.

The Loess Hills Humane Society assisted Mills County Sheriff’s Deputies in seizing the animals. More than half the dogs had to be euthanised.

Simet failed too appear at a June 11 hearing to determine custody of the dogs. The dogs were awarded to LHHS after the court ruled they met the statutory criteria for “threatened animals.”