A Northfield woman has been charged with 16 counts of animal cruelty for allegedly killing dogs at her kennel.

Dayna Kristine Bell, 61, owns and operates Bell Kennels in Sciota Township.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Dakota County District Court, the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office received a report of cruelty and maltreatment of animals by Bell in September 2011.

A witness reported that Bell was drowning puppies, in one case taking a rope that was attached to a cinder block and tying it around a puppy’s neck and throwing the block and puppy into a pool, according to the complaint.

The witness also told authorities that Bell claimed to break the neck of a small dog that bit her.

Another witness, charges allege, told police that Bell put a puppy in a bucket of water and then placed another bucket on top to hold the puppy down.

When investigators searched Bell’s property, they found 10 small breed adult dogs in individual plastic bags in a freezer chest believed to have been put in the freezer while still wet, according to the complaint.

“The abuse of animals in the manner alleged in this criminal complaint is unconscionable,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a press release.

Eight of the 16 charges are felonies. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

Bell is expected to make her first court appearance Tuesday morning.