“This man is an habitual offender, so why wasn’t he banned from owning any further animals for life??”

DETROIT — A Rockwood man has been sentenced after four dogs he was supposed to be caring for died of malnourishment and another had to be euthanized for related reasons.

Lester France, 44, was sentenced Aug. 29 to three years probation on a work-release program, with the first six months to be served in the Wayne County Jail.

He also is restricted from having possession, care or ownership of any animals during probation.

The sentence comes after Flat Rock police went to a house in the 28000 block of Cahill Road on April 7 on a call of suspicion of animal cruelty.

Police found four dogs already dead and a fifth near death from starvation. That dog was euthanized.

Police said it looked like no one had been there to the house to care for the dogs.

According to police, France left his house in Flat Rock and was living in Rockwood at the time the dogs were discovered.

Because of a prior conviction in 1993, France was charged as a habitual offender.

Jennifer Hartlep, the assistant prosecuting attorney assigned to the case, said there had been complaints about France neglecting animals dating back to 2001.

An American bulldog, the only animal saved from the house, was given the name “Survivor” while at WAG Animal Rescue, based in Wyandotte.

The case generated a good deal of publicity and sparked interest from avid animal lovers near and far. Many requests came from families wanting to adopt the lone survivor.

Animal enthusiasts showed up to France’s arraignment April 12 before 33rd District Judge Michael McNally. They sat in the courtroom wearing matching animal rescue T-shirts.

Members of the group vowed to keep up with the case to make sure it was properly addressed and not brushed aside. Survivor was adopted.

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