Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputies Charged With Animal Abuse

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(WXYZ) – Two Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies have been charged with animal abuse for not caring properly for three horses they owned.

James Willyard and his wife, Georgia Willyard of Lapeer, were charged with two misdemeanor counts each after an investigation by animal control officials.

In addition, the couple’s daughter, Molly Mekoski, has also been charged in the case.

Lapeer County Prosecutor Byron Konshuh tells 7 Action News the daughter is the owner of the three horses, but she does not live with her parents. The horses were kept on their property, therefore the couple shares responsibility for their well being.

The horses were deemed underweight by a vet and also allowed to run free, which initially raised concern of neighbors.

“We try to make sure we get compliance,” Konshuh said. “Prosecution isn’t the goal this case or any cases like this. We just want people to care for their animals.”

The prosecutor’s office also filed a civil lawsuit against the couple after the horses were removed from the property.  The county is now in possession of the animals and awaiting forfeiture.

Gail Hirt has years of experience with rescue horses.  Her agency, Beyond the Roses Equine , is taking charge of their care.

“They range anywhere from 100 pounds underweight to over 200 pounds underweight,” Hirt said. “Their hoofs are long. They’re not maintained. Their manes were full of burrs. They just look terrible.”

The horses are being temporarily housed at  Whispering Point Farm in Imlay City.

Arraignment took place last week at Lapeer District Court.  A conviction on the animal cruelty misdemeanor carries a maximum one year sentence.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement:

“We obviously find these allegations very disturbing. We have no tolerance for any animal cruelty. The deputies in question have been relieved of their police powers pending the outcome of the case.”

News Linkhttp://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/oakland-county-sheriffs-deputies-charged-with-animal-abuse#ixzz2McRsFqsB

2 dogs found emaciated; owner charged with animal cruelty

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One of two dogs confiscated Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, in Paw Paw Township, is shown. / Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office

Authorities in south western Michigan have charged a woman with cruelty to animals after they confiscated a pair of emaciated dogs found chained up outside an apparently vacant home.

The Van Buren County sheriff‘s department says the dogs’ owner 33-year-old Brandi Espinosa pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Thursday in District Court in Paw Paw.

She was released. Her next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 26.

One of two dogs confiscated Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, in Paw Paw Township, is shown. / Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office

A message seeking comment was left Friday by The Associated Press at a telephone listing for Espinosa.

The court said it didn’t know whether she had a lawyer.

The sheriff’s department says the mixed breed dogs found Wednesday in Paw Paw Township, about 50 miles southwest of Grand Rapids, are part pit bull.




The dogs are being cared for by Van Buren County Animal Control.



News Link:-http://www.freep.com/article/20120928/NEWS06/120928030/2-dogs-found-emaciated-woman-charged-with-animal-cruelty?odyssey=obinsite

Owner Charged After Over 20 Animals Seized From Home

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NASHVILLE, Mich — A woman was arrested after Barry County Deputies investigated a possible animal abuse or neglect case.

Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf said his animal control officers foundhorses and 17 cats in need of desperate help.

Marl Steinbach

The animals were taken into police custody and the owner, 64-year-old Marl Steinbach, was taken to jail.

FOX 17 has learned this isn’t the first time, Steinbach has been charged with animal cruelty.

Annie Meek is Steinbach’s neighbour on Morgan Street in Nashville, Michigan.

Whenever Meek left her home she passed by the horses kept in Steinbach pasture.

“The were getting worse and worse and worse,” she said of the horses she saw from the road. “One of the mares had all her ribs showing, her spine was really bad, you could see her hips, her backbone.”

At first Meek said she tried to help the animals herself, “We’d pick a lot of grass and feed it to it and them some hay that was sitting there.”

Then Meek said she tried to help the owner, “I said maybe you should surrender some of them.  And she said no.  And it went around and then when they came and took them away she said, she should have listened to me.”

Meek called the Barry County Sheriff’s Department to report what she said was animal neglect.

With the help of animal control, 17 cats and 7 horses were taken from the property and Steinbach was arrested.

Sheriff Leaf said he knows that people are going to want to help these animals but adds they are now in his control.

Sheriff Leaf said, “They are under veterinarian care.  And they are evidence of a crime.  So we don’t want people to come up and get involved that way.”

A Look at Steinbach’s criminal history shows an arrest in 2003 for cruelty to animals.  Neighbors say that charge also involved multiple horses.

Meek said the decision to call the sheriff’s department came down to saving lives.

I felt bad for Marl, but those horses come first,” she said.

News Link:-http://www.fox17online.com/news/fox17-owner-charged-after-over-20-animals-seized-from-home-20120913,0,3198273.story

PLEA TO SAVE Family Dogs – Tyson And Diesel From EUTHANASIA

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“OMG…Please do not let this be another case like poor Lennox; R.I.P. Dogs are only viscous if they have been trained that way, not all pit bulls belong to thugs who use them to fight or as weapons & intimidation! These pit bulls are loving, loyal family pets, well loved & missed. They have been condemned, having done no wrong, it’s purely because of the way they look. Please, take 2 seconds to sign the petition at the link below; you will be helping to save their lives!

Tyson (3 Yr. old) and Diesel (7 Mo. old) were unfairly removed from their home and loving family.

Tyson & Diesel Need Help – Don’t let this be another ‘Lennox’!!

They have never injured anyone or had any prior complaints, yet they were deemed vicious based on the opinion and prejudice of a police officer and the next door neighbor who stated to the owners when they moved in, that he hates Pit Bulls.

The same neighbour who would hit the chain linked fence from his yard that divide’s the two properties with a rake and yell at them in attempt to scare the dogs. However, the neighbor has six small dogs and multiple cats of his own running around.

In Highland Twp., there is no type of ban against Pit Bulls that would rationalize removing them from their loving home.

On July 26th, 2012 the elderly next door neighbor called the Oakland County Sheriff’s Dept. claiming that two Pitt Bulls where in his yard and “nipped at his legs”, the neighbour stated that he waved them away with a watering can. When the Sheriff and Animal control deputies arrived the neighbour was outside.

Tyson and Diesel where in their own yard and were barking, as any breed of dog would do to strangers approaching at 9:00 p.m. The animal control Deputy tried to snare them, but they kept their distance 6-7 feet away and were unable to catch them.

Shortly after that the owner arrived home, unaware that either of his dogs was out of the fenced in back yard. Tyson was curled up in the corner of the neighbor’s yard shaking and scared. The owner picked Tyson up and put him in his house as directed by the deputy. Diesel was in the back yard, inside the fence so the owner walked through the house and put Diesel inside too.

There is not a gate leading to the back yard so we are unsure how Diesel was still in there. It is believed that Tyson possibly jumped the fence by using a truck cap that was recently placed in the back yard. Diesel is still a puppy and much smaller than Tyson, so it is unlikely he did the same due to the distance between the cap and the fence.

The owner was given a misdemeanor ticket for Possession of a Vicious/Dangerous Animal and told to appear in court. These loving so call “Vicious” dogs were permitted to reside in their owner’s possession for 10 days, without incident preceding the court hearing for the ticket.

During that hearing on August 6th, 2012 both dogs were remanded by Judge Bondy to be turned over to Oakland County Animal Shelter within 24 hours, where they have been kept in small individual cages 24/7 for the last 17 days.

It was never specified exactly what it was that determined they were vicious other than they barked at them. This is a heartbreaking tragedy for all that know and love these sweet dogs, that they may be condemned to death simply because of a misconception of their breed and from other careless pet owners who have caused them to be labeled as dangerous.

Tyson and Diesel have spent countless hours interacting with children, cats and dogs of all sizes. They have never displayed aggressive behaviour in any way. They are well trained, socialized, obedient and most of all gentle dogs. They love to play and swim at the beach where they have been in contact with various people including strangers without any problems.

They are extremely well mannered dogs; their owner has trained them from puppy’s to allow anyone to take things from them. All the owners, family and friends want is their family members back, but they are in grave danger of being euthanized in the next week!

With heavy hearts, we are begging for mercy for them!


Petition link – please sign:http://www.change.org/petitions/oakland-county-52-1-district-court-plea-to-save-tyson-and-diesel-from-euthanasia

Abused monkey finds a loving home at South Texas sanctuary

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DILLEY — A pet monkey that endured years of heartbreaking cruelty has finally found a loving home at a primate sanctuary in Dilley, Texas

Officials at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary said the long-tailed macaque was never let out of his small cage to exercise in the 10 years he lived with his former owner in Michigan. The former owners even allegedly got JR high on marijuana and drunk off booze.

Last week, JR made the 28-hour drive to the sanctuary in South Texas, where he was renamed Freeman. Officials said the monkey will be in quarantine for the next two weeks while he received grooming and is introduced to a proper diet.

Born Free USA Director Tim Ajax said in a press release, “This monkey was living a life of horror and we are doing everything we can to help him acclimate. Private ownership of exotic animals, especially primates, is a cruel business that starts with a baby being stolen from his or her mother for profit and often ends in a psychologically damaged animal forced to endure a life of isolation and misery.”

Freeman’s former owner was convinced to release the primate to a sanctuary after years a coaxing from a concerned citizen.

News Link:http://www.kens5.com/news/Abused-monkey-finds-a-loving-home-at-South-Texas-sanctuary-157472915.html

Couple gets jail time for animal cruelty involving more than 350 dogs

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Allegan County

The couple who kept more than 350 dogs in their Cheshire Township house and barn are now in the Allegan County Jail serving 60 days for not caring for the animals.

George and Cheri Burke, both 64, were sentenced this morning after pleading guilty last month to a charge each of animal abandonment/animal cruelty to two or three animals. The misdemeanor had the possibility of up to a year in jail, $2,000 in fines and community service.

Each also has to pay $500 in fees and serve 24 months probation during which time neither can possess animals.

The dogs, mostly Shih Tzus, were caked in feces and many had medical issues when they were confiscated and brought to the Allegan County Animal Shelter on April 9. Volunteers helped clean the animals, treat them and get them adopted into new homes.

The Burkes originally faced one felony count of animal abandonment/animal cruelty to 10 or more animals punishable by up to four years in prison, $5,000 in fines and 500 hours of community service.

To thank the community and volunteers who helped the shelter handle the influx of animals, Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance, the group contracted to operate the shelter at 2283 33rd St., is holding a party from 1-7 p.m. Saturday at The Grill House, 1071 32nd St. (M-40) in Allegan. Six bands will perform.

The concert and venue were donated to Wishbone.

News Link:-http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/x2138759352/Couple-gets-jail-time-for-animal-cruelty-involving-more-than-350-dogs

Another Case – Reward offered for information of horse abuse

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“Come on people, horses are as different as people, somebody must recognize whose horse this was? Color of horses legs, face, any markings, they are almost as different as out finger prints. What more do these animal rescue groups etc have to do, to get you to ask for help when it’s gone too far?? the help is there, so for Gods sake take it if you find yourself unable to care for your horse. I would greatly admire anyone asking for help, those that don’t, & let the horse suffer…. you are scum…go take a long walk off a short pier!”

This isn’t a dignified end for a horse that has probably given every inch of its life to the owner…not a great way to pay him back is it?”

“Whoever did this & the other HSUS case are evil, uncivilised moron’s, heartless cowards…I hope somebody comes forward & gives police your name…because you deserve to be in jail, never be allowed to touch a horse or other living beings ever again!!”

Cheboygan, Mich.

A cash reward is now being offered for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the abandonment of a horse last week.
The Humane Society of the United States and the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition are offering a reward of up to $2,750 for information about a call that Cheboygan County animal control officers responded to on May 2.

A sick horse was reported lying on the side of Otsego Road, in Cheboygan County near the Otsego County border. It appeared that a trailer had been pulled up to the scene and the horse had been dumped from it. By the time animal control officers arrived at the site, the emaciated horse with hips and backbone protruding, was in such bad condition that he couldn’t stand up and had to be humanely euthanized. The chestnut horse was wearing a halter and was estimated to be in his teenage years.

Cheboygan County Humane Society director Mary Talaske said there are people living nearby who are involved in horse rescue and who could have helped the owner of the horse. In addition, the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition — of which the Humane Society of the United States is a founding member — has resources available to horse owners who are having trouble feeding or caring for their horses.

“The Michigan Horse Welfare coalition has a hay bank and resources to assist horse owners with farrier and veterinary care, and there is absolutely no excuse for anyone to neglect or abandon their horse,” said Jill Fritz, Michigan state director for the Humane Society of the United States and president of the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition. “Animal abandonment is against the law, and we are hopeful that this reward will bring forward anyone with information about who allowed this horse’s health to deteriorate and left him to die.”

Talaske said no tips have come in since the incident except for a report of a black pickup truck with a brown trailer having been seen in the area, which may or may not have been connected to a sale day at a nearby auction barn. She reminded anyone with information that they can remain anonymous and will be eligible for reward money if they have pertinent information.
“If (the reward is) what it takes to get this case solved, then great,” Talaske said. “This horse deserves some justice. There is a story behind it, and I want to know what it is.”

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are many responsible alternatives to abandoning a horse, including selling the horse to a properly vetted private owner, leasing the horse to another horse enthusiast, or relinquishing the horse to a therapeutic riding center, park police program, or approved rescue or sanctuary.

If a horse is incapacitated and can’t recover, humane euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian should also be considered. The Humane Society of the United States reports that auctions can be dangerous for horses because they can be purchased by killbuyers and forced to enter the abusive horse slaughter pipeline including auctions, inhumane transport and ultimately, horse slaughter.

Talaske said anyone with information about the horse or who left it are asked to call either the Humane Society at 231-238-8221 or dial 911 to direct the information to animal control. Again, callers can be anonymous.

She also noted that if anyone has a horse they cannot afford to feed or keep, they should not hesitate to contact the Humane Society for local resources that can help.
More information on the Humane Society of the United States and the organization’ss Animal Cruelty Campaign can be obtained at humanesociety.org.

News Link:-http://www.cheboygannews.com/topstories/x43413011/Reward-offered-for-information-of-horse-abuse

“Apologies for being a tad blunt, but this infuriates the hell out of me”

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