DELTA COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – Rebecca Johnson of Rock, Mich. has entered a plea as charged to one felony count of Abandoning/Cruelty to 25 or more animals and one misdemeanor count of Unregistered Animal Shelters/Pound.
The Delta County Prosecutor’s Office says Johnson’s plea canceled the jury trial set to begin on May 2, 2022. Johnson will be charged on July 7, 2022 at 2 p.m. in the 47th Circuit Court.
Investigation into the case began on August 24, 2020, when a Michigan State Trooper responded to a report of a horse running loose in the area. After securing the horse, the officer discovered a large number of dogs appearing underweight and unkempt in outdoor kennels. The Delta Animal Shelter was asked by law enforcement to help remove animals from an alleged puppy mill in Maple Ridge Township the same day.
A total number of 23 horses and 135 dogs were seized, which grew to nearly 200 as several dogs were pregnant.
Johnson forfeited her ownership of the animals on January 11, 2021, allowing Delta Animal Shelter to begin the process of adopting the animals.
“This is a win for the whole community,” said Acting Prosecutor Lauren Wickman. “The way the people of Delta County responded to the needs of these animals is just incredible. Law enforcement and the volunteers with the Delta Animal Shelter made this case such a success, both inside and outside the courtroom. Our office wanted to make it a priority that she be held accountable for the conditions those animals lived in. No plea offer was ever even considered in this circumstance.”
The Delta County Prosecutor’s Office thanks Michigan State Police and Delta County Sheriff’s Office for their efforts in the investigation. They also thank the efforts of the staff, volunteers, and foster families with the Delta Animal Shelter, Bay Veterinary Clinic, D&D Dog Dynamics, Pampered Pets Grooming, and Countryside Veterinary Clinic.