One of two dogs rescued from a Wise Township puppy mill last that tested positive for a lethal disease died, while a petition is circulating asking the prosecutor to pursue punishment against the mill’s stiff purveyor.
The death of Mango, the dog, was announced in a social media post the morning of July 4.
“Mango, we promise to do everything we can get justice for you and your friends,” the post read. “You mattered to us, you weren’t just a number to us. Your life will not be forgotten. We will say your name every day until your abuser goes to jail and we are guaranteed he can no longer own animals. We will tell your story so people stop supporting puppy mills. We will find loving homes for your friends. ”
A different post from July 2 announced that two of the 30 dogs rescued from the property in the 7000 block of East Grass Lake Road last Wednesday tested positive for parvo, a lethal disease that is preventable with a vaccination shot.
The post announcing Mango’s death indicated the animal had not received that immunization shot.
It also asked that people follow the case closely because the dogs weren’t released by the court to the care of the Humane Animal Treatment Society.
That prompted a woman who fosters puppies for HATS to start circulating a petition that Isabella County Prosecutor releases the dogs and hold Jeremy Shea, charged with cruelty to animals in operating the puppy mill to account for his crimes.
Sarah Kiley, who moved from Isabella County to Riverdale last year, said that in a 2019 case that the Isabella County Prosecutor’s Office failed to hold Levi Yoder accountable after more than 60 dogs were seized from his Blanchard-area property.
Kiley said that she fostered and then adopted one of Yoder’s dogs, and said that two years later the dog hasn’t recovered. The animal refuses to leave the home and shakes if people come to the house.
Saturday night, she posted a pic of the petition cover sheet to her page and local forums that ask people to text SIGN PNWPCR to sign the petition. There was no information about the petition’s origins or how it would get to the Isabella County prosecutor.
Yoder eventually pleaded no contest to animal cruelty involving two-to-three animals. No information about his sentence was available in online court records. Kiley said that three dogs — unfixed and still capable of breeding — were released to Yoder as a result.
Shea is out of jail on bond, she said, and that there are still dogs on his property that haven’t been caught.
She said she hopes to produce enough signatures to get the message to Isabella County Prosecutor Dave Barberi to release the dogs so they can be cared for and adopted out to “proper homes.”
At least 30 dogs and one goat were rescued from the property last Wednesday by animal control officers from Isabella and Gratiot counties.
A deputy with the Isabella County Sheriff’s Office had gone to the property to ask Shea about an attempted sexual assault he was investigating. While Shea didn’t respond to the deputy, the saw the animals, which he described as poorly cared for.
Shea was charged Friday with one count of cruelty to more than 25 animals, a seven-year felon, and separately with fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a two-year high court misdemeanor.
A call and text message were sent to Barberi for comment. A call was placed to HATS. None have received responses, although someone answering the phone at Barberi’s office said he was out of the office until Wednesday.