Hearing waived in puppy mill court case

ESCANABA — A preliminary examination in the case involving an alleged puppy mill has been waived. The hearing, intended to determine if there is probable cause a crime was committed, was scheduled to take place this morning in Delta County District Court. The case will now go directly to Delta County Circuit Court.

Rebecca Sue Johnson of Maple Ridge Township is accused of abusing and neglecting animals at her property. On Aug. 24, 2020, Michigan State Police, the Delta County Sheriff’s Office, and the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office conducted an investigation at Johnson’s home. The investigation resulted in the seizure of 134 dogs and 20 horses from the residence. Approximately 100 additional puppies were born to the dogs after they were moved to the animal shelter.

On Nov. 17, 2020, Johnson was charged with abandoning/cruelty to 25 or more animals, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison, and animal-shelters/pounds — unregistered, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail.

On Nov. 23, 2020, Johnson posted a $60,000 cash or surety bond.

In a separate court appearance on Jan. 11, Johnson agreed to forfeit the animals that were seized and any that were born after the seizure to the animal shelter or a designated veterinarian. A court order also terminated Johnson’s right to own or possess animals.

A circuit court date has not been set.


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