Charges dismissed for owner of dozens of malnourished dogs seize - WNEM TV 5

Charges dismissed for owner of dozens of malnourished dogs seized from home

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Jean Hansen Jean Hansen
A rescued momma Sheltie with her pups. A rescued momma Sheltie with her pups.
MIDLAND COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A woman, facing charges of animal cruelty, was ruled incompetent to stand trial.

This comes after authorities seized more than three dozen of neglected dogs from her home in 2013.

It's being called the largest seizure of its kind in the State of Michigan, and the woman allegedly behind it, will not stand trial.

Neil Wackerle is president of the Midland County Humane Society, and he's been around animals most of his life. He said, in 2013, he's never seen anything like the conditions 38 Shetland Sheepdogs were found living in, in Midland County.

"It couldn't have been any worse, it really couldn't," Wackerle said. "I was only there for a few hours, but I didn't see a bag of food anywhere. I've seen bad conditions, but never [to] this extent."

Investigators said many of the Sheltie's were malnourished or suffering from various problems.

"At first glance, you would have thought it was a dirt floor, but it wasn't, it was feces from years, and years and years," Wackerle said.

The dogs were taken from 71-year-old Jean Hansen's Midland County home in July 2013. She faced felony animal cruelty charges, but on May 7, 2015 a judge ruled she was incompetent to stand trial. The charges have been dismissed.

It's hard to imagine that anyone would hurt or abuse the dogs, but according to law enforcement officials, that's exactly what happened.

"She didn't think there was anything wrong with her process of caring for the animals," said Midland County Sheriff Scott Stephenson. "It appeared that a great number of the animals were malnourished. They did have injuries, indicating they were fighting with each other."

Many of the dogs were pregnant at the time of the raid, and the number of dogs has grown from 38 to 55.

Robin Mathews, a volunteer with Michigan Rescue Shelties, said in 2013, this bust could be the largest sheltie rescue in the state, and maybe the country.

"We're very cautious when we adopt out any of our rescue dogs," said Mathews. "They've come from very terrible situations; we want to make sure they go to good, loving 'fur-ever' homes, as we like to call them."

Hansen has been sent to a state facility to receive treatment.

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