MSP: 12 ponies, dog die from starvation after woman’s death goes unnoticed

Residents in one mid-Michigan community want answers after a woman and several animals were found dead.
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 4:53 PM EST
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GAINES TWP., Mich. (WNEM) - Residents in one mid-Michigan community want answers after a woman and several animals were found dead.

“Why did it get to this point that nobody reached out to anybody and nothing was done about it,” said Sherry Lange, Gaines Township resident.

Gaines Township residents were stunned by the scene in January at a property on Seymour Road.

The homeowner, 64-year-old Gilda Mizell, was found dead in her vehicle in the driveway. There were 12 dead mini ponies and a dead dog inside the house and barns on the property.

“I was just absolutely astounded that something like this took place in our community and nobody had been aware of it prior to that,” Lange said.

Lange owns race horses herself. She has driven by the house before it had become overgrown with weeds.

By the time Michigan State Police troopers arrived at the barn, there was one horse and two dogs still alive. The three animals have now found new homes.

Michigan State Police believe Mizell died of natural causes and the horses died of starvation. At this point, it is unclear how long Mizell was dead before her body was found. State Police said they are waiting on results from the medical examiner.

“Ms. Mizell was the only caregiver for these animals and unfortunately, she’s deceased and there’s nobody that was responsible for taking care of these animals,” MSP Lt. Kim Vetter said. “There’s nobody else to hold accountable.”

But Lange and others disagree.

“It is my understanding that animal control came out here, knocked on the door, went to the barn and did not proceed in because the weeds were so grown up around the barn that they did not think that there were any animals in there,” Lange said.

However, state police have no record of that.

“We have no call history at this residence,” Vetter said. “We have never been contacted by any neighbors or anybody in the township reporting that the horses or animals were being maltreated. And there was no evidence that anybody had called animal control about these animals prior to finding them that day.”

Genesee County Animal Control declined TV5′s request for an interview and could not be reached to verify that information. According to MSP, the dead ponies have been buried.