Monday, July 27, 2009

Joan Skillman: Australian Shephard, Breeder - Mason, Michigan

Animal cruelty case goes to the jury, deliberations resume Friday


MASON — A Mason-area championship dog breeder accused of allowing many of her dogs to live in mud and feces has been charged with 11 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, court records show.

Charges were filed today in 55th District Court. Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III said he notified Joan Skillman’s attorney Thursday that charges were forthcoming.

The 73-year-old Aurelius Township woman faces up to 93 days in jail as well as fines.

Neither Skillman or her attorney, Kevin Tyrrell, could immediately be reached for comment.

Skillman has bred Australian shepherds for more than 20 years on her property in Aurelius Township.

Ingham County Animal Control officers on April 27 went to Skillman’s property and seized about 70 dogs. It was called the largest seizure in the county’s history.

Officials said many of the dogs were living in filthy conditions. Some had severe medical problems. Kennels were filled with mud and several inches of feces that had been covered with wood chips. The bottom of one pen was covered with water, from which the enclosed dogs could not escape.

Animal Control placed most of the dogs that were seized in foster homes. About 17 remained at the county animal shelter last week, according to Director Jamie McAloon Lampman. Most of those dogs were in poor health, and some were still receiving veterinary treatment, she said..." More

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