Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cheri & George Burke - Michigan

May 17, 2012:  Couple with hundreds of dogs gets jail time

judge has sentenced a southwestern Michigan couple found with hundreds of dogs at their home to 60 days in jail and barred them for owning animals during two years of probation.

Cheri and George Burke received the punishment Thursday. They earlier pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty charges in Allegan County District Court.
Records say they also must comply with recommendations from mental health officials and pay $500 each.
They originally were charged with felonies. Authorities said the dogs were being bred.
At least 380 dogs were seized April 9 and people from around the state pitched in to help care for the animals. The dogs were taken from the home in Cheshire Township, about 40 miles south-southwest of Grand Rapids..."  More

April 11, 2012:  Alleged Allegan County dog hoarder also has 97-dog history in Grand Rapids case

GRAND RAPIDS -- An Allegan County woman now facing animal cruelty charges for keeping 352 dogs at her property also had nearly 100 animals at a Grand Rapids address in 2005, Kent County Health Department records show.
Cheri Burke, 64, and her husband, George Burke, 64, were arraigned today in Allegan County District Court after police seized 352 small dogs from their Cheshire Township home earlier this week.
They surrendered the animals -- mostly Shih Tzu and Pomeranian mixes, with a few Maltese and Yorkshire Terriers -- on Tuesday. The fur of most dogs was crusted with feces.
Court records show that Cheri Burke used to live in the 1700 block of Elizabeth NW in Grand Rapids.
In May 2005, Kent County Animal Control officers responded to that home on an animal welfare complaint.
Burke told officers that she had about 75 dogs -- also Shih Tzu and Pomeranian -- and planned to reduce the numbers.
Later the same month, officers returned and Burke told them she only had about 45 dogs.
But when animal control authorities returned in September for a site check, they found 52 dogs and 45 puppies.
She was charged with failure to obtain a kennel license, a misdemeanor, and ultimately fined $392 in Grand Rapids District Court in December 2005.
Bill Anstey, deputy administrative health officer with the Kent County Health Department, said the misdemeanor was the only charge available to authorities because Grand Rapids had no ordinance to restrict animal numbers..."  More

Apr 9, 2012:  Rescue of almost 350 dogs in Allegan County: 'I've never even heard of anything like this'

By Julie Mack

ALLEGAN, MI -- Julie Kowal, office administrator of the Allegan County Animal Shelter, was told late last week her facility would be getting about 60 dogs Monday from a Cheshire Township home.

Over the weekend, that number was revised to 90.

Monday morning, Kowal accompanied animal control officers to a small, two-bedroom house near Grand Junction. After they pulled almost 100 dogs from the house, the homeowner told the officials, "There's a dozen more."

"Then it was 'a dozen more' and 'another dozen more,' " Kowal said. "The dogs just kept coming and coming and coming."

In all, officials took almost 350 dogs from the property, plus 12 cats and two birds, Kowal said.

Kowal said the home was occupied by a couple who were breeding dogs for profit and got in over the heads.

"The animal control people said they had been trying to work with her to lower her numbers," but finally decided they need to take the dogs into custody, Kowal said.

Officials said it was the largest single intake involving the Allegan County Animal Shelter in memory..."  More

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