William Donnelly: JRT John, Animal hoarder needs to stop
On May 23, 2013, Missaukee County seized approximately 160 animals from John Jones, Michigan's largest hoarder and puppy mill. Just a few years earlier, Barry County seized 85 animals after Jones violated zoning laws. There's a pattern of cruelty here, and since officials didn't include probation in the latest case, he could easily move to another county or state and start all over again with hoarding animals and costing tax payers more money to regulate, investigate and seize neglected animals.
Where will JRT John go next?
Despite the multitude of violations involving “basic” care standards, the Missaukee County prosecutor only filed civil charges against Jones – Public Nuisance. This is no way to stop an animal hoarder and protect animals.
o According to the inspection reports, Mr. Jones is accused of housing over 160 dogs, including Jack Russells, Shiba Inus and Border Collies, who were discovered by the Roscommon Animal Control Officer to have insufficient water, shelter, sanitary conditions, and protection from the elements. (THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT) Act 328 of 1931)
o In addition, Mr. Jones was performing his own removal of dew claws and tail docking on the puppies. Such actions are illegal in Michigan. These procedures are considered a surgery and can only be performed by a licensed veterinarian. (PUBLIC HEALTH CODE (EXCERPT) Act 368 of 1978)
Michiganians have no tolerance for animal neglect or cruelty and want those who commit such acts held accountable. The sheer number of animals involved in the Jones case is shocking and demands further action.
Please file criminal charges with the appropriate sentencing.
Jones is very likely to resume collecting an excessive number of animals unless closely monitored. Please require psychological counseling and prohibit Jones from having animals anywhere, not just Missaukee County. Without successful treatment programs for animal hoarders, we can only rely on strong, carefully considered sentencing that includes constant probation and social work oversight.
If you can not protect the animals outside of the county with your civil case, please file criminal charges with the appropriate sentencing.