Saturday, December 24, 2016

Michigan: After dog hoarding / animal cruelty case falls apart, prosecutors take what they can get: one year of probation for Lynn Higgins and Michael Higgins, who were cruelly confining more than 100 animals in their feces and urine-filled home

MICHIGAN -- One of the largest animal welfare cases in recent St. Clair County history ended Friday as Michael and Lynn Higgins each pleaded guilty in circuit court to misdemeanor charges.

The Higginses, of Cottrellville Township, pleaded guilty during a status conference to failure to provide adequate care to three dogs. Judge Daniel Kelly sentenced them each to one year of probation and $500 fines.

“No matter how well intentioned you were, the sheer number of animals ... was outrageous and very troubling to anyone concerned about animal welfare,” Kelly said before sentencing the couple.

The Higginses had been charged with abandonment of 10 or more animals, a four-year felony, after 98 dogs and three cats were removed on June 14 and 15 from their residence.

As a term of their probation, the Higginses will be allowed four animals — a service dog for Michael Higgins, a dog for Lynn Higgins, a cat that is being housed at St. Clair County Animal Control and a horse that is being boarded.

The couple also will be subject to random monthly inspections by St. Clair County Animal Control, which in effect will act as their probation officer.

“I don’t think these are people who will intentionally violate the terms,” Kelly said, “but we need assurances it will not happen again.”

Kelly had ruled in November that searches of the Higginses’ property violated Lynn Higgins’ constitutional rights.

Lynn and Michael Higgins had no comments after Friday’s hearing. Lynn Higgins’ lawyer, Allen M. Wolf, said they were satisfied with the agreement.

“We believe justice has been served,” he said. “These people are good people. They love animals.”

Wolf said Lynn and Michael Higgins are animal lovers and that Lynn Higgins had competed successfully as a dog trainer and breeder.

“None of these animals were tortured or beaten or emaciated,” he said. “All the animals were sheltered, fed and watered.”

Allen Wolf is a liar. He is only saying this because he was given a fat check by Lynn Higgins. Money she obtained by breeding dogs in horrific conditions and then selling off their puppies. 

I dare Allen Wolf to go and spend just one night in this feces and urine-filled condemned home.

Randy Martinek, lawyer for Michael Higgins, said he was pleased about the misdemeanor plea.

The dogs that were seized in June were taken in by animal control and by animal rescue groups. Fourteen of the dogs were euthanized at animal control after showing symptoms of parvovirus.

(Detroit Free Press - Dec 9, 2016)


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